Created Monday, 25 April 2011 14:39

Moo the Closet Cat

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When my younger sister's parakeet, known as Bird - my sister did not have much of an imagination when it came to naming her pets - was accidentally killed, my father immediately took Pip to the pet store to find a replacement parakeet. My sister, sniffling slightly, returned from the pet store, having selected from their parakeet stock the plainest, gawkiest, motley-ist parakeet in the lot. He was so ugly and awkward, my sister explained, that no one would ever pick him out and take it home, and so she felt sorry for him. She named him BT, which stood for Bird Two, and although he did fill out a little as he matured - he remained rather plain and gawky.

My daughter feels the same way, about animals. Some years ago, a void in the catosphere had opened at my parent's house with the death from extreme old age of their very elderly Siamese. They had indicated a willingness to have a pair of kittens, and from a shelter - so my daughter, who was then stationed at Camp Pendleton, had volunteered go through the shelters for them. She eventually did find a likely pair - but the one cat that she felt the sorriest for, during her search - was a particular older cat. This cat was some years old; and his owner had died. No one among the friends and family wanted this poor cat, and so it had finished up at the shelter. It was a very nice no-kill shelter . . . but this poor cat just curled up miserably in the corner of the cage; wouldn't respond to overtures from any other animal or human. It's Human had gone away, and it had been exiled from a familiar home and routine, and didn't know why. My daughter said that it seemed this cat had just given up on everything. Likely, it would not be adopted because it wasn't appealing, or cute or young . . .

So, at the beginning of the year, while I was in California helping my mother deal with the loss of my father, an acquaintance of my daughters' wanted to get a Yorkie pup. This acquaintance already had a cat, called Moo, for no other reason than she is brown on white, rather like a cow. Moo is ten, declawed, near to blind, not of a particularly easy-going nature . . . and did not take to the Yorkie pup. The acquaintance decided unilaterally that Moo should go, and the sooner the better. And my daughter knew very well that a ten-year old, declawed, almost blind and relatively unfriendly cat would not fare very well at a shelter. So . . . We got another cat. Moo has mellowed a bit with us: she purrs when we cuddle her, a great improvement on the first couple of weeks when she would snarl and bite. Unfortunately, she gets along about as well with our other cats as she did with the Yorkie pup . . . so she lives in the master-suite bathroom and walk-in closet, with her very own dedicated cat-basket, food, water and litter pan. It's working out pretty well - I certainly don't need to worry about mice in that part of the house, or palmetto bugs, either. But the last time I said - absolutely no more cats, it lasted eight months before we had another cat. Sigh.

Written By Julia HaydenWriter and memoirist, dreamer and adventurer, storyteller and gardener, mother and military veteran, Julia Hayden often writes under the pen name of Celia Hayes and lives in San Antonio, Texas.

She writes of the past as a means of exploring who we are, of honoring our unknown heroes and heroines, in order that we may appreciate the present which they built for us... and that we may use their lives as a guide for our own future.