God knew there’d be times
When we’d need a friend—
A soft, gentle creature
Who’d love to the end.
A friend who has grace,
And patience and class.
So, He searched heaven
And then sent us cats.
I’m no longer sure about the sentiments of this poem because I’ve decided our two cats are rescued reprobates. Somehow Clifford and Henry have morphed into heathen cats that enjoy tormenting my husband, John, and me. Or perhaps they’ve gotten in touch with the DNA of their wild ancestors, jungle cats, saved from the flood by Mr. and Mrs. Noah.
Clifford is a Maine Coon mix rescued by a technician at our vet’s office, adopted by us 13 years ago, and loves being a pampered feline. He is 15 pounds of a furry love ball and worships food, sleep, food, and my lap. Attacking the fax machine used to be his favorite pastime.
Henry, abandoned by a neighbor, was hiding in our locked shed for two weeks when we found him four years ago. He became our lovable outdoor cat until someone shot a BB into his neck, shown on an x-ray, and slashed him with a knife. He adjusted to our home but it took a long time before he trusted a human again. The color of ebony with yellow eyes, he is our “little man.”
For 50 years of our marriage we’ve bestowed Christian mercy on our numerous cats when they’ve used our furniture as scratching posts, spread their cat hair over freshly folded laundry, kicked mounds of gravel out of their litterbox (which is painful to our bare feet.), spit out their medicine even though I wrap it in their favorite food, indulge in minor hissy-fights with one another…all normal cat behavior. But now I have to explain why we’re calling our last two reprobates.
Two years ago Clifford and Henry decided they didn’t appreciate my husband’s sister and her husband taking over our extra bed room for a visit. The bed had always been their cushy napping place and under it they could hide among the boxes of Christmas paper and bows.
One night the rascal reprobates coughed up numerous hairballs on the hallway rug and Clifford used an area outside the guest room door for a litterbox. The disgusting noises and smell of sick cats woke us and we knew we’d be tiptoeing through their messes while we dug out the disinfectant spray and wipes, garbage bags, paper towels and face masks. They were sure we got up out of bed to feed them. ”Meow, meow, feed us our paté!” Our embarrassment over their nasty mess hangs over us to this day and we were only in the second week of Kay and Bob’s visit. I don’t think they’ll come again.
That night we abandoned the idea of throwing them over the fence and feeding them to our neighbor’s dogs. However, a plan to ship them off to Anaheim, California to hang out with the Disneyland cats for the nightly rodent population control was a good possibility.
Just when we thought we had converted Henry from a rowdy alley cat to a sweet Christian we discovered he’s a tiger in a black disguise. John had laid his open Bible on the floor. Henry peed on it. Beelzebub is Henry’s new name.
Our daughter and her family also have two cats. Bindi catches field mice that invade their home, bites their heads off and proudly places their bloody remains where they can be stepped on. Leeland demands people food at the dinner table.
A friend lost her cat for two weeks. She was devastated over the loss of her “baby,” King. He had squeezed through a hole around the bathroom plumbing in their manufactured home, living beneath them until they finally heard his frantic meows.
What is it that possesses so many Americans to grace their homes with pets? I admit, over the years, I’m discombobulated when it comes to loving and caring for our cats and dogs. The statistics show that 1000 homes have 2000 pets. Yes, I made that up, but shop at any pet store and the variety of food, equipment and toys you must have for your precious gerbils or dogs or fish or cats or birds equals enough money to pay for a new car every year. The vet bills alone could send you on a cruise. However, for me, the entertainment of animal antics in your home will keep you laughing for years. They are experts at combating loneliness and sadness, getting your mind off the troubled world we live in.
Henry just scampered across my keyboard. I don’t know how he manages to always hit F7, but he’s telling me his food bowl is empty. If he ever tromps on the delete key, I’m sunk. Gotta go and check on the reckless rescued reprobates. I’m sure somewhere in the house they are behaving badly.