Shortly after Finals for Fall Semester of 2008, Bonnie had most of the "metal" removed from her leg which had been put in during the spring of 2005 when she fell in our garden and broke her leg. This seemed like a good time for this as: 1.) the metal pieces were no longer needed; 2.) it was routine surgery, and: 3.) there was plenty of time available because WCU was, for all intents and purposes, shut down for the holidays, so I'd be home to see to assisting her as needed. We were without cats at the time because the last of our almost continual companions had passed that fall and we weren't planning on getting another pet, at least for a while. Then, Kate, the older daughter, called us on the 'phone....
She told us that one of her friends had two, declawed, neutered, male "kittens" (litter mates) which the friend was unable to keep because one of her children had just been diagnosed as highly allergic to cats, and the local animal shelter wouldn't take them because they had been declawed, and since we were without any cats, and we NEEDED to have at least one, so why didn't we just come up to get these? So, of course, we did.
That's easy to say but was more complicated than it sounds. Remember, Bonnie was just out of surgery on her leg, so she couldn't drive and was supposed to keep her leg elevated as much as possible. So, I drove her up to Leesburg, VA (about 500 miles, or 7+ hours from Webster), we spent the night in a motel, spent a VERY brief time with Kate, Ty, and the grandchildren because someone had a bad cold, then went to pick up the "kittens." Now, time was something of the essence, what with the need of the friend to get them out of the house, Xmas coming, snow approaching, and Bonnie on crutches and not walking much, due to the recent surgery. It was at this point that we discovered that the "kittens" were a good year and a half old and were good sized CATS, although they WERE not (quite) "fully" grown. They were close, but they did get larger as time passed! Anyway, they had been fed their "sleepy" drugs, so we bundled them into the car and got back on the road to Sylva. The trip was longish, of course, but not really a problem. So now we had two cats. Then, Bonnie's brother arrived for the holidays.
Six years later, we had to move the "guys" to Omaha after we retired and that was a somewhat longer and more complex trip (lasting about 16 hours and requiring a replenishment of the "good" drugs along the way). We all survived that, as well. Here's a picture of "our guys" curled up together next to the fireplace a short time after we all got settled in Omaha.
All was well until just a bit over two years ago, when Bonnie and I were in the living room watching the news one morning, when we heard a "thump" from the kitchen. We went to investigate and discovered George collapsed in front of the cat condo we had set up so that the cats could watch the birds and squirrels on the back porch. We bundled him into a towel and rushed to the vet's office down the way, but it was too late. The vet suspected a heart condition which hadn't previously been detected. So, then we were down to one cat, again, with just the memories of our "twins" curled up on our sofa with a Hogwarts throw pillow.
Nose as black as coal,
Coat of plushy, gray softness
Collar of purple
Okay, it's not great poetry, but I like it for Fred, and, yes, he does wear a purple collar to support his cat license, rabies tag and a little bell which "tinkles" nicely against his bowl when he eats. I think it's quite pleasant.
Of course, I have always liked cats. Probably my favorite spot in the "temperate" portion of the conservatory at Lauritzen Gardens (the local botanical gardens) is this statue of two cats "talking," shown here at Xmas time a couple of years ago.
Perhaps what I like the most about cats, other than the occasional cuddle and purr, is the fact that they have strong personalities and are not ashamed to let you know it. When they are hungry, they expect to be fed promptly and properly, and they will let you know if you are not doing your job correctly.
Back in a couple of weeks,
P.S. It's also worth noting that I believe that Montaigne knew whereof he spoke when he said: "In nine lifetimes, you'll never know as much about your cat as your cat knows about you."