When Hannah was a junior in High School the detachment began. It was slow and gradual, all kids have to do the “push-me-pull-you” of separating before they head off into the world. Things became more secretive and though she always came clean with what she was doing, there was quiet rebellion.
One morning, I strode purposely down the hall to rouse her for school as was our routine. I knocked, then opened her bedroom door. As I gazed around at the pile of discarded clothes, clean from the washer mixed with well-worn and needing attention, my eye stopped at two small bowls on the floor. One held water, the other kibble. We had three cats at that point and I doubted she was setting out extra rations for the troops. “What are you feeding in here?” I queried. A tiny tiger kitten’s head poked above the covers of the bed at the sound of my voice.
“Mom, I’ve had her for weeks. I rescued her from under a porch at a really nasty house and I take her to school with me every day in my backpack. She is no trouble, really!” Hannah spewed from her sleepy nest.
Casey Jones, Little Bit, Skeedley Dee; she has always been the independent cat.
She is my huntress, my outdoor-don’t need-you-for-much pet Hannah left six years ago when she went off to college on the West Coast. I have threatened and cajoled over the years; “…she would LOVE California life! You don’t have a cat and she would be perfect!.” Luckily Hannah never took me up on the offer. Since the departure of our other housemates, Skeedles has become my cat; steadfastly attached at the hip with a whole new personality.
Aside from the recent puzzle mishap, when she knocked out 3 weeks of work on a jig saw puzzle with a single leap, we are most compatible. She has her food and cat box up in my loft office so our trips up the spiral staircase are good exercise. She bounds ahead of me leaping three stairs at a time and flying from half-way up onto the trunk by her dish. Ah to be so agile! Her favorite sport, after taunting and massacring small mammals, is to race across the yard and scale the tree trunks. She only gets about twenty feet in the air before she turns and parachutes to the ground only to hit and race to the next tree.
This winter has been tough, the snowbanks high and the snow itself too fluffy for Skeedles to navigate. She has become stir-crazy like the rest of us with confinement. A twice daily dose of dried catnip helps. The warm, tease of Spring on Wednesday allowed freedom for all as I turned off the heat and flung open the doors. She sat and warmed herself on a corner of the deck rail watching the birds at the feed through slitted eyes of cat bliss.
I didn’t ask for her, nor she for me. At the end of the day, when I crawl into the big bed, Alice settles next to me, I call for Skeedles, we drift into sleep. and I’m glad she is here…