Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Kitty of Summer

Being in the picture is not as fun as playing with the phone

When I wasn’t looking, summer smacked us across the face.  It’s 80 degrees outside and my windows are open.  I sleep with the ceiling fan revolving above me.  The cats spring from window to window in the early morning, spying on birds.

Birds start their incessant chirping about 4 am.  The sky lightens above the northeastern edge of the ridge around 4:30.  Oranges and pinks poke through the strange blue sometime after 5.  And the cats pretend that their paws don’t thunder on the carpet covered, old, wood floors.

After running around knocks them out, my cat—who found me—sprawls on the cool tile bathroom floor.  He watches to see if I’m going to get up yet.  Once I do, he paws at my slippers as I try to find a place for my feet near the sink.

During the warmer weather, I wear thong sandals around the house.  This saves my cat from having to help me tie my shoes.  He follows me into the hall.  And by follow, I mean walks ahead of me or between my feet, guessing where I’m heading.

He grabs hold of the top riser of the staircase.  His head bobbles like one those dashboard dolls.  With a wild glint in his eyes, his ears flatten slightly.  I give him as wide of a berth as the top of the stairs will allow.  He plops down the stairs after me.

My black and white kitty will walk with me into my office to check my email.  He’ll race to the kitchen to be fed.  As he waits, he and the other male cat will play paw each other in the face.  After eating, he’ll attempt to spill the water out of the dish as I set it down with new, cool water.

He’ll chase a twist tie across the kitchen floor as water fills the coffee pot.  Coffee beans grind.  He slides on the carpetless floor, sprinting to get away.  Pounding echoes through the house.  He’s upstairs, possibly playing with my bed skirt.

Later, I’ll find him sitting at my feet as I write or curled in the corner of my bedroom that he claimed.  He’s an indoor cat now, and he loves every minute of it.

A few years ago, I found him meowing around my house.  I was in my office with the windows open when I heard the meows.  My small town has its share of cats, both domestic and feral.  I looked out my window to see this skinny little kitten struggle to walk towards the windows.  He made his way to the alley and I was afraid that he would fall into a window well.

Rushing to the back door, I flipped on the back porch light.  I ran down the alley, peeking into the window wells for this scrawny kitten.  I didn’t find him.  I followed the path to my back yard.  The little black and white cat ran to me from the other side of the house.  He meowed with every step.

Purring at my legs, he looked like he hadn’t eaten in a while.  Luckily, having two other cats, I had cat food.  I set water and food in plastic containers on the cement.  He ate all of it.  Around his neck, I noticed a flea collar.  He had to belong to somebody.  It started to rain and I couldn’t leave him outside.

In the mudporch, an old pillow in a box made a bed.  With a makeshift litterbox and some more food and water, he came inside.  He did not mingle with the other pets.  The dogs sniffed the door to the mudporch.  They knew he was there.

I gave him a dewormer as I called vets and shelters, looking to see if anyone had reported a missing kitten.  No one had.  I spoke to the local cat committee, in case they knew of any.  A found pet announcement went in the paper.  No one claimed him.

He was sweet.  He would cling to my leg so I wouldn’t leave him.  But he wasn’t steady.  He walked funny.  I thought that maybe he was hit by a car.  His head would bobble while he sat.

I took him to a cat clinic for all necessary shots and the like.  He had wobbly kitten syndrome (feline cerebellar hyposplasia).  It’s a neurological disorder in cats similar to cerebral palsy.  The vet figured that someone brought him out to the country and dropped him off possibly because of it.  He said that it’s a common occurrence and the too big flea collar was to ease guilt.

Now that he’s older, he is less clumsy.  He doesn’t run into as many things anymore.  However, he can’t really jump on anything that isn’t upholstered.  Beds and couches are fine.  Windowsills and radiator covers not so much.  An old ottoman has been pushed next to a window for his viewing pleasure.

He knows the other two cats can out jump him.  That doesn’t deter him.  He’s fast and can get himself under furniture where only the shaking of a bag of treats can weasel him out.  Every evening, he purrs on the couch with me while watching the tv.  He’s fond of the shopping networks, cooking shows, and watching the numbers climb as the Roku loads the next program.

When it thunders, he hides under the bed.  When it rains, he smells the air.  When a motorcycle roars down the street, he sits at the floor length window.  When he accidently finds himself on the back porch, he runs back inside.  When I go up the back stairs, he bounds up the front.  Meeting me at the top, he darts down the hall.

My constant companion helps me with the laundry.  He helps me dust, yet scrams when it comes to vacuuming.  If I’m searching for something, he is looking too.  He announces his presence with one of his versions of meow and touches his nose to mine to say hello.  I hope summer will be as considerate.