I like to write. Sometimes I’m going to go completely off topic and delve into personal. It happens – I’ll talk about dad and things….sometimes cats. The cat thing – or as people call me “the crazy cat guy” – gets old from time to time….but it’s a part of life. My old neighborhood was full of cats. One day I came home and a small orange kitten had been squished near my street. We had noticed how many cats we had and songbirds and small critters we didn’t. So started a year of catch and release. I worked a deal with the local vet to help – so I paid gladly for each cat. At the time I made a ton of money and this was something that made me happy. So I didn’t mind a small vet bill if I didn’t see something dead as I came home.
So this one day a small speckled calico cat appeared with three kittens in tow. One kitten was sick and the mother stayed with it and pushed it along. All I could think was “CRAP”. I can’t let the small sick kitten die. The next day the small sick kitten came up and was missing an eye. It had exploded from some weird issue related to a sinus infection. It was more horrible than it sounds. It took me two days to catch the kitten. When I finally did catch her, I had a hefty vet bill and a one eyed Cat.
At the time the Movie Lilo and Stitch had come out on DVD (or VHS) and Stitch (if you’ve ever seen the movie) was described as having “high levels of bad”……Which became perfect for this small feral kitten. Stitch became her name. There’s a lot to be said for having a feral cat. The first you learn is the cat is first and foremost a small four legged animal. It’s not a child. It’s not your friend. The second is – well – because it’s a pack animal it becomes part of the herd. You own it. You are the lead and she is a second in command. If I fail or break a routine she was there to remind me. In her small way – that was being a better friend than most.
She was intensely curious. She was a mother at times when I didn’t want or need one more body telling me what to do. I would get a small bite pushing me in a direction. If I was up to late – I would get nipped. If she was hungry and I wasn’t paying attention – nip. If I yelled – she came running. If I stumped a toe – she was around the corner checking on me. We watched a lot of movies. I sitting on the coach and her sitting one foot away from me. I could pet her occasionally. Lap time was infrequent and rare. Things would get broken in the house for no reason and the end result would be her running out of the room where the item was broken. She had a fascination with leaves and her tail. The tail was a 14 year curiosity. I would bring in the occasional leaf so she could run around the house with it. She loved sitting in the window. Except she couldn’t go back out – no stereo vision. If I moved something in the house a few inches it would throw off a jump or a run through the house. Once I set up a place to live I didn’t move things. She knew the distance from the table to a chair. From the floor to the couch. From the window back to the bed. We talked a lot. I would carry on conversations and she would stare at me one eyed. I would love to think these long conversations meant something more than “blah blah blah food blah blah blah stitch blah blah no”. Meowing was a funny thing. If something was needed the first meow was normal. The second was lower…longer. The third meow was some sort of meorawr. It was slow low and slow it barely registered as a meow.
I could tell you stories all day of the small feral cat. I’ll stop before it all gets too silly. One vet visit Saturday confirmed my worst fears. Cancer. There’s nothing you can do with a 14 year old cat except be responsible. From what I could figure out from the X-Rays this had started some time back and I had no clue. The x-ray also revealed a host of other issues – kidneys that weren’t quite right probably due to in breeding. A liver slightly out of whack. Sunday she was fine. Monday not so much. Friday she was sick enough I had to do something.
It was a great 14 year run – maybe a bit longer. The years faded together and I had to remind myself she went from a sick kitten to close to 100 years old before I felt like I had blinked. There won’t be another Stitch. When I left the house for a trip or to do something I always left one cat in “charge” and most of the time I would yell “Stitch is in charge I’ll be back shortly”. Silly – yes – but a bit reassuring. Like double checking your locks as you leave the house of having a lucky pair of pants. I didn’t yell it out yesterday and that bothered me more than it should.