Everything happens for a reason. All my life I’ve heard people say it. I’ve said it myself many times. For the last two+ years I’ve really been saying it. The reason why is right outside my patio window. Half of what was once a trio. Tigger, the big male tabby, is posed out there looking toward the barn. Zoey, the female, the one I rarely let outside, is under the barn and won’t come out. Hence why I rarely let her out. I only let her out this morning because she stopped eating again. Last week when I thought she was at death’s door I let her out to nibble. Fellow cybernytes suggested grass eating is a cat’s delight. I wouldn’t know. I’ve only had two cats my whole life and they were pretty independent.
So, Zoey is under the barn and again I’m asking myself how in the world did I end up with these cats? When I first told people about the three cats I was sitting, the common refrain was, “oh no, not you, Mary.” Yes, it was true. Mary had not one, but three cats. Tigger, Zoey, and the late Cloey. We lost Cloey the first week. She was sick and her owner, technically they’re still not my cats, had her put to sleep. Cloey was Zoey’s only living offspring even though she wasn’t very motherly. Tigger, not Cloey’s daddy by the way, took on the role. While Zoey hid under the bed, Cloey spent the last night of her life kicking Tigger in the head and frolicking on the floor in catnip.
When I got the call to help out, those majestic creatures were being housed in a garage . They were facing eviction. My girlfriend, the same one who talked me into walking, sold me on keeping them. It would only be for a month, she said. Its now going on three years. The owner, a truly lovely person, still isn’t back on her feet. But she loves these cats. When she visits she picks Tigger up and hugs him and kisses him as though he was a child. Last Friday at the vet I was told she kissed Zoey’s forehead and loved on her and even cleaned the gunk from Zoey’s eyes with her bare fingers. Still, the distrustful cat takes off running and hides beneath the bed when ever she shows up.
Who can blame the poor old girl. She’s seen the dark side of human nature and it appears never got over it. You see, Zoey was thrown out of a moving vehicle. God only knows the abuse she suffered before that. This happened a long ten years ago. Zoey’s memory is even longer. To get her out of the dark places where she hid away wasn’t easy. I spent hours with my room door open, lying very quiet and still on my bed to get her to join me. By the time she clawed her way up on the bed my mind and muscles were screaming out for relief. This went on for weeks. Once she started to trust me I continued to let her know she was safe with me.
Tigger is back inside. It’s not even 7:00. The broom is leaning against the wall. Walking across a wet lawn in the gray of dawn feels surreal. I thrust the broom beneath the raised barn, expecting to see Zoey zip across the green. Nothing. Back inside I keep looking over the laptop on the kitchen table. Even Tigger is pissed. Zoey is infringing on his me time. I’m on him to get his butt out there to see to her. Right now he’s lying on his side, head slightly raised, giving me that you must be kidding look. “You are worthless as a penny with a hole in it, man.” My words fall on deaf ears as he eases his head back to the floor.
“Zoey!” I yell not caring if I awakened everyone in the vicinity. The couple next door dog pooped on my lawn the other day. If I woke them up, well, imagine me clapping like a loon. Where in the heck was that darn cat? I wasn’t even planning to write about cats today. It’s like they’re in my soul and I can’t not write about them. Every time I think I have Zoey socialized she pulls a stunt. “Zoey,” I yell. She appears miraculously. The cat’s been inside the entire time. Somehow I’d blinked and not seen her streak back into the house.
As I press her against me thinking, ‘I will personally hand pick her grass next time,’ I notice how light and fragile she is. The vet said she’s okay but she’s turning into fur and bones right before my eyes. She’s due for a follow-up in a couple of weeks. Personally I don’t know what to do except keep loving her and try to keep her safe. I am mere acolyte to both her and Tigger. Apparently here to tell their story in the hope it will make animal lovers of us all. Everything happens for a reason.
Please love a pet today. Too many animals are being abused, abandoned, and killed. Just like with bullying, if you see an animal in trouble, step up and do the right thing.