Skip to main content

A boy and his cat

Our backyard is a decent size and backs to woods. Every time a visitor steps onto our back deck, friend, family, and neighbor alike, we hear "What a yard! You need to get that kid a dog!" Apparently this is the natural progression here in Suburbia: house + yard + boy child + dog = happiness.

Now, it's one thing to hear about our need of dog from friends or family who know us, but coming from neighbors and relative strangers it gets a bit old. My first response is always, Why do you think so? Which makes people hem and haw because they don't want to insult me by saying what's really on their minds: Because you're depriving that child of a human sibling, and he needs a friend.

One problem: We're not dog people. I mean, we like other people's dogs, and I often think having a dog would be a major motivation to walk long distances regularly and get myself into shape. But a dog is like a toddler who will never grow up. They are needy, and they bark and poop in your yard.

We are, however, cat people. Our cat, Pitino, is one of the kindest souls on the planet, very patient and affectionate; he was my first love, truly, and he has been my constant companion for 12 years. But he's old and not as playful as he once was, and really, he can't be bothered with the little boy.

Last year, right before Thanksgiving, my friend at the animal shelter called to ask if we could foster a kitten who had been brought in and needed her leg amputated. The moment Sweet Boy saw her, all bony and timid, with that goofy cone on her head so she wouldn't pick at the stitches holding her 3-inch incision together, he said "Oh, mommy, that's my SallyCat!" (Of course, her name at the time was Princess -- which made me wonder if these two souls had known each other in a previous life.) His excitement was palpable...a new little creature to play with!

And SallyCat responded to Sweet Boy in kind. The first time we brought her out of her cage, she gimped right over to him, meowed, and rubbed her face on his leg. It was love, instantly. So we realized pretty quickly that this was more than a fostering scenario; SallyCat was here to stay. As she recuperated from her surgery, Sweet Boy fed her and wiped her with a washcloth each night while I cleaned out her litter box.

As her amputation healed and her remaining legs got stronger, Sweet Boy introduced Hot Wheels cars to Sally, and she would bat them around with her front paws. Now that she's full-speed, she chases him around the house and he falls to the ground to let her climb all over him; she licks his face while he yells "That tickles!"; he tosses a bouncy ball and she thumps across the living room after it. She pushes the buttons on his little music player and he dances around. Every night she sits by his bed (or under it) while we get jammies on, and she jumps up on his feet the second he's tucked in. Each morning, she cries outside his doorway until he gets up and lets her in to play.

Right now, as I type this, Sweet Boy is waving a ribbon in front of her and she is doing flips, and I'm sure in a couple minutes they will be cuddling on the sofa, Sweet Boy eating goldfish crackers, Sally licking cheesy salt off his fingertips. They are best buddies, Sweet Boy and SallyCat. Who needs a dog when you've got a three-legged kitten?

Comments

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Actually, your barking-at-dawn woes are what brought this to mind!

    (I'm pretty sure if I brought a dog into our home, my husband would move out, btw...he feels VERY strongly about the no-dogs policy.)

    ReplyDelete
  3. PS -- Do you notice the look of pure joy on Sally's face in this last photo? She is a patient, loving (and long-suffering) creature just like Pitino. We truly lucked out in the cat lottery. Not much fazes these kitties.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Grace happens

Today Honey's roommate in room 364 at Maine Medical Center was discharged. Some other day I'll tell you about why Honey is in the hospital again, but this story is about the roommate because it's way more interesting. Let's call him Elton, because all I really know about him is he plays guitar in an Elton John tribute band and he's originally from the very northern part of England, bordering Scotland. (Or as Honey described it, "that place in England where the Roman Empire decided, nope, those Celts are crazy, and put up a wall.")

Elton was in room 364 before Honey arrived, and what struck me immediately, besides his delightful accent and soothing Liam-Neeson-esque voice, was his gentle, good-natured manner. He was going through heck from a botched surgery and compartment syndrome - pain and gore and fear of losing the use of his dominant hand - yet he spoke kindly and softly to every person who came into his room. Every time a nurse walked in, Elton gree…

Boardwalk ghosts

“Imagine this, buddy, in the middle of summer, especially near the Fourth of July. Wall to wall people, just sort of moving in and out of each other. Flashing lights. Loud music. Screams from Morey’s Pier, laughter on the swirly rides. Oh...and the food...ice cream, funnel cake, fudge, cheese steaks, pizza, fries...the smells alone would drive you nuts!” 
It’s 5:00 on the evening before his Nana’s funeral, and we’re standing in a windy drizzle on an empty Wildwood boardwalk. My mind has flashed back to the summer of 1991, when I spent a week here with my best friend. Wicked sunburn. Tandem bike adventures. Water slides. Thrill rides. A ground-shaking thunderstorm. Friendship bracelets. College guys taking showers outside. Ice cream and VCR movies every night.

Back in the here-and-now I’m trying to explain to Zippy what this place is like when it’s not October. He’s been to Rehoboth and Ocean City and Old Orchard Beach, but none of those come anywhere close to Wildwood in peak season.…

#WhyIMarch

Zippy and I hiked in the woods the other day, following the icy trails around Evergreen Cemetery. The cold air stung our eyes but the sun shone warm and bright, and it felt great to breathe fresh air. As he skipped and hopped and twirled beside, in front, and around me, I felt peaceful, happy, content. Until I realized the Womens' March is in a few days, I am going, and I don't know what to expect. I've never done anything like this, except for a few years ago at Occupy Philly, which was nothing compared to the numbers they're anticipating this weekend. The Women's March will be a peaceful protest, yes, but 200,000 is an awful lot of people in highly charged city during turbulent times. I felt anxiety creeping into my chest.

"So you know I'm going away this weekend, right? To Washington, D.C. For just two sleeps. Do you know why I'm going?" I asked Zippy.
"Because you don't like Donald Trump and he's going to be the President."
&…