On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

Published in the Rains County Leader June 7, 2016:

Kitty Cake

If I were more creative in the kitchen…


At some point during the last few weeks, Kitty celebrated her first birthday. I really shouldn’t say she celebrated since we didn’t think about it until we stopped by the vet’s office. We needed some Revolution to deal with the fleas she has been bringing into the house – at least the ones that stay on her. We’ll have to bomb the house to deal with the rest of them. The first time we took her to see the vet, he estimated her age based on her weight. Last week their records showed her as one year and one month old. That would make her birthday May 7, give or take a week.

I wrote my first column about Kitty for the June 16 edition last year. It was interesting to go back and see how much has changed since then. Here are a few then and now comparisons:

Kitty 061515Then: We heard the sound of rustling leaves near the porch, and out strolled a kitten, meowing at the top of its little lungs.

Now: Kitty is relatively soft spoken now, confining her remarks to purrs, chirps, and an occasional quiet meow. She does, however, express her displeasure very effectively with a quick swipe of her paw or a flash of her teeth.

Then: She was mostly skin and bones…[not] much more than a ball of black fur with Kitty in the Light 043016four little legs tipped with white socks and a little white patch on one side of her nose.

Now: She has filled out from a scrawny four to five ounces to a healthy ten pounds. Her thin, spiky fur has been replaced with a full, sleek coat that looks beautiful on her but not so much on the carpet.

Then: I brought home some regular milk. She showed a little more interest in that, but she was so little she didn’t seem to know how to lap it up.

Now: She has obviously overcome any eating difficulties she had a year ago. She is a good eater and has developed none of the picky habits cats are famous for. A friend whose cat disappeared gave us some canned cat food, but she licked it a bit before pushing it out of the bowl onto the floor and turning her attention to her IAMs kibble.

Then: David turned an empty plastic trash can on its side to provide a little more shelter from future downpours.

Now: She has a three-story carpeted Kitty condo and more toys than any one cat needs, and we have rearranged the living room furniture to meet her requirements.

Kitty Condo 043016Then: Since then…she’s become quite adventurous. She followed David to the compost pile, and she trotted over to the garden to meet the neighbor who was walking his two dogs.

Now: She is still adventurous, but she stays close enough to the house to run for cover if she comes under attack by a roving feral cat. She has become quite the hunter, though. Several times recently she has come home with legs hanging out of her mouth. Once it was a salamander, but when she put it down on the porch to play with it, it slipped through a crack between the boards. Now she sticks to frogs.

Then: She was as cute as any of the feline pictures on Facebook, but David and I agreed we didn’t want a house cat… So far, we’re just calling her Kitty – I think we’re still in denial about having adopted a cat. There are six steps up to our porch, and Kitty has figured out how to climb as far as the second step. It won’t be long before she finds her way up to the porch. Then, we’ll see how long our resolve not to have a house cat lasts.

Now: For any regular readers of my column, there is no question about how this worked out. She is now an official member of the Brendle household. She’s not yet trusted with unlimited access when we’re not home, but her privileges continue to expand. She has captured our hearts – and in answer to a question asked by my cousin, we don’t mind at all being owned by a cat. Happy Birthday, Kitty.



winding road Cover 25 percent

A LONG AND WINDING ROAD: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love, and Chaos

Available in paperback and digital versions.

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