Bill has often touted the therapeutic effects of owning a good cat. Since the loss of my good dog Buck, he has commented that I should run right out and find myself a cat. Like yesterday. The thing is, I am married to Tim. Tim is a strict believer that animals live outside and people live inside. I'm not a fan of this plan.
In any case, we have a friend. Karen has probably the most tender heart of anyone I know. This is why she has nine cats. These cats come to her. I imagine that there is a kitty radar thing going on, that word has gotten out in the local kitty population, so when a cat is in trouble or needs assistance, he hies himself to Karen's house, where he is promptly taken in, hauled to the vet to be spayed and neutered, and then lives a life of relative ease in her big house. Now, if you prescribe to Bill's theory, anyone with nine cats should be so calm that they can barely rise from the chair, but Karen? She's not that calm. She's a lot like me. We are the master of the bug-eyed, panicked look. That's us. It's what we do.
But I digress.
Today is Karen's birthday. (Happy Birthday, Karen! *waves wildly*). She has people to watch her animals while she is gone off to Nashville to visit her son (hi Tyson! *waves wildly*). There are the two cats with spinal bifida. There are old cats. Young cats. Cats that get along, cats that don't get along, cats that hold their own in kitty conflicts, and cats that can't. She said, despairingly, 'I cannot expect people to remember who gets along with who, or who lives where...' This is how it has come to be that we have a guest in our house. We have Buster, her laundry room cat.
Buster is a tuxedo cat who has managed to charm the socks off two out of three people in this house. (Tim is still holding out. Cara and I have succumbed). His ears are 'funny' because he came to Karen in the middle of last winter, pitiful and half frozen. The vet had to cut away his frostbitten ears. Now Buster came to us with a list of instructions. Karen worried terribly that he might go outside and be eaten by coyotes, a fate that regularly befalls cats in our neck of the woods. Truth be told, we were concerned about this thing as well. Buster is, after all, a town cat. They are different from country cats, because, well... you know...a country cat can survive.
Well, anyways, so we've got Buster, and we've been taking good care of him. He's fed and he's watered, and he's been studying this new bunch he's living with. He seemed fairly quiet in his quiet, studying cat way, but then the weather got warm, and we threw open the windows in celebration. He took to sitting on the hope chest at the top of the stairs watching the backyard intently through the screen, his head popping left and right, his tail twitching, his stubby half ears wheeling around as he watched the birds and the chipmunks. After a couple hours of this, he exploded in frustration, and came flying down the stairs, leapt upon the counter (taboo!) sending dishes and an open container of cinnamon flying. I screeched and he tried to change direction. I caught the glass bowl before it tumbled from the edge of the counter. This was only day two of his stay, and I knew that he had to go outside for a while, because Lord knows, if Tim saw him acting like that, he'd kill him for sure. The coyote threat was still simply a possibility. So I popped him unceremoniously out the back door and he sat on the deck in delight. He roamed around the yard. He explored the garden shed. And then he came back inside. He went out a bit later. He came in a little after that. He went back out, and then, he came back in, and then...well...you get the picture.
Anyway, in the midst of all the in and out stuff, Buster has become a happy kitty, a lap kitty, a purring kitty. I can see that Bill was correct, that a good cat can have a calming effect on a person.
But I have to go. Buster wants back out.