Tuesday, January 28, 2014

"Do you know how much I knead you?"

One of my favorite series of books is Chicken Soup for the Soul, especially the animal stories and I just picked up 'My Cat Stories' at a consignment store for 75 cents. One of the chapters is titled, "Do you know how much I knead you?" and it's all about how cats came into their owners lives. Many didn't plan on getting a cat but the cat chose them.

After our father died, we tried to get Mom a cat for company but she resisted. I had the perfect lap cat, Annabella but Mom said no. My sister, Sara, had the perfect lap cat, Angelina, Mom said no. But one day Mom opened her back door and small, black and white tuxedo cat walked into her house and announced that she could live there.

'Pretty Kitty' needed Mom as much as Mom needed her, when my sister took her to the vet for a checkup, they discovered she was very ill with a respiratory infection but was treated successfully and went home with pills. Kitty did not take kindly to the medicine and it took a neighbor, Dick, to come everyday and poke them down her throat. It takes a village to raise a sick cat.

We soon discovered that the mello Kitty was not so mello when she was well and she soon alienated everyone but Mom, who doted on her. Kitty was the child who could do no wrong. My brother, Tom, made her a scratching post and stool to sit on so she wouldn't tear up the furniture but that didn't stop her from working over the couch or chair. She played rough with Mom who soon sported scratches which concerned us. Kitty terrorized Rosanne's needy dog, Jr, and he carries those mental scars today.

Kitty could pull some disappearing acts that caused Mom much distress and sent me running to Whiting to search for her, but she always made her way back home. I had a feeling Kitty was hiding under the nearest bush and finally came out when she felt we had suffered enough.

As Mom's health declined, her ability to interact with people also declined and Kitty's temperament changed dramatically. She was the constant presence in Mom's life, it was a common sight to find them both in the rocking chair when I came to visit.

It was very traumatic for all when Mom could no longer live alone and had to move to the nursing home. Kitty could not go with her but a dear friend of the family had an apartment in the assisted living part and was happy to share it with Mom's cat. She adapted well to her new home and we could take Kitty next door to visit Mom. Mom did not adapt to the nursing home and within a week came down with pneumonia so we brought her home to live out her days. We brought Kitty home also and she took up residence on the hospital bed in the dining room, by the windows looking out on Mom's garden. Kitty stayed on the bed, only leaving it to eat and take care of her personal needs.

When Mom died, Kitty jumped off the bed and did not return. She became very upset with all the preparations that followed, so we tearfully returned her to Ione, it felt like I was saying goodbye to my little sister.  Ione was happy to have Kitty back but it wasn't long before she fell ill and went into the hospital so Rosanne took Kitty home with her. That was not a good situation, Kitty was very aloof and  Jr. was certain that every day would be his last. We found out Ione would not be returning to her apartment so we needed a permanent home for Kitty, she had been passed around long enough. Our nephew, Dale and wife, Cheryl, wanted Kitty to come live with them in Omaha and we all agreed it was a good solution. Kitty was welcomed like the prodigal child returning home at last and settled into her forever home. She shares the house with another cat and likes to sit on the porch and watch what is going on in the neighborhood but comes into the house when Cheryl calls her.

Considering what a snot Kitty started out to be, it was amazing how protective she became of Mom and how she adapted to being shuffled about much like a foster child. To know that she is in a loving home is a comfort to us all, this little cat has touched a lot of lives.


  1. Very true, Pretty Kitty was a comfort to mom and a terror to Junior. I'm so happy she has a good home and I see her occasionally.

  2. Wonderful story Julie. Yes pets can be of comfort to those in need like your Mom. I think it is because pets are "just there" to comfort them. No talking is needed. :-)

  3. I look forward to the day where my little terror will just sit on my lap LOL

  4. When you are old and decrepit, she will be your little angel!