Thursday, September 6, 2007

Once Upon a Kitty...

It must have been about 1978 when this photo was snapped of me and this ginger kitten. I can't imagine why my mom would have taken it, simply because she never let us have house pets. Nor do I remember this kitty-which I find a little strange because I remember so many of the farm cats we had.
Roman was my favorite for a long time. He was pearly gray with a bit of tabby-ness about his fur. His underside was all peachy colored-as if he was a dilute of some kind. Once, against the law of mother's house, I sneaked him up to my bedroom. (I felt it was very unfair that he couldn't live in my room and sleep on my bed.) After a while I heard Selena coming up the stairs. She was bound to tattle if she saw him so I stuck his furry little body behind my guitar that was leaning against a corner. Selena accused me of having Roman upstairs. (Selena has always had a way of sniffing out an intrigue.) I was quite smug with my superior job of lying to my little sister. Just about the time she was content to believe me, Roman drew one little claw across the harmonious strings, blowing a pretty whistle on all my fibs. We both laughed so hard Selena decided not to tell on me. In fact I'm pretty sure she smuggled her cat Butterball up too and joined me in my naughtiness. For many years before, and afterwards, Selena and I counted cats as some of our best friends. I planned on becoming a cat lady.
After cat-less college and early marriage years, I convinced Clancy to let me get a kitty just before our last son was born. She was a gorgeous tortoise shell that had showed up on some one's doorstep and they didn't want her. We got her fixed and vaccinated, named her Chloe, and she took over our household. I was thrilled with having my own house cat for the first time.
Unfortunately, by the time our youngest was four months old, he had asthma so badly that we had to take him to a specialist. Diagnosis: severe allergy to cats. As I learned about my son's problems I was also having a horrible case of "never-ending hay fever." Turned out that we were both extremely allergic to cats. How could that be when I never had a problem with cats as a child? With a heavy heart, we had to turn kitty outside. She was NOT happy about it and made sure we knew it by clawing all of our window screens to shreds. Eventually, my son and I could breathe again, though we go anaphalactic if we touch a cat. Not fun.
Chloe has been living outside now for 11 years. We have no idea how old she really is. She doesn't take sass from anyone. She won't tolerate another cat in her space either-wandering toms are thoroughly trounced and never spotted again. I would love to get another cat but it would probably be futile.
The other day I was stuck in town for a spare hour so I decided to visit the Animal Shelter. An older lady was sitting on a bench there playing with the two little kittens she planned to adopt. Those babies were at the age where they love to pounce but the skin on their tummies still shows through their fur when they are very full. I ached to hold one, knowing that if I did I would get so ill I wouldn't even be able to drive myself home. For a while I just visited with the lady and watched her adore her new babies. Longing compelled me to inquire if there were any altered, short-haired active mousers that would like to live outdoors, don't mind dogs, and don't like to cuddle. The shelter houses at least 50 cats; but the volunteer had a little trouble finding one that fit my description. I figured I was safe from falling in love with another cat. Then, the volunteer said she knew of a cat that just might do.
Minutes later she brought out a slim, 9 month old, black-and-white-patches, fixed male. He trotted around the lobby like he had an agenda. He made two laps around the room, swerved around people and stuck his nose in every corner, sharpened his claws on the rug, and posted himself by the glass door leading outside. Oh, he was definitely "the one." And guess what his name was?...Skunky Morneaux. How great is that?!!! I just know I would love him.
Well, Clancy doesn't want another cat. And I suppose I am jumping the gun. Chloe Cat shows no signs of giving up her reign yet. Nor is she inclined to share her territory. But I will admit I've been thinking about that Skunky Morneaux. I liked his saucy dismissal of all that I couldn't give him anyway-cuddles mainly. I hope he gets a great home; even if it isn't with me.

1 comment:

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Oh, I DO hope you can give "Morrie" a new home -- and that Chloe lets him stay! I am blessed with few allergies (only hay fever that developed in my early 20s and whatever internal suture they used when Brian was born - UG!), but my mom is allergic to cats AND is a dietitian obsessed with food-prep-area cleanliness, so we never had indoor cats and I haven't really wanted one. But we have always had an outdoor cat. Our little Oreo is so lonely since Ozzie died last month that I would like to get her another kitty companion, but don't like to worry and fret about whether a new introduction would stick around or run off. (Go to "Brian's miracle cat" in my archives -- Oct. 06 -- I think, to read what Oreo put us through!)