Thursday, March 22, 2007

Cats In The Cradle

In case you haven't noticed, many, if not most, people are crazy about their pets. If you want some idea of HOW crazy they are, do a search on "pet toys". Given my residence's frame of reference, I limited my check to just "cat toys"; the computer gasped once or twice, as if straining under a heavy load, then came back with a mind-boggling 27 MILLION references! The on-going tainted pet food crisis has led to many uneasy households here in North America, as well as real sorrow in the homes where a pet fell victim to the bad food. Yes, it's safe to say we love our pets. And why not? For many people, they offer companionship, happiness and, yes, entertainment [if all those features on "America's Funniest Home Videos" is any indication].

If you've actually gone as far as to click on the link to my place of employment [see below], and even further, checked out my bio there, you know that the Woman I Love and I are cat owners. It's not that we dislike dogs; we just don't have proper room for them in our apartment. So we have cats. We started with three: Scoot Anne, Adios Andrew, and Get Away [Gettie, to her small circle of friends]. We loved and cared for them until, sadly, they all passed away, over a period of about 18 months. When we were down to our last feline [Scoot Anne, for the record], TWIL was adamant that she didn't ever want any more cats, no how no way. Then, we heard from a friend, who volunteered at the SPCA. There was a cat their, about a year old. While the other cats would perk up when people came to look, he sat quietly in the back of his cage. He ate, and seemed healthy, but he had lost the will to, well, be cat-like. For a cat, there could be no greater loss. Our friend described him as "despondent". Well, that was a word the two of us could understand!

When we saw him, we were entranced. He was white from head to foot [paw, really]. We had him taken out of the cage, and brought to a "meeting room". He was a little more playful than he had been in the cage, but he still seemed sad. Then again, WE could be sad on certain days. After a very brief conference [more like looking at each other and nodding], we decided to adopt him. I forget the name he came with, except to remember it was unimaginative. He soon became Malachi, named for the author of the last book of the Old Testament [I later found out the name is not uncommon among men in Ireland. Works...].

Part of the reason we adopted Malachi was a belief that Scoot Anne, bereft of her original companions, might have been lonely. It turned out that nothing could be further from the truth. Indeed, for the too-short remainder of her life, she frequently was tormented by Mally's desperate attempts at "making friends". Then again, she seldom attacked him, settling instead for a deep, womanly growl to keep him in his place, and out of hers.

After Scootie left us, we were glad we still had a cat. Malachi grew in age, in girth, and in love for us.Then. last year, TWIL met a woman while volunteering for Meals On Wheels. She had a beautiful black, white and grey long hair, name of Webster. We agreed that, if anything happened to her, we would take care of Webster. You can almost predict what's going to happen next, can't you? That "something" happened, and we became Webbie's adoptive "parents". After a surprising short period of adjustment, the two became like brothers. They'd spend their mornings [after breakfast, of course] watching the pigeons outside the window in our living room [here is one of the few times I really wish I could add pictures. The view of them, tails flicking as they watched "Must See Pigeon TV", is something to marvel at]. They raced around the house, looking for all the world like two cats in an animated cartoon. We took to calling them "The Brothers".

Just this week, though, the picture changed again. A long-time friend of the family needed someone to take care of her cat, at least temporarily. This boy is also black and white, with his white patch looking for all the world like a shirt under a tuxedo. His name is Mister Buddy. He's still a little scared to be around the brothers; they, for their part, are taking a magnificent air of indifference to the new family member. TWIL keeps saying, "Three cats. And you [pointing at me]. Oh, no!"

But, for the record, I think she'll get over it...


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