Thursday, September 28, 2017

Cats Make You Talk Dumb
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This bit of observation came from my youngest when he was somewhere around five. He was angelic, blonde and small for his age, and his remark regarding all the “Tum-tum pusseh-wusseh! Paw-weh-cious puddy! Tum, Sweetie! Come up here'n' be Mommie’s baaaay-beh” stuff that he heard around the house has stayed with me over the years. 

Bast with her kittens, Brooklyn Museum

In those days, the adorable cat to whom we “talked dumb” was a slim, elegant black girly-girl named Bap. Her original (1970's Cool) name was Bast, after everyone’s favorite Egyptian goddess. However, “Bast” was more than two-year old Jesse could get his lips around, so “Bap” he called her and soon the rest of the family was calling her “Bap” too. 

Half a squirrel is better than...?

We’re usually a multiple cat household—“like potato chips, you can’t stop at one.”  These days, we host a mere two. B0B is our gray striped tiger, the terror of the neighborhood wild critters unlucky enough to attract his laser-green gaze and lightning fast claws. Our “joke” this spring was: “B0B! Wipe that bunny off your face before you come in this house!”  I have no idea how there can be another generation after all the body bits I’ve cleaned off the porch, but somehow, after  nine years in residence, he still hasn’t got them all. Astonishingly, somehow, each year, a few wily rabbits survive. Then, in spring, there are the little bodies again, pitiful innocents. 

Cat #2 is Kimi, fluffy, blonde, a rescue we were gifted. She arrived as a PTSD sufferer, so for the first few years, we hardly ever saw her. She was variously referred to as “Basement Cat,” “Dementia” or just “Stop that Damned Hissing!”  She showed up to eat, but touching/grooming by her human caretakers was pretty much forbidden—or, when these services were finally allowed, only permitted within a carefully circumscribed set of her own, often mystifying, rules. 

Traumatized Newbie

Then, suddenly, about seven months ago, all this changed. I think it was the daily-imposed-by-me-despite-the-bloody-scratches grooming ritual that finally ground down her resistance to human handling. (Long-haired cats must be groomed, or there will be vet bills you don’t even want to imagine.) She still has  rules about patting, but she’s as likely as not to be over here while I’m busily typing, trailing her fluffy tail seductively along my leg, or standing a little way off, repeatedly calling with her particularly desperate meeeoooow until I am compelled to spend time sitting on the floor to do the dedicated petting she now craves. She’s even jumped up to stand on the keyboard while I’m trying to finish/edit the soon to be published Fly Away Snow Goose —“jes' wike um’s a wee-eel too-woo kitty!”       

Happy Ending

~~Juliet Waldron
Canadian Brides, historicals from Books We Love
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