Quadifarious – Having Four Parts
Our family includes six parts – four parts crazy and two parts staff. For those of you with cats, you will recognize that my husband and I are the staff, graciously employed by the four rather mad rulers:
We were minding our own business, ready to watch a televised road rally, when we heard plaintive cries from the side of the house. After a brief search, we discovered a clean, demonstrative, claw-trimmed kitten wailing from under a bush. Considering his lack of appetite, his impeccably clean fur, and his ready affection, we assumed that he had just escaped the confines of his own home and the supervision of his humans, who were by now desperate for his return. So we called neighbors, hung posters and talked to friends – certain that he would have to be returned to his loving family in short order.
But no calls came. No emails or knocks on the door separated us from this rambunctious kitten. Soon days became months, and as easily as he curled into our arms, Tut became part of our family. Today he is a bit more rotund, and perhaps a little lazier than he was ten years ago, but there is still nothing sweeter than when he crawls into my lap and holds my hand in his paws before laying his head against my arm. And it still makes us grin when the house fills with unmistakable flops and thuds of that silly kitten chasing his beloved bright pink shoelace from room to room.
If you were to ask my husband about Diesel’s arrival, he would roll his eyes and sigh while shaking his head. All I can do is share the true story with you in the hope that my innocence will be proven by the facts.
I was running errands, per normal. During the course of the day, I stopped at the local pet supply store, knowing that adoptable cats and kittens were always strategically placed in a huge cage by the front door. I braced myself, I grasped my succinct list (which did not have ‘kitten’ scrawled on it anywhere) in my steady hand, and bought cat food, litter and a possible toy or three or six.
I petted and smiled at the jet black kitten in the cage as I entered and again as I left the store. I got into my car; dutifully driving away, just as I had a hundred times before.
But my heart was pinched. I was actually teary. I felt deeply pulled – as if I could feel the breaking heart of a kitten.
I shook it off and went who knows where. Shopping, driving – I honestly do not know.
The next thing I do know is that I was signing paperwork, and talking with a pet store employee about borrowing one of their carriers since I didn’t have one with me.
Adopting Diesel was truly not a conscious decision on my part. I had fallen in love with countless puppies, cats, gerbils, bunnies … all kinds of animals in need of a loving home. but I never felt so attached so quickly. And I really have never been so utterly and instantaneously connected that I immediately returned to adopt a kitten, knowing full well that my darling husband would not only be perturbed – he would be angry.
We had three cats already and he had no interest in adding to our zoo. But I was as stubborn as he was mad. For whatever reason, I knew that floppy, lovable, sensitive, oh-so-loud-purring Deezy was supposed to be with us. It was less a choice than a command.
And then came …
It was the best kind of Halloween night, complete with whipping wind and distinct chill. My husband and I were watching thrilling B-grade horror flicks, and as I am wont to do during such exciting films,I began to ‘rest my eyes’.
Suddenly, I heard my husband open the sliding glass door, and in my half-awake, scary-movie brain, all I could think was, ‘What is he doing, opening the door to investigate spooky stuff on Halloween night?’
But investigate we did, only to glimpse the tiniest ball of orange fluff shaking and scampering away from us in the dark. I asked my husband how he ever managed to know there was such a small orphan with such a squeaky cry lost in the wind and spattering rain.
Hmmm … it was Diesel’s doing. Seems that Alan was sitting next to me on the couch, no doubt riveted by the fine acting in the 1950’s gem I was snoozing through, when Deezy began to freak out at the sliding glass door. Alan went outside to look for the culprit – only for us to end up with a wild, spitting, terrified, darling – Jack O’Ween.
OK, so at first Jack was called Typhoid Mary because he shared his feral fleas, worms and ear mites with the population – especially with his bestest pal Diesel. And for the record, we did attempt to present the orange wonder kitty to my son and daughter in law, but knew that we could never separate Diesel (Batman) from Jack (Robin) – so, seven years later, with the help of Diesel, we are absolutely adored by Jackie. He drools when he is happy, and loves bedtime; racing us to the bedroom and crawling under the blankets if given half a chance. He is easily startled, incredibly lovey at night, and enjoys surgically removing the squeakers from his toys.
And Then There Was …
Luna is aptly named. She arrived during a full moon, and she is a lunatic. According to our vet, she does not have any eardrums – but FreakO Kitty hears or feels or senses plenty. Like dry food being shaken in a can, or a shrill whistle to announce that this rare treat will be served to all who race to the kitchen – and she can hear the swish of the water in the spray bottle when she is perched on top of a bookcase, reaching out to ‘adjust’ the large framed pictures on the wall.
She is quite the sweet girl, too. She showed up in the back garage one evening while my husband was working on a car. She just pranced right in, made herself at home, and decided that she had found her human – my soft-hearted husband. She has always absolutely worshiped him – climbing on his lap, talking to him with her odd squeak-mew-barks, but will settle for me when he is not around.
She likes to believe that the other cats live in her house for the sole purpose of being leapt upon, chased or batted, and she is still feral enough to thud her pretty little head against the sliding glass window when a chipmunk ventures into range. She is transfixed by bird videos – this is very helpful when I try to change sheets or work in my office without assistance – and has to supervise during slot car racing, dinner parties, and phone conversations.
We adore our furry royals and truly could not imagine life without them. They make our house a home – and if these phrases sound like cliches, I offer no apology. All I can do is sigh, roll my eyes and grin as I step over a gutted squeaky mouse on my way to the vacuum, petting the purring, swishing darlings as I go.