Saturday, May 9, 2009

What goes around....


I begged my parents for a cat when I was ten. Actually, I just increased my begging--I’d wanted a cat for years. I also begged for a horse...probably the reason I finally got a cat.

My dad set specific criteria, hoping I wouldn’t find a cat who met them. It had to be a female, it had to be Siamese, it had to be short-haired and it had to be a kitten. Never underestimate a child who loves animals…

We were stationed at Edwards AFB, so the feline pool was limited, but I searched the base paper religiously, finally finding her. I named her Duchess, she was half Siamese and she wreaked havoc on my family for the next 19 years.

Her Siamese yowl woke half the neighborhood when she snuck out of the house at night. She climbed neighbors’ trees and rooftops, yowling because she could never climb back down. She shredded furniture, sprayed urine in the house when she was angry and absolutely refused to be an indoor cat, tearing apart screens and windowsills to get outside.

Her saving grace? My undying devotion (my parents didn’t want to break my heart), and the fact that she was irrepressibly lovable. She liked to suck on your hand or arm, like a nursing kitten. She’d purr, knead, purr…eventually curling up to sleep in your lap like a normal, sane cat. Those moments saved her life…

I understand now the huge thanks I owe my parents for suffering the wrath of Duchess, because two years ago I was blessed with Neo. I’ve mentioned him before…his name is often on the tip of my tongue...pronounced differently depending on the circumstances.

Neo started life with my niece, methodically shredding his way through her apartment. By the time we got him at four months of age, he had quite a rap sheet, but I’m a sucker for cats needing homes.

Although he lacks the Siamese yowl, he is Duchess reincarnated—my house has permanent marks proving it. Neo is also irrepressibly lovable, evident in my daughter’s undying devotion. We once discussed sending him to my youngest brother’s farm—M’s tears on his behalf quickly changed our minds.

Turns out we all dearly love him…he recently disappeared for two days, and instead of relief, we felt terror. My husband finally found him, bloody and bruised—he’d fought something bigger and stronger, losing part of his upper lip in the process.

We risk losing fingers giving him daily medication, but he’s happy to be home destroying our living room rug. He also refuses to stay in the house…either he’s undeniably brave or he was born with short-term memory issues. That would explain his look of shock every time I yell at him for shredding the carpet… No matter what, he’s here to stay, and I’m sure I have at least 17 years to embrace that idea…

2 comments:

tournesol said...

I really enjoyed your story. I could also really relate. We have the same situation with my son's dog, who has destroyed too many things to count, including chewing through the seatbelts in my car when we left him for 10 minutes to get something out of the house. We joke about leaving the front door open all the time, but know that son would be broken hearted and so his little dog remains.

Reverie said...

Maybe there should be a support group for parents like us! The Beasts' chewing rampages mellowed after age two...I hope the same happens for your dog :)