On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

How did you get up there, Kitty?

How did you get up there, Kitty?

My blogs have been relatively serious the last two weeks, but several people have asked me about Kitty, so it’s time for an update. Besides, she has provided some very good writing material.

First things first – her name is officially Kitty. We took her to the vet for her first shots, and when the receptionist asked for her name, David and I hesitated. “Shall I just put ‘Stray Cat’?” she asked. We couldn’t have that, so we quickly agreed that Kitty would work for all of us.

The patient was fairly well behaved on the examining table, especially after the nurse gave her a wadded up piece of paper

Kitty is the little black blob  just above the center of the picture.

Kitty is the little black blob just above the center of the picture.

to bat around. She didn’t appreciate some of the invasive tests and the shot, but she recovered her good nature quickly enough. She weighed in at 1.4 pounds, but the vet pronounced her healthy, and the way she has been eating, I expect her weight to have doubled by the time we take her back for a rabies shot this week.

She is still an outside cat, but we visit her frequently. She entertains us by racing up and down the steps, hopping after

grasshoppers and crickets, and fighting with any stray twig or dry leaf that crosses her path. Sometimes, she stops long enough to allow us to scratch her ears, but she only stays for a few seconds before dashing off to battle some imaginary enemy. At one point, David wondered if she might need a scratching post, but she has discovered the bark of tree will do nicely. She has also discovered her climbing skills and frequently scrambles up a foot or two before jumping back down.

Jump, Kitty. I'll catch you!

Jump, Kitty. I’ll catch you!

The first time I watched her climb, I had a feeling her adventuresome spirit might lead to trouble. She proved me right, and rather quickly. Last week, David went out one morning to feed her. She didn’t come when he called, so he looked under the motor home and the car, her latest hangouts. She wasn’t there, but he could hear her meowing. Finally, he looked up, and there she was, forty feet up in a tree with no idea how to get down.

I noticed him looking for her and stepped out on the porch to see if I could help. He pointed up, and I saw her huddled in the fork of two small limbs, wailing almost as pitifully as the first day she wandered out from under the steps. I grabbed a laundry basket, David lined it with an old rug from the shed, and we stood under the tree, trying to coax her down. She would move a few inches one way or the other, and then scoot back to where she felt safe. Finally, she walked out on a small branch that extended toward the house.

“I think she’s over the roof,” David said. “I’m going to get the ladder and climb up there. Maybe she’ll jump to me.”

Let's get rid of those fleas!

Let’s get rid of those fleas!

I strained to see her among the leaves and tried to hold the basket directly under her. I heard rustling, and suddenly, I saw two little back feet suspended in mid-air.

“Hurry!” I yelled. “I think she’s losing her grip.”

Before the words were out of my mouth, a little black and white fur ball streaked down directly into the center of the waiting

basket. Two huge eyes peeked up over the edge, and I heard her purring like crazy. If she could have spoken, I think she would have said, “Wow! Let’s do that again!”

How humiliating!

How humiliating!

Later that day, since the ladder was already out, David used it to complete the installation of a window unit in our bedroom. He decided to leave the ladder out, just in case he needed to do some additional caulking, and it was still there on Sunday. After church, he took Kitty some milk while I prepared lunch. He found her sitting on top of the ladder, singing her plaintive song. As he walked toward her, she tried to come down on her own, and she tumbled all the way to the bottom. This time, there was no basket waiting to catch her.

Kitty has experienced some other traumas, like a bath to hopefully remove some of the fleas that find her particularly tasty,

This part isn't too bad.

This part isn’t too bad.

and an unexpected encounter with the septic system sprinklers, but none have been as dramatic as her climbing incidents. She doesn’t seem to have suffered any permanent damage, but if I’m counting correctly, she’s down to seven lives.



winding road Cover 25 percentA LONG AND WINDING ROAD: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love, and Chaos

Available in paperback .

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Available in ebook.

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