How cool was THAT?!

I woke up at 2:00 this morning feeling a cat curled up against my legs, kneading them with gentle kitty paws. “Clara,” I thought, thinking of my calico. And, still half-asleep, it occurred to me that Clara had lost some weight – she was feeling light against me.

I tried to doze off again, but the sleep didn’t come. I finally gave up and decided to get out of bed and do some work in my office. But as I was getting out of bed I reached down to pet “Clara” and realized that this cat wasn’t Clara at all – it was Sparky, our black feral cat, curled up against my legs. Which… whoah… Sparky is usually skittish and scaredy and doesn’t often let people near.

I curled my body around Sparky on top of our wool Pendleton blanket and, for the next half hour, communed with him – scratching him behind his ears, ruffling his fur, petting his paws. I could feel him purring underneath my hand – stretching out so I could pet all of him.

Eventually my husband – who first coaxed Sparky into our lives last autumn – moved abruptly in his sleep and Sparky – maybe deciding the humans were getting a little too lively – scampered off into the night.

But whoah… how cool was THAT half hour visit in the middle of the night?!

Sparky the black cat 2

Sparky last autumn.

A New Christmas

Endings that are new to me
this Christmas.
Beginnings that are new to me, too.
I miss Moz. I grin as I watch Sparky
the new kitty scamper around
the Christmas tree, chasing
his big sister, Clara – experiencing
his first Christmas. I decide
to make cookies, open up my recipe
book, find the recipe for boiled
cookies and see it written in Moz’s
handwriting. I’d forgotten
she’d given me that recipe.
Moz never got to meet Sparky.
He never got to meet Moz.
But they both celebrate Christmas
in this house  – one in the past,
one in the present.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

Sparky's First Christmas

Making Friends with a Feral Kitty

Feral kitty eats the food I poured in his bowl
and then approaches me, cautiously, skittish,
not sure he can trust me, but wanting to trust,
and I reach out and scratch him behind his ears.
He rubs against me and nestles into the circle
of my arms, curls into a ball and purrs.
A perfect moment. Sweet and whole.
Is there anything finer than a feral
feline who trusts you?
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

Sparky the black cat 2

Clara Ricki Jazzy Calico

“Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

I’d been having terrible kitty yearnings. In fact, a few months ago, as I was driving home from work, I actually started tearing up as I grieved the lack of a cat in my life.

On the last day of February, 2015, I lost my calico cat, Freckle Rose. I’d found Freckle at the local Humane Society when she was just a feral little ball of fur, and she’d been a part of my life for 17 years. Losing her was really hard.

I didn’t think I’d be able to get another cat, though. In 2010 we acquired a dog – Samantha. Samantha is a Labradane. She is big and exuberant and – I imagine if you’re just a wee fluff of fur – she is kind of scary-looking. I’d been afraid that if I were to bring a kitty into my home and she came face-to-face with Sam she would instantly die of fright.

A month ago I went to this little thrift shop/library near Mom and Dad’s place to look for another pair of pants for Dad. There weren’t any clothes there, so I came out and started to look at the flowers in their nursery. This woman came up to me and asked me if I’d like to see the kitties. I think she’d been watching for just the right someone to bring to her box of furry felines.

“Kitties, you say?” asked I.

There were three of them – two calicos and an orange tabby. One of the calicos was a very rare male calico (1 in 17,000) – and the woman needed to find a special owner for that one because it might end up having serious medical problems (it has xxy chromosome disorder) – he was VERY cute, but I wanted a female short hair and I didn’t think I would be the best owner for a kitty that’s going to need special care. So I told her I’d like to take the little female, and she gave me some kitty food for her and put her in a box with holes in it and away I went.

And suddenly, as I was driving home, I came out of my kitty-trance and took stock of what I’d just done: “Oh lord. I should turn around right now and bring her back! What did I just do? Sam is going to eat this poor little thing!” But I didn’t turn around. And when I reached the half-way point between my home and the thrift shop I decided to go all the way to my house and let my husband make the decision.

When I got home Scott was sitting on the front porch. He saw me coming up the walk with the box with holes in it. “What you got there?” he asked.

“It’s a kitty. And I’ll take it back if you tell me to.” He peeked inside the box to see what I’d gotten us into THIS time. Like me, he had some trepidation about the dog.

But somehow I ended up inside the house with the kitty. I took her out of the box, and she went and sat in a space between the couch and the book case. She looked up at me and reached out a paw – and boom! I was hooked.

Scott went to bring Sam into the kitchen to see how the two of them felt about each other. Sam was all excited – she wanted to meet the kitty. The kitty was scared. But as soon as Scott held her, she settled right into his hands and looked steadily back at the dog.

I was thinking this wasn’t going to work, though – Sam was just too excited – and so I put the kitty back in the box and told Scott I was taking her back – and to my surprise, and his, I found myself sobbing.

Scott looked at me, standing there with tears running down my face, and said “We’ll make this work.”

And so we have. Sam and Clara have become friends. Clara was meant to be with us.

Behold, I present Clara (my name for her) Ricki Raccoon (Scott’s name for her) Jazzy (the sons’ name for her) Calico (my parents’ name for her)…

Here’s a youtube clip of my parents with their new grand- kitty.

It’s so nice to come home to a kitty again – to hear little paws scampering across the floor to greet me and to feel kitty whiskers brushing across my arm. When I woke up on the morning of the day I found Clara I hadn’t expected I’d be ending the day with a kitty in the house.

You just never know what magic each day might bring, do you? 🙂

The Christmas Cat

In my post a couple weeks ago, I told the story of our Christmas Dog. Now I have a Christmas CAT story to share…

A few days ago my son came home from his walk with Sam the Dog, to tell me that they’d found a bloodied little calico cat on the side of the road.  She seemed to be injured, wasn’t moving much, had just enough energy to hiss at the dog, but not much energy beyond that. I grabbed a towel (the yellow Pittsburgh Steelers towel my dear in-laws from Pennsylvania sent us several years ago when the Seahaws and the Steelers were duking it out in some bowl game – I figured if any of my towels was going to end up bloody, it might as well be that one) and followed the son to the kitty.

She was curled up on the side of the road, not moving much – except for one twitchy ear. She hissed defensively when I reached down to hold her, but I wrapped her up in the towel so she couldn’t scratch and held her close to me. I told the son to get my car keys and purse and meet me at the car, and I slowly carried the kitty back to our house.

Once I was holding her, she stopped hissing and fidgeting, and when I sat down in the car with her, she relaxed against me, laid her head on my arm and began to purr as I petted her head and ears. As the son drove us to the vet’s I sang the song I’d once sung, years ago, to the Christmas Dog. “Everlasting arms of Love, are beneath, around, above…” (words by John R. MacDuff) and the kitty looked up at me with the same look of trust and love that the Christmas Dog had once shown me.

I’ll be honest, the picture was not pretty. She looked to have been hit in the head by a car. Her jaw was out of alignment, and her eyes were filling up with blood. In my thoughts, I tried to establish who this little kitty was, as an expression of God – tried to establish her in my thoughts as God’s perfect idea, held whole, complete, and untouched by accident, in the consciousness of Love.  What gave me some courage and confidence about the whole situation was the kitty herself – she seemed totally calm, totally unaware that she looked a mess, and completely content just resting on my lap, wrapped up in the towel. She was…well…she was very matter of fact about it all, to tell you the truth.

When we got to the vet’s I carried her inside (she was still purring), and the dear receptionist and assistant there immediately, but gently, removed the cat from my arms and whisked her away to a backroom. Before I left her there, they told me that a microchip had been found on her and that they’d try to contact the owners. I told them that if they couldn’t find the owners, I’d be willing to take responsibility for the kitty.  (In the short drive to the vet’s she’d already managed to capture my heart.)

The next morning I called the vet’s to get an update, and was relieved to learn that the kitty was still alive, was actually doing “pretty good,” and was still purring. The owner had come in and decisions were being made as to how to proceed regarding the kitty’s jaw, which had been shattered.

This morning, on our way to church, we noticed our next-door neighbors had a sign in their front yard that read “Slow down” and we wondered if there might be some connection between that sign and the kitty-cat we’d found near their house two days ago.  Tonight I knocked on their door and found that they were, indeed, the owners of that sweet kitty. They brought me in to look at her. She was snugly ensconced in a kitty carrier, half-dozing, and looking much better than she did when I first met her. The neighbors were happy to learn that I’d been the person the doctor had referred to as “The Good Samaritan” – “Mystery solved!” said Robert with a grin – and I was happy to learn that my neighbors were the owners of that dear kitty – I know she’s in a good home if she’s living with them.

And here’s the really cool thing:  Because the little calico cat lives right next door to me, I’ll get to see her all the time!

Joy! Peace! Good will to all (and I’m not just talking those with two legs)!