Friday, February 29, 2008

Serendipity ... (part two) ...

... (continuing on) ... I love cats!

"Pepsi", I think, was the 'tortoise-shell' kitty that we brought down to Houston with us from Columbus, Ohio.

My husband had already been in Houston for a while, and my daughter and I were driving down from Columbus in a station wagon filled with assorted items that we had not wanted the movers to be responsible for -- stamp collection, musical instruments, etc. Pepsi, of course, was in the car as well.

We stopped at Bellingrath Gardens, in Alabama -- just west and a little south of Mobile. I had heard of those beautiful gardens, and thought, "Why not? We've got time."

Then, when we got there, I thought, "Whatever are we going to do with Pepsi?" Certainly, I could crack the windows so that she could get air, but I was having some trouble with the idea of leaving windows ajar. I noticed a sign that said (something like) 'pet boarding'. I decided to check it out. Did it cost money? Had any of their boarders ever escaped? You know, stuff like that.

The money issue would not have been a problem. The 'escape' question really concerned me. (Outside of "Timid Timothy" -- see last post, all of our cats had at least equal to or more than their ordinary share of cat IQ.) We were assured that no animal had ever escaped from their care. SO, we deposited Pepsi.

When we returned from our tour (and it was absolutely GORgeous!) to pick up Pepsi, we were met with mortification ... they had been looking for Pepsi, and didn't know where she was ... it seemed as tho she had, indeed, escaped!!

DD and I spent several minutes walking through the parking lot calling her name with no response. More minutes passed, calling and calling, with no answer.

FINally, we decided that we just had to leave. As we were going back to the car, we could hear this very loud "Meow"! And it was Pepsi, of course ... we were so relieved! She was up in a tree, waiting for us to come back and claim her. Heavens!!

The mother of one of DD's best friends, a year or so later, brought 'Pepsi' to our house, saying that she must have gotten lost.

Well, that kitty wasn't Pepsi! She looked a lot like Pepsi, but was quite a bit smaller. We kept a pretty good watch out for a "lost kitten" ad, but didn't see one, and my daughter decided that we should call our new kitty "Cola".

The two of them really had a great time playing together! One of my most distinct memories is of them playing with a box -- one inside the box, the other outside -- there's a very small pinprick of a hole in the box, at first ... then, as the 'game' progresses, the hole gets larger and larger until you see a paw sticking out and reaching/batting. A FUN game!

I don't remember what happened to Cola. She probably was too small, and perhaps even abandoned by her original family. I don't remember. She was a real sweetie and just loved to be cuddled!

Pepsi lived on to be a ripe old age. She had to be 'retired', finally, by my ex-husband. She had gotten to the point where she felt she owned the house (ALL cats are so inclined, by the way, if they're anywhere near worth their salt!). --- --- However, this cat felt as tho she had the right to 'poop' in any area she so chose. In this particular case, however, the pooping was done in our daughter's bathtub!!

The last time I saw her, she leapt into my arms and we exchanged multitudinous hugs and kisses. Ex-husband exclaimed, "She doesn't let anyone do that!"

One of my bridge partners and a close friend, Frank Jones, was visiting at our home one day and holding Pepsi.

It was obvious that he was a cat lover ... Pepsi knew, instantly!

Frank related a story to me about one of his cats ... a Siamese, I believe. (I have never been fond of Siamese, but that's beside the point.)

Anyway, it seemed that his cat (male) had been getting into just all sorts of trouble! He was climbing the fence and terrorizing the neighbor's dogs, clawing his way up into the trees, chasing the birds and getting into their nests, mutilating the neighbor's screens with his claws, frightening passing children, etc.

Frank had been receiving complaint after complaint about his cat. FINally, he thought, something had to be done. He decided to have the cat de-clawed. He really didn't want to do it, but he felt he had no choice. And so, he took the cat to the vet.

Returning from the vet, cat meowing piteously, Frank felt just AWful!

Weeks passed.

Those pitiful sounds kept ensuing from his cat. He could barely move, much less take himself outside to 'go potty'. Frank had to carry him, all the while uttering words like, "There, there. It's going to be all right. Daddy's here."

Frank felt TERrible! Finally, in desperation, he went back to the vet and told him what was going on. The vet suggested that the cat was 'putting him on', that there was no way the cat could still be in pain after all this time.

Frank thought, "Whaaaat!?!" And then he thought, "Well, maybe I should just test out this vet's theory for myself!" And so he did.

One day, after carrying said cat outside to 'do his business', said cat meowing piteously all the time, dragging his hind feet so that he might possibly be able to get to a good spot, Frank said, "O.K. I'll come back outside in just a little bit to get you."

That said, Frank retired to what he thought might be a good hiding place behind the drapes to see what might actually occur.

What he saw was hard to believe!!

As soon as the cat felt that he was 'unobserved', he hopped the fence, terrorized the various dogs and children in the neighborhood, managed to snag a baby bird or two ... ... ... THEN, when Frank opened the back door to carry him back in, he sort of fell to one side, and -- meowing piteously, dragged his back legs as tho they could hardly support him.

Well, that was the end of that charade! Frank said, "I see you. I saw what you did. Get your body on in here!" And, of course, the cat did.

That's probably one of my most favorite stories.

I don't know where you might be now, Frank, but I hope that -- wherever it is -- you are still a cat lover!

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