In the year 1 B.C. ( Before Cats...) my soon-to-be husband, Tom, and I lived in a section of our college town that was called the Hippie Ghetto, in a rather dubious apartment in a former bachelor officers' quarters building popularly known as the House of Usher -- mostly because it appeared to be ready to fall down at any time. Its main advantage was that it was cheap, close to work, and, miraculously, did keep the rain off our heads.
At that time, we had no cats, but did have my husband's reticulated python, Cecil, who lived in a comfy terrarium. Granted, the snake wasn't terribly cuddly, and certainly didn't purr, but she was a good six feet long, and I'm convinced she was the main reason we never got broken into while we lived there -- Tom would take her out for walks around the neighborhood, and I guess he was pretty impressive looking with Cecil riding comfortably on his shoulder.
One day, I needed to swing by one of the local pest control places to buy a rat for Cecil -- one of the unfortunate facts of snake ownership is that they don't eat Purina Snake Chow; they need live food. Well, the people there also had a mama cat and some kittens -- "free to a good home". Hmmm... well, if he could have a snake, I didn't see why I couldn't have a cat -- I mean, cat food was no more expensive than buying a rat... needless to say... "Could I have the black one??" Yes, my love for black cats goes a LONG way back..!
Tom was a bit dubious at first, but was soon overcome by the the cuteness, LOL! He'd never met a cat up close and personal; and so Asmodeus became part of our household. Asmo was, more properly, a tuxedo cat, with white bib and gloves.
In all fairness, HE brought home the next feline waif -- ANOTHER black cat he named Mephisto, having just seen a movie called "The Mephisto Waltz". At this point, we felt our menagerie was complete ... we didn't exactly have a very, very fine house, but we did have two cats in the yard, and a snake in the bedroom for good measure...
You KNOW how this is going down, right? One day, we came home from work to discover that someone had DUMPED a very Persian-looking mama cat and kitten in our neighborhood. We were agreed that we did NOT need any more animals, and actively encouraged our neighbors to adopt the furry newcomers. The mama cat went to live with our upstairs neighbors but there was still the kitten to be accounted for. Yes... I admit it -- I took handfuls of cat crunchies and walked down to our neighbor's house down the way a few feet and put them on their doorstep in an effort to get that cute little black fuzzball convinced that she wanted to live there, and not with us.
She wasn't having any of it, and knew perfectly well where that cat food was coming from, since she'd followed me over to the neighor's doorstep, and back again after she'd finished her crunchies -- and then climbed our screen door, mewing for more. Well, we were also trying discourage this screen-climbing thing, so we clapped our hands and tried to shoo her back over to the neighbors. Finally, Tom lost patience, and threw some water at her. She ran off, but was back again a few minutes later, clinging to the screen door and mewing ... and now she was wet, too.
There is nothing more pathetic than a wet cat.. especially a long-haired wet cat... most especially a long-haired wet cat that's no more than a double handful ... We looked at each other, sighed, plucked that sodden kitten off our door, brought her inside and dried her off. Isis was home...!
Isis lived to be almost 21. She had a liaison with the neighbor's Persian cat, a HUGE silver tabby named Donnybrook, and had one litter of kittens; Persephone, who stayed with us because we didn't think anyone would want her- we had no idea that funny-looking mottled brown kitty would turn out to be a glorious tortoiseshell lady cat; and another black fuzzball that was named Sabbath by his new people.
Art: Marjorie Skiba
About the Author:
Athena lives in Florida with her three cats. She enjoys poking around online, being cat furniture and making jewelry.
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