On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…


Kitty is definitely getting her winter coat – and yes, she is in the house – but that’s a story for another post.

Published in the Rains County Leader on November 24, 2015:

The Rains County Friends of the Library invited me to come to their monthly meeting and talk a bit about both my book and about writing a newspaper column. In answer to how I deal with a weekly deadline, I told them that some weeks I stare at a blank screen and wonder how I’ll come up with 800 words, give or take a few. Other weeks life gives me more ideas than I can use. This was one of those weeks with lots of ideas, but I finally decided it was time for another Kitty story.

Kitty has a couple of feline acquaintances who like to hang out at our place. One is a timid ginger cat who seems mostly interested in a free meal, but the other is an aggressive gray tom whose mission in life seems to be to make Kitty’s life miserable. I think he may be the main reason she spends so much time in the trees.

One afternoon I looked out the window and saw both Kitty and the


This isn’t Kitty, but the pose is familiar.

gray tormentor up in the branches, and he looked as if he was still pursuing her. I stepped out on the porch, and it startled him so much he fell out of the tree. He hadn’t used up all his lives, though, because he hit the ground running and was gone in a flash. A few days later I saw a gray blur flash by the dining room window and realized he had chased her under the RV. Like any protective father would do when his little girl is threatened, David grabbed his shotgun. Actually, it was his BB gun, but it didn’t matter since the cat was gone before he had a chance to take aim.

While we were out of town last month, two of our neighbors tag-teamed to see that Kitty had fresh food and water each day, and both mentioned seeing the two visitors lurking around. Since we weren’t in residence, they seemed to be more brazen about showing their faces, and there seemed to be a bit of a turf war going on. Two Saturdays ago, David heard the sounds of a cat fight, and I ran out to see if Kitty needed reinforcements. Her opponent had disappeared, but she was still in full fight or flight mode. Every hair on her body was standing on end, and when I accidentally brushed her tail, she growled and hissed and arched like a Halloween cat. I tried to coax her into the laundry room, but she wasn’t trusting anybody, so I left her outside on her own.

Sunday afternoon was a different story. I went out on the porch to check her food and water, and she met me there. She was still a little skittish, but she looked from me to the door and back to me. Then, she sat down and said, “MEOW!” She doesn’t say much, but when she does, she means it. I asked if she wanted to go inside, and she replied by rubbing against my leg. She spent the night in the laundry room.


Again, not Kitty, but that’s how she looked.

We were house/cow/dog sitting the next week, so Monday we packed Kitty in the car along with other necessities for the next few days. When we arrived at Spike’s house and let her out in the garage, she wouldn’t put any weight on her back right foot. We put her back in her carrier and headed for the vet, and poor Spike couldn’t figure out why we came and went without petting, feeding, or untethering him.

When we told the vet she had been in a fight two days before, he took one look at her leg and said she had been bitten, and it was abscessed. I’m not sure how he could tell since her fur was fluffed up again, but I had seen his degrees on the wall, so I took his word for it. He started off talking about lancing and putting in a drain, but I was relieved when he said that would be his second choice. First he wanted to try an injection of antibiotic and another of anti-inflammatory. He must have had a gentle touch, because Kitty didn’t complain when he gave her the shots, and by the end of the day, she was putting her foot down a little.

By the end of the week, she was back to normal, and when we


This isn’t me either, but the expression was the same!

returned home, she seemed ready for a romp outside. I haven’t seen the other cats since we came back, but we’ve been feeding Kitty inside to hopefully cut down on the temptation. She’s still not a real inside cat, but she has been spending most evenings in the laundry room. First, she’s protected from both predators and the cold weather, and second, until someone comes up with health insurance for cats, we can’t afford any more emergency runs to the vet.



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

Available in paperback and digital versions.

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