Some may think summer is the time for kicking back and relaxing… other creatures find back-to-school much more rejuvenating.
How they still wedge themselves into the bed they shared as kittens, I don’t know. Sometimes the combined weight will cause the cat bed to careen off the edge of the Kitty Condo Tower, sending Meep’s pear-shaped butt hurtling through the air in a desperate attempt to land on her feet. She needs the tower to be a few feet taller to master that manuever.
Because as kittens are apt to do, they turned into Cats.
This cat formerly known as Mia — the perfect cat name I had chosen 21 years ago much the way a young girl would pick her favorite baby name — this cat has turned out to be not a Mia at all, much the way the name I dreamed of for my some-day daughter would be vetoed by my husband as the name of the girl in the back of class that ate paste. Mia just didn’t fit right. She was soon renamed Meep, in reference to the little squeaky peep she emits instead of a common meow. Of course from there, it was a slippery slope to Queen Meepersly Squeakersworth. (*Meep* )
In an unfortunate series of events, and without the use of performance-enhancing kitty treats or Ben & Jerry’s Mouse Tracks, she has morphed into a cat of Rubenesque proportions, a look that is difficult for a cat, or the rest of us for that matter, to pull off without ridicule. Yet another visit to the Vet confirmed that cats do come in all different shapes and sizes, like the rest of us for that matter, and, while unfortunate, her shape is within the scope of normal.
Cowboy, on the other hand, is a long, tall glass of water. He got to keep his name, because it fits him.
He has Ten Gallon ears.
So, by contrast? When Meep stands next to him? She looks like she has a tiny head and is wearing a furry hoop skirt.
Poor Little Bo Meep. Maybe kicking back will tone her abs?
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
Why is a cat on top of thee?
O Christmas tree, O Christmas Tree,
why do the ornaments go * “wheeeeee!” * ???
The top does sway, the star did fall,
That’s why it’s tied right to the wall…
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
A kitten treehouse you will be.
Happy Holidays to all!
With advance apologies to the many excellent housekeepers I know, please disregard the state of my windows.
Wait, um, I mean, those are not my windows… Ha! Silly me. Yeah this is definitely someone else’s house and that kitten just looks like my kitten Cowboy.
But the point remains: I have hit the 30,000 word mark on my NaNoWriMo quest, and am reminded that balancing on the very edge of my personal comfort zone makes my heart race, and the idea of leaping before I look? It is not the worst idea in the world. Sort of liberating, actually.
While on the way to the vet’s office for dear dog’s annual shot-fest and general probing, I received a call from a concerned neighbor. She had been watching a large coyote in the adjacent yard with amazement and curiosity; a very rare sight here in our burb. She was taking pictures of the huge animal sunning itself, when she suddenly saw our cat heading in that direction, pursued by not one but two amorous tomcats. (There has been a lot of catting around, a springtime hobby of Kitty and enviable aspect of the neutered cat pal lifestyle.)
The neighbor quickly realized the danger sweet Kitty was in, and reached me on my cell just as I pulled in to the vet office, stool sample and nervous dog in hand. With visions of a possible trip right back to the vet with an injured (or worse) Kitty, I blew though the door blabbling some incoherent story about coyote and cat and neighbor. They said “leave the dog and run!”, so I threw the leash and tossed the baggie of poo at the receptionist as I sprinted back out the door.
I am quite sure these people are not paid enough for what they do.
Long story short, after Kind Neighbor and I wandered through the woods calling her name (and listening for coyote footsteps), Kitty came trotting back out into the sunshine with her tail in its happy question mark shape. I scooped her up before she could even rub against my ankles and carried her back home, with my nose nuzzled in her white fuzzy neck.
Her tomcat friends had made themselves scarce. One boy in particular has been such a frequent admirer around our house that we have named him. He is Buster. We don’t know where he lives. He is scruffy and tough and looks like he has packed a lot of living into about eight lives. He is the lonesome cowboy of cats. I imagined him faced with the coyote in the woods, his beloved female in danger, throwing himself in front of her just as the hungry beast with saliva-dripping fangs lunged for her neck, sacrificing his last life for his true love. I thought if I never saw him again, I would know why. And how could he not do it, when she is such a sweet girl? Poor Buster.
Of course Buster wandered through the backyard about three hours later, probably after his afternoon siesta, looking to see if she was outside again. Apparently his hero services were not required.
Which leads me to the question: what to do now? Kitty is an outdoors-loving cat, and not just because of her active social life. She had been a stray kitten, and clearly loved being outside from the day she came to live with us. All our previous cats had been indoor cats, but it was clear this one was happiest when allowed to roam around the garden and woods. When she is outside, she looks like she is smiling.
Does the responsible pet owner do everything possible to prolong the pet’s life to its maximum, or let her sometimes go free to live a happy life that might be shorter? Holding her in my arms, I wanted to protect her forever. After her own nap, she wanted back out into the sunshine. I let her go. (Then last night I dreamed of finding nothing but white clumps of fur in the backyard the next day.)
I went back to get the dog, and thanked the understanding and caring staff at the vet’s office. Back home, I pondered this familiar dilemma in the life of a grown-up: when to let go. Of pets and kids and careers and life’s baggage. Maybe pet decisions are good practice for the tween years. Life is full of coyotes, but Kitty does not live in fear. I’m still working on it.
Kitty, I hate to tell you this, but while you’re not watching the screen, I’m blogging about how much I love the dog.
Sorry, littlest dude.
Please don’t chew my eyeballs out while I’m sleeping, OK?
I will write about your sweet, fuzzy cuteness another day.