It was Christmas Eve Eve–the night before the night before Christmas–and all through the house, many creatures were stirring, measuring, shaping and baking a multitude of cookies to sweeten the holiday and make the season bright.
I caught a glimpse of a sweet sight beneath our horrifying fiber optic Christmas tree–it glimmers and glows on its own, but with its plethora of extra lights, it looks like a concatenation of little pixies and epileptic fireflies collided with Las Vegas and a plastic tree got in the way.
Anyway, the sweet sight was our oldest cat, Ozy, who is sixteen years old–soon to be seventeen–laying all dignified and full of feline gravitas–under our tree.
So, I ran and grabbed the camera and was lucky enough to snap off a scant handful of pics before he got up, stretched and headed off in my direction for a chance to put his nose on the lens. He loves to do that.
The best one is posted above. Ozy is looking way more dignified and kingly than I ever would have imagined in his younger, more kittenish, days.
Which leads me to the other weird cat stories which have happened this weekend.
You see, I am a Weird Cat Lady In-Training. Which means that while I love cats and help them out every chance I get, I only have eight of them in the house. Yes, it is true, that I have not hit a double-digit number in my housecat population. When it happens that I get my tenth cat or kitten to live in the house all at the same time, not only does a Cat Angel get its wings so it can cross the rainbow bridge into cat heaven, I will graduate from my appreticeship and pass on to full membership in that rarefied crowd which is the Weird Cat Ladies’ Association.
Being a Weird Cat Lady In-Training means several things.
It means that stray cats know that you are carrying a Weird Cat Lady Union Card (they smell like catnip) and so they will come out of the woodwork to plead for assistance. It is true, and according to the bylaws and customs of the Weird Cat Ladies’ Association, a Weird Cat Lady in Training MUST render what aid and assistance she can to the ailing, lost, hungry or otherwise unhappy stray feline.
So, uh, when a cute gray kitten tried to slip in the back door at Salaam, I was honor and duty-bound to do what I could to help him out.
So, I gave him a bit of half and half we had sitting around. Not long after, a second grey cat showed up–this one without shadow-stripes of darker grey, and hours later, I went out to the back door to Salaam to see if I could see them, and there now three of them–the third was grey and white and was so skittish that I simply could not get near enough to touch him. The other two took to me immediately–which is very typical cat behavior–I have a way with cats, well, all animals, really, but cats in particular. Hence my unavoidable fate to become a Weird Cat Lady.
It turns out that another local business owner had been feeding them for two weeks, and she said they were a mother and two half grown kittens who had probably been tossed out by someone to fend for themselves.
So–well–I am looking for a home for these guys. I go out to our back parking lot where they hang out and feed them and water them every day, and they all get more friendly and sweet. Zak and I will pay for their vetting–spay, neuter and shots–for whomever would want them. They are beautiful greys–one has grey shadow stripes, one is solid grey (Mom) and the other is grey and white. They look quite healthy, too.
So that happens on Friday.
Saturday morning, we went out to eat at another restaurant–Jana’s–and had a great breakfast. We came out, and Zak and I got Kat strapped in her carseat, we jumped in our seats, and Zak turned on the engine. Right then, the sound of a great, piteous mewling filled our ears, and we were sure that a cat had gotten trapped in our engine.
He turned off the car, I jumped out of my seat, and out from under the car next to us–which was still unoccupied–popped a little tortoiseshell kitten head. She bounded out, and put her paw immediately on my knee, and mewed and purred. She was skinny, and had fleas, and ear mites, and was much younger than the two kittens from the night before–but she was adorable and friendly.
Well, so I thought. As I walked back across the street to Jana’s to ask if they knew if she belonged to someone, we passed two fishermen, whom the kitten tried to run from, and two old ladies coming out of the restaurant who scared her, too. Jana said she thought it had been dropped off–it seems to happen often out where the restaurant is–so I told Zak to call our vet who often fosters cats and finds them homes. The office was closed. Then, we drove the mile to another local vet office where we have had good dealings–but they were closed, too.
By now, the kitten was curled in my arms, purring mightily, and Zak and I had resigned ourselves to at least taking her in our home until we could find her another set of parents. She was charming, gorgeous and sweet.
And then it dawned on me. Heather wanted a friend for her first kitten.
So, we called her.
And we dropped by.
And the kitten has a new Mommy.
But, there are still three cats in the alley behind Salaam waiting for a Christmas miracle….
BTW–these sorts of things happen to me often, and usually around Christmas. Two other strays came out of the woods near our house in the past–once in Athens, years ago, before we left, and once in Pataskala, after we came back to Ohio. Both were found homes around Christmas. The first one, an orange tiger-striped cat who came to us with a broken jaw, we called Hobbes. Our vet, Dr. Kroner, did surgery on his jaw free after we paid for antibiotics and treated him for the infection that had settled in. Then, he stayed at Dr. Kroner’s office until Christmas Eve, when two middle-aged siblings took him home as a gift for their elderly father whose cat of fourteen years had died earlier in the month.
When Dr. Kroner told us that story, we got all teary-eyed and felt great about helping Hobbes find such a good home.
The second one–Pippen–still lives happily down the hill from us in Dan’s home. He bonded with Dan the first time they met, and I was thrilled to have gotten him out of the woods, and into our house where he lived until Dan could take him in.
I guess that December is the Season of Cats for me.
Look for a new cookie recipe tomorrow, and on Christmas Day, some pictures of all the action around the old homestead.
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