Monday, May 21, 2007

What do kittens, 6 year olds and Irish dancing have in common?

Not much, except that in the last few days, each has brought a special kind of joy to my ordinary, some might call ho-hum days.

Part I:
Recently I got two kittens. Well, not actually baby kittens, more like adolescent cats. The vet guesses that the frisky felines have just passed their first birthday, and in cat years that probably makes them the human equilvalent of 16 year olds who like to sleep all day and get into mischief in the wee hours of the morning.

Long, sleek, black, and panther-like, it's easy to see these rescued-minutes-from-drowning-in-a-well cats have some Siamese in them. If you've seen the movie Lady and the Tramp, my two are every bit as troublesome as Si and Am. Sometimes, I even think I can hear them singing, "we are Si-am-ese if you ple-eese." A little shy and skittish at first, they are each coming into his/her own persona.

Not yet given names that exactly fit their personality, their veterinary records have them labled as "Him" and "Her." So far the only way tell them apart is by the blue or pink collar each wears without much fuss.

I'd forgotten what it's like to have young ones in the house. I'd forgotten that two small cats can sound like a herd of buffalo when streaking from one end of the house at full speed, chasing something as miniscule as a tsetse fly or as large as the dust bunnies under my bed. I'd forgotten that babies can go full tilt one minute and be sacked out the next. I'd forgotten that when you have two kids in the house, there's always the possibility that the one caught red-handed (or pawed as the case might be) doing something naughty (like swinging from the bird cage with the greatest of ease) will, without hesitation, try to blame it all on his sister, the innocent one sleeping on the chair beneath the bird cage.

I'd forgetten how it feels to think you've lost a child, even though you can't really remember leaving the door open but you find it standing a tiny bit ajar when you walked through the kitchen, and there is no sight (or sound) of the child in question, thus creating a major panic attack and all out search of the surrounding area. It had to have been 30 years ago when my toddling son disappeared but I can remember the tightness in my gut like it was yesterday. I recall walking around the edge of the neighborhood pond searching not only for a body floating in the water, but for the words I was going to have to telegram my away-in-the-military husband. I remember the mixed emotions of joy and frustration when I found him blissfully unaware of my concern but totally safe.

Surprisingly those feelings had the same intensity as I drove around the neighborhood last week, crying "Kitty, kitty, kitty" for a blue-collared cat who I wasn't even sure knew he was supposed to come to this command. I did the only thing I knew to do, I threw up pleading prayers not only to St. Anthony, finder of lost things, but I asked St. Francis if he'd join in the search since, after all the thing missing was one of his favorite things.

"Please, St. Anthony/Francis, if you bring this little cat home, I promise never again to open the back door. I won't feed him anything but solid white albacore tuna, and I'll never fuss at him again for using the edge of the couch as a scratching post," I implored (stopping short of vowing not to squirt the little demon when he attacks the birds - I don't much like lying to saints.)

The cat didn't show up right away, but I had an almost immediate encounter with a whistling cockatiel, which to my understanding was a sign that my prayers had been heard, they just needed a little re-direction. Even in my state of panic, seeing a bird walking across the street, whistling a happy tune, then stop when the car approached, as if waiting for a "Walk" sign to appear in front of both of us, cracked me up. For the moment, I gave up my search for the lost feline, stopped the car, walked up to the bird, put my finger down to him, and lo and behold, the bird walked right up my arm, propped himself on my shoulder and let go a perfectly tuned wolf whistle in my ear. Damn, if I hadn't been worried about my lost cat, I think I would have kissed that bird!

Rescuer that I am, I took the bird to the nearest house, knocked on the door and handed the bird over to the surprised girl who opened it. Seems a rather strong breeze had blown the flightless bird out the window and he decided to take one of those "grass is greener on the other side of the window" strolls to see what he could see.

That rescue complete, I went back to my prayers and combing the neighborhood. Spying a turtle, my recently determined animal manitou, plodding right foot -left foot through the tall grass along the side of the road, I believed I was on the right track. If this kitten is alive, I told myself, he's used up the second of his nine lives and I hoped he was having a good time because if I found him, I was contemplating caticide. Funny how one's mind can go from panic to laughter, back to panice, to thoughts of murder, all in just a few fleeting moments.
Okay, I've dragged this story out long enough. After what seemed like an eternity, I got a call on my cell phone that the cat in question had just appeared from under something in my Dad's room. UNDER SOMETHING?????? I thought I'd checked everything. Oh well, there was a happy ending and I learned a valuable lesson about the power of prayer. Ask and ye shall have .... if not exactly what you're asking for, at least something that whistles at you like you are an Atlantic City beach beauty!


1 comment:

Anti Jen said...

I am so jealous that you've got yourself a couple of black Siamese cats. My beloved Fabian was the same mix and, of course, he was the best cat ever. I loved your story of despair and hope and can only figure your cat was well concealed so that you'd come along to help that bird find its way home. Way to go, bird rescuer. And I definitely identify with your fantasies of caticide as I feel the same way when I am worried about my own troubled cat, OC.