Nancy’s house cont’d

After I parked I gathered her up in my arms and started up the steps to Nancy’s. Her caregiver, waiting at the open door, remarked “I’m allergic to cats,” and left the house. I said, Tango has come to visit you, Nancy, and released her. Another error. Tango headed straight for the sofa and got under it.

Nancy said, “That’s terrific. Uh, what color was she?”

After about 20 minutes of chat I felt it was time to take Tango home, so I began to move furniture. A lamp fell over. A pile of magazines collapsed. A flap of upholstery stuck out, over Tango’s face, and I grabbed her.

Nancy hung my purse on one arm, put my car keys in my free hand, and I headed outside.

The ride home was the same, with Tango wrapped around my shoulders. Her sad song ceased as soon as she realized we were in our garage. She forgave me handily but I have still to forgive myself.

Gail, if you read this, you were so right, and I will never never do it again.

 

Tango visits Nancy….or something

“I know cats,” my friend Gail said. “Do not do it. It’s going to be a disaster.” Tango is a calm, friendly cat, I argued. She will take it very well, and I want to take her to Nancy. Nancy, my homebound friend, would love it. Nothing interesting has happened for her for a long time.

So I purchased a harness because I knew I could not carry both Tango–at least 12 pounds at last weighing–and the carrier. As a test the day before our trip I slipped it on Tango, who didn’t mind, though she walked oddly. All of a sudden she was bent almost to the floor. I called to her as she inched past me but she was intent on her progress across the rug. When I removed the harness she bounded upright and out of the house. For me, the experiment was working and I looked forward to our adventure next day.

On Sunday morning I fitted the harness on her again, only this time one of the straps would not go behind a front leg. No matter, I thought. We’ll be safe in the car. I clipped the leash on and picked her up, entered the garage, opened the car door, and set her inside.

She froze for an instant, then began distractedly to move about. She emitted a loud cry and I quickly got in. For the next two miles Tango’s voice filled the car. She climbed into the backseat, shedding the harness as she did so, then got onto my shoulders and wrapped herself around my neck. Her cries bored straight into my left ear.

I should have turned around and gone home then, but I was determined to do this. After all, we were almost at Nancy’s house.

More later…..

Tango, a most amiable cat

Tango is large and rangy, with legs like a jack rabbit’s. Her coat is a deep orange with white belly and socks. Her voice squeezes out like this: EEUH, and sounds sad. I try to speak as she does and am rewarded by a startled look. She is also scared, affectionate, and needful. Despite her avoidance of the mole conclave that day by the lemon tree, she has followed the trail to the pet door.

Her appetite is bottomless. I am now purchasing two sacks of cat chow at a time. Of all the chairs there are in the house, she likes to lie on mine at the dining table. When having my breakfast, I must sit on the edge, often on her feet, which she likes. I reach behind and find a nose, a paw, and always a tongue. Even after weeks, she is uncertain of her welcome. She has been sensing my own uncertainty about having her as a frequent visitor, and I know I send out conflicting signals.

I am afraid Pinky might be feeling crowded. Between Tango and Au Au they clean out the food dish, leaving nothing for Pinky. The private food stash in the bedroom is no longer a secret. At night I awaken to crunching noises, Tango’s always louder than Au Au’s. Loaner, having once caught her tail in the pet door, enters the house only if the big door is open. Pinky does not get between the large cats and their food, and she grows so hungry that she has started waking me up at 5:30 for her breakfast. I pull the covers over my head but she is relentless, marching up and down my body, until I surrender at about 6:00.

After she eats, I have my own breakfast, and blearily read the newspaper, unless Tango is sitting on it and rubbing her face against mine. She likes to sample everything I drink, even my tea. Another time, she dipped a paw into my wine and had herself a drop or two. And she is the only cat who will drink from the dish of water I keep next to the food dish. The others go outside to the bird bath, which I must scrub every day.

Tango wishes she had fingers, I know. Her efforts to pick up objects of interest with her paw are futile, and so I help her. I feed her the pumpkin seeds she wants, one at a time, she chomping industriously. Then I discover a small pile of them on my lap. She had been spitting them out of the side of her mouth.

Meow all the way

I would open the front door to admit Loaner for breakfast. She still belonged next door at the time but she was coming to me more and more, beginning with breakfast. And she would follow my car to the garage where I would just happen to have a new-bought supply of shrimp to serve her.

There was usually plenty of shrimp to go around. Pinky, my tortoiseshell, had hers on the kitchen windowsill, where she, canny pussycat that she was, would go to have the treat without interference.

Tango, if he was home at the time, joined in the feast. In Meow’s Way Redux I have chronicled these pussycats and Pinky’s romance with Oliver, a visitor who came everyday in courtship.

I hold Tango and Pinky in memory, where they now repose.

Pussycats

People tell me they won’t have another pet after losing one. That they can’t go through another wrenching event of loss. I could agree, except that I love cats (and all animals) and would be willing to invest again in one or two.

I mourn little all-black Bijou who was hit by a car, and Tango and Mojo who didn’t come home. They loved the outdoors so who am I to deprive them of it?

The memories persist. Bijou liked to sleep under my chin, which inhibited me from reaching for the light switch. Mojo always uttered a meow whenever he came in. Tango always laid himself on my hand in bed for ten minutes before he went to eat. In his grave manner, he observed the rituals of love.

If these traits aren’t close to being human, then I resign from the human race.

LOST KITTY

The last contact I had with him occurred at 1:25 a.m. Saturday when he bounced onto my bed, meowed, and took off again. He is a world traveler, or thinks he is, and at one year he has been ranging farther and farther from home. He will slip outside behind me whenever I go to fetch the morning paper and I have seen him running back to me from across the street. Then there is the cat door leading to the deck and backyard leading to fences leading to other spaces.

There are predators in these hills, bobcats and foxes and coyotes and even raptors from above. There are the usual cars and loose neighborhood dogs.
I knew all this, yet I could no more confine this pussycat spirit than I would have a mountain lion, which also roam hereabouts. Mojo is unlike my big girl Loaner, who is content to remain indoors sleeping or lying in the sun near the lemon tree much as my lost Pinky and Tango used to do. Mojo is Mojo.

I am struggling to speak of him in the present tense though my heart knows otherwise. There is small hope any of the posters I have put up in the neighborhood or the Lost Kitty message on Nextdoor.com, our online network, will produce any results. Why do I continue to seek a broken heart with each new pussycat entity?

Will there be no more toss-and-catch games with his yarn ball? He has brought me gifts in early mornings and I have always been leery of what my hand may encounter when I grope for it in the dark. So far, only pebbles or bark or a large leaf. He has tried to bring in a long stick through the cart door and needed help with it. Like any juvenile, his boisterous play with Loaner has not always been met with appreciation but she always came around. Their naps head to head have made me smile. Humans who have cat companions understand the odd warmth engendered by such a sight.

My chronicle “Mojo’s Way” tells of his beginnings with me and I am so afraid there will be no more to add.