God sent me a kitten

Big thanks to Debra Dickey for serving as today’s guest contributor and for another kitten post!

catI didn’t know it yet, but He was creating, protecting, and instilling a spirit of trust into the sweetest, funniest, prettiest little long-haired yellow kitten that I have seen in a long time, just for me, even before I knew how much she was going to mean to me.  She was born late last summer, the only one in the litter.  Her mom raised her in my carport, cared for her, taught her lessons, kept her safe, and shared her with us all fall. When she was older, she would come and go with her mom, then soon she was following her whole cat family to the places they go to find shelter and be warm, in the barns and sheds, or playing with the other cats high atop piles of tires and equipment that are close by.  I called her my little ball of sunshine.

Considering that all the cats around my house are purely outdoor cats and not the least bit interested in people except for food purposes, I never expected that this one would be any different!  But one day, while the weather was yet warm, as I was going into the house, the little furry thing ran inside, and began exploring.  She didn’t go far, and she didn’t stay long  — I think she was reconnaissance!   But she was cute and playful, rolling on the rug to be petted and cuddled, so I did.  Soon her mom was peeking in the back door, meowing for her to come out, not that the little one was particularly concerned, but after a time, she was ready to leave and return to her mom’s watchful care, only to occasionally dash in whenever the door happened to be open if she was around.  But most of the time, she seemed more happy outside than in.

However, when the temperatures dropped to very cold and brought along snow, her attitude changed very quickly.  She knew right away exactly where she wanted to be — inside!  By now, she and her mom have both become content with longer periods of her being on her own, so on the coldest of those days when I went to work, I left her inside and she did quite well. . .  by that I mean, nothing tipped over or broken!   Still, not being used to that much ‘alone’ time, on those days she was always really ready for me to come home so she could escape back to her natural habitat.  But, on the weekends now, when I am home and momentarily idle, her favorite pastime is being curled up with me on the quilt I keep in my chair, and there she will blissfully sleep all the day long.

The background to her felicitous and sunny appearance being so providential is simply stated:  mid-November through the first part of January in my life was a pretty bleak patch for me.  The loss of our second cat during the holidays, then only a couple short weeks later, add to that a terrifying mind-numbing six day emergency situation; numerous and challenging technical issues due to freezing weather, incredible exhausting illnesses; treacherous accident-waiting-to-happen driving conditions on ice-slicked roads; and one more family crises looming on the horizon, and you will have the brief three-week- time-span highlights that were going on in my life.  You see, He knew I was going to need her cheerful distraction…. at that precise moment in time … to lift my spirits…. user-friendly …. couldn’t have asked for anything better … she was just the right one-size-fits-all expression, a unique and timely Gift, Perfectly given.  Yes, her little funny face, her silly kitty antics, and her sweet nature, wrapped in this random act of caring, have stolen my heart.  Just a coincidence?  Not at all.

These days, she has become a permanent fixture in my life, a totally spoiled rotten fuzzy ball of Velcroed-to-my-slippers fluff, sometimes annoying, but mostly lovable.  I look for her every day, she also looks for me.  She’s quite independent — coming and going at her leisure, staying in at night, or not, eating on demand, romping through the house, then sleeps where she pleases.  She makes me laugh; she too often wakes me before it’s time; she asks for very little, yet she gives much in return.  She loves unconditionally.  She affectionately fills the hole that only He knew would come to exist.  We call her umm, him, Stinky  🙂 .



Another cat’s tale

*Here’s another cat’s tale from Debra Dickey. This post reminds me of all the fur babies I’ve had over the years and how much joy they’ve brought to my life. Thanks, Debra, for the great reminder!*

Growing up, my parents didn’t allow us to have inside pets.  We had plenty of animals, but because we lived on a farm, they all roomed and boarded outside.  Except for an occasional newborn calf or litter of pigs that had to be brought in to warm by the oven or in front of the fireplace, when the temperatures had dropped well below freezing or there was several inches of snow on the ground, our ‘pets’, whatever they were, stayed outdoors!

Gray catHowever, when I had children of my own, and lived in town, I still wanted to give my kids the opportunity to know the mutual love and affection of having a pet, so eventually we ended up with our first inside cat.  This cat was soft gray in color, with the most beautiful emerald green eyes I have ever seen, and a distinctive personality to boot.  She came to us as a kitten, soft, cuddly, and adorable, and quickly became queen of the household!  She was well-cared for, and well-loved, and came, went, and slept as she pleased.  Because she originated from an outdoor cat parent, she still chose to be outside, sometimes more often than she was inside, and would wake me in the middle of the night to be let out.  But she was always at the back door first thing in the morning to be let in to eat, and she soon found the warmest spot in the house to snuggle in for her day-long cat naps!  We never knew where she might be curled up!

After a time, and she was now a grown up, we adopted puppy-Maddie.  Even though the puppy was 4 times her size, the cat still considered herself the ‘mother’, and would watch out for the puppy as any responsible parent would!  As was intended, the puppy lived outdoors, but nevertheless, the cat and the dog remained lifelong friends, and I would often see the cat outside near Maddie’s pen, napping, or just keeping an eye on her “pup”.

Although she was most certainly her own entity, she graciously brought me presents, came when I called, didn’t mind kids and their attempts at petting her, lived with us, let us take care of her, and in her unselfish way, kindly gave us the impression that we were actually in charge.

This cat was unique in many qualities, however, the most comical practice she had was to follow Maddie and me on our walks.  No matter how far or which direction we went, if she was outside, she followed us all the way and back.  I was certain that she was still exercising her ‘parental’ expectations toward the dog, until one day when my car was in the shop, I set out to walk to work, and lo and behold, I looked back (because I heard rr-row-ing), and the cat was following ME!  I realized then that it was not only the dog she was watching out for, but me too.  She continued to be attentive to her chosen ones and allowed us to be part of her life for almost two decades.

We lost her three Januarys ago. After being with us for over 15 years, we’ve truly felt her loss. A beautiful cat with a beautiful soul, she valued her independence, always took care of herself, asked no special help or considerations, and her humans respected her choices.  She loved us unconditionally, as we loved her in return.  I still miss her — her characteristic purr, her unusual habits, her particular meow, and her kitty antics, but mostly, I miss her presence.  Her passing has left a big hole where a soft gray being with a sweet spirit and beautiful green eyes should be.


A cat’s tale

*Today’s post is part 1 in a three-part series by my friend Debra Dickey. As a fellow cat lover, I’m particularly thankful for the humor :).

Black calicoI have an acquaintance who always had the most hilarious things happen to her, and with her story-telling abilities, they were even funnier with the narration!!  I often thought, “How could all those things happen to one person??”  Well, yesterday, I was introduced to just a taste of such unimagined predicaments as she used to regale us with!

It being the Thursday after the ice storm, I decided to leave home about half an hour later than usual due to possible road conditions, plus, give other drivers time to already be at work. Bridges were slushy, but fortunately the roads were clear.  With a forecast of higher temperatures for the afternoon, I had no traveling concerns for the remainder of the day, so I arrived at work about 15 minutes after 8:00 a.m., pulled into my typical parking place, and turned off the engine.

This is where my tale begins.  I immediately heard a disturbing, mournful yawl, and because I was still inside my car, I knew it could only be coming from one place — under the hood.  Oh yes, one of my Dad’s cats had crawled up in my car and ridden 25 miles with me to work.  OH . MY . GOSH!  And so now arises the conundrum  — the challenge of a wild cat rescue!

Immediately I launch into ‘cat rescue’ mode, but of course, after I raised the hood, and before I could latch on to her, the cat jumped down and began to run in the parking lot to hide.  Because it is an outdoor cat, it is in no wise tame, and though I tried in vain, she would not come to me at all when I called her.  I followed her from car to car, but she always crouched underneath and unreachable.  (Think “Funniest Home Videos”!)  Finally, finally, she jumped up on another vehicle’s tire, and although I knew rescue would be terrible, I also knew that this would be my only chance, so I grabbed her and held on for dear life.  She went ballistic, biting, scratching, clawing . . .  I will probably have scars for life!  At any rate, I managed to hang on to her. Whew! Yes. Yay!! Mission accomplished! ……. Ooh . .  wait!  Now what?!?  I have a wild cat on my hands!!  I have to figure out what to do with her, and how to get her back home again.  Great.  I might have been able to let her loose in a confined room in my office until the end of the day, but for a variety of reasons, I didn’t really think that was my best option.  So I brought her inside, and sat in my chair, coat, one glove, still on, and held her and cuddled her until she began to calm down.  I’m bleeding, but at least I know that she is safe for the moment, not lost somewhere 25 miles from home.

Fortunately, work was a little slow that morning, but we attracted numerous co-workers who were immediately taken with this pretty cat, and very interested to know the reason for her visit!  As I related our adventure, several people would have loved to pet her, but I quickly explained what a very bad idea that would be. . . .

The end to this story is that I called my sister, who doesn’t live too far away, and is quite kind that way, and asked if she would come to pick up the cat and take it home again, and, other than one mishap when she accidentally let the cat go (!), and the fact that by now it is sheeting outside, we got the cat in a box, and she and the cat made the trip without further misfortune!

The cat is fine, showing up in all the regular places at her home, but oh the tales she will have to tell her grandchildren!   But if you happen to be superstitious, it’s a bit uncanny that the number for this story is 13…..and it was a calico/black cat . . . . .