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The feline thing
By Gloria Diaz
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Fort Wayne Reader
I am not a cat person. Iíve had a couple cats over the years, and they either sprayed the walls with their special, toxic cat liquid, or peed on my parentsí bed. One cat we adopted when my father was in the hospital had to leave after my dad got home. He said it was either him or the cat. Dad wasnít a cat person.
But my mother was. Even after dad passed away, we still didnít get a cat. We had better luck with dogs, which is how we ended up with Daphne. It had been a long time since we had a dog. That didnít stop mom from cutting out pictures of beautiful cats from magazines and putting them on the refrigerator.
I had a chance to get a kitten about a year ago, but the kitten wasnít using the litterbox, even when the litterbox was right in front of him. I couldnít understand the piles of poop and puddles BESIDE the litterbox. My trucking career seemed uncertain, so the kitten went back to the previous owner. I hope the kitten has a good home. I still think about him.
But now thereís another kitten in my home. I was out delivering phone books in May when I came across a mewling kitten, her eyes crusted shut. Iím so dumb when it comes to kittens I thought she might have been born without any eyes. But I couldnít walk away and leave her. Iím a believer in omens, signs, and gut feelings, and even though I was at my worst point financially, I felt that helpless, hungry kitten was my mother telling me things could be worse. I picked up the kitten and took her home with me.
As small as she was (she weighed less than a pound) she came in and took over. She parked herself on anything furry (she became attached to Daphneís teddy bear, and napped on my fuzzy pink slippers) and seemed to sleep a lot. I bottle-fed her three times a day. I felt ashamed I couldnít take her to the vet right away, but at least she was inside. Her eye crust went away after a couple weeks. She wouldnít touch dry cat food, not even when I moistened it, so I bought canned. After I started working again, I bought Iams. She gained three pounds in three months, so I guess I was doing something right.
However, not being a cat person, Iím learning stuff about the whole feline thing. I was turned off by cats by one of my former employers. The more hostile of the two bit me a couple times, and sometimes I was greeted by a pile of cat vomit near my chair. The furball even had a mean look on his face most of the time, an imperious glare that made me want to smack him. I dismissed cats as incapable of affection, parasites that looked at humans as their meal ticket and nothing else.
Summit changed that. I named her Summit because she likes to be on top of things (when I first brought her home, she would keep climbing until she reached my shoulder). She jumps up on the bed in the morning and walks around my pillow and purrs, which is a pleasant way to be woken up. A friend was over one time, and when I walked out the back door to get her some grapes, she said Summit cried while I was outside. Thatís something I never would have known.
Daphne is getting used to her too. She was terrified of her, even though she outweighed Summit by 11 pounds when I brought her home. However, they wrestle and fight and when I pick up Summit to put her in the bathroom so Daphne can have breakfast in peace, Daphne seems concerned that Summit wonít return. (They check out each otherís meals, which I donít mind, but I donít want one to be hogging all the food from the other. The vet said Summit needs to get as much food as possible.)
Anyway, Summit has joined our household and the transition was smoother than I thought it would be. But sheís a kitten, and Iím learning that itís like having a kidósometimes the expensive, elaborate toys are ignored, and simpler stuff holds the fascination. I bought a garbage can with a snap-on lid, because Summit was treating the old garbage can like Toys R Us. Iíd find old dog food containers, and kitten food cans on the floor. Just this morning, she discovered a still-wrapped tampon she was batting around. It ended up under one of the couches. I moved it to find a couple pens, as well as my cuticle trimmer, which had been missing for months. So much for that seven dollar toy with the little pink pompon on top that also rattles. From now on, I guess Iíll just toss old toilet paper rolls and dry leaves on the floor for Summit. Cheaper than store-bought toys, and Iím recycling, to boot!
Now, if I can just convince Daphne that the litterbox doesnít contain doggie Tootsie Rolls Ö