While I was gardening

The art of gardening and the science of life.

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Cat Tales

Guess what time I’m writing this.  No, earlier – much earlier.  Guess why.  Yes, we’ve got A Kitten.  As I lie in bed, listening to the thunder of kitten paws running full-speed from the kitchen through the living room, into the bathroom, then a straight shot into my room, wondering how I can get this little guy to fall back to sleep – bam!!  He’s on the bed, chasing my feet under the blanket and – ouch!  those tiny claws are sharp as needles.  No sooner is he on the bed then he’s out the door, through the hall and back into the living room.  He’ll be 4 months old on the 4th of August and he has entered the Full-speed Ahead in Any Direction phase of kitten-hood.  He reminds me of our first cat, Leo.  Leo was faster than wind and no more easily caught.  This little one will be like that.  Leo wasn’t any good at hunting or catching (he wouldn’t slow down long enough to hunt even a catnip mouse), but our other cat, Toby, was the Boss Cat of hunting.  I remember seeing him strut up the walkway to our front door with a deflated rubber ball in his mouth.  He was so proud of that ball – it must have been a difficult kill.  One hot summer evening he proudly brought home a T-bone steak.  My neighbor, Dave, didn’t talk to me for a week after that incident.  One other time, Toby brought home a stray cat whom we named Chuggi, because of his slight limp.  He chugged along rather than gracefully glided, as a cat should do.  When I finally tamed Chuggi enough to take him to the veterinarian for vaccines and check-up, the doctor estimated his age to be about 9 months.  The doctor said he would outgrow the limp but never catch up in other areas; in other words, Chuggi wasn’t the brightest light in the house.  He had a habit of getting his front paw stuck in his collar.  The sight of him limping up the sidewalk to the front door, front paw tucked under his chin in the collar and a bewildered look on his face, is a memory I will always have.  He had one injury in the many years we owned him.  This injury resulted in having to wear a cone to prevent him from pulling out the stitches.  Poor Chuggi spent the entire first day back home from the clinic walking backwards throughout the house, trying to back out of the cone.  Toby was amused.  Chuggi was baffled.

And there goes Bemo, our kitten, full-speed into the bathroom door.  His little head must be very hard.  He’s brave, confident to a fault, and thoroughly inquisitive.  And a complete opposite of the cat who preceded him in our home.  Her name was Taggy, and she was a nervous, timid cat who was slow to warm up to life.  She spent her first 5 years with us under my daughter’s bed so I don’t remember much of her kitten-hood.  I can say that it wasn’t like this new kitten’s baby-hood.  But, later in life she became friendlier, and in her final years she turned into a loving, talkative companion who would follow me around the house holding up her end of the conversation.  I still miss her.

And I just saw Bemo fly past the kitchen and head straight into the bedroom.  My spouse is still asleep – how he can sleep through this amazes me.  I manage to entice Bemo out of the bedroom and into the living room.  I try to settle him down on his blanket on the back of the couch (he’ll be an indoor cat only) but he jumps out of my arms and attaches himself to the window screen.  He sees a bee on the blossoms outside the window.  Which reminds me of the time Toby caught a bee and was stung in the mouth.  The vet said he’d be fine and that the swelling would subside after a day or two.  And that reminds me of the time that our dog, Pippin, decided that Taggy needed to be chased around the house.  She – Taggy – ran under the bed and Pippin followed her, resulting in a long scratch across his snout.   The vet said, “You must have a lively household.”  Yep.

And there goes Bemo, again . . .