Sunday, May 17, 2009

Tales of the Kitty

A hed that should be followed by a TK, for 'to come.'

Sometime this summer or fall, probably after E. gets back from her semi-annual trek to Florida to give a break to the sister who watches over Moms Landrith, we will get that basket of kittens we have been talking about ever since Oliver died in bed beside me during her Xmas trek.

I'd like a couple kittens with attendant mom. I want kittens one more time, but I dislike creaming off the cute and fuzzy and leaving mom to be executed. It's rather like what happened in Argentina when the junta killed the lefties and took their babies for adoption into their own homes.

So it will be a package deal, one last sequence of cats owned from cradle to tomb. And after that? Let's imagine we live another 20 years in decent health, sanity and finance. That's the point we'll go catless to the pound and ask for an older cat who's moments away from death. So we die in our sleep six months later? Kitty can lick our faces and then eat our noses until someone checks us out -- if anyone ever does.

Kitties have moved to the top of my Thought Queue because Brother Michael Tola pointed me at this story in the Chronicle about a vet who runs a cat shelter for cats too mangy or sick or irritable to be adopted -- to be *immediately* adopted. But a little TLC, and here's your baby.

I'm stupid about cats. It would be better if I were stupid about Rwanda or Somalia, but you can't always choose your stupid. I won't consider going to that apparently hilarious and provocative Berkeley Rep comedy The Lieutenant of Inishmore because cat murder is what drives the plot, and apparently faux dead cats are a key prop.

What will we name our new cats? It's not like naming babies, where you plan ahead. I'm not saying the cat brings its name with it, but it brings its unique catness, and in the moment catness connects with circumstance, producing a name.

Back in '71 Marty Loftis told us about a dream she had. I think it was Winn-Dixie or maybe Piggly-Wiggly -- proud regional grocery chains -- that was running a 'name the elf mascot' contest, the winner of which contest would get free groceries, always valuable to young academics.

Marty had a midnight inspiration, jumped up and wrote the inspiration down (as one should). In the morning she examined what would, she had been so certain, would be the prizewinner.


She told us the story, and thus Kitty Beanscorn got his name. It was 35 years ago, give or take a month, that he was run over in front of our house on Dogwood Lane in Raleigh, North Carolina, dragged himself 20 feet into the neighbors yard and died. Which is where I found him, still (as in quiet) in the grass.

Give me five minutes to recall that day to E.'s memory, and I bet I can make her cry, if only by example.
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