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Many thanks to cozy mystery author Patricia Fry for the following guest post:
Daisy and Katy: The Kittens Who Learned to Love
From Catscapades, True Cat Tales
By Patricia Fry
It was love at first sight. I wasn’t in the market for another cat. In fact, I’d considered adopting a dog. Now that I lived alone, I yearned for some canine companionship. But it seemed cruel to bring home a dog and then abandon him every day while I worked in town.
Maybe the kinder choice was to find a playmate for my calico cat, Daisy. Was that rational, I wondered? Or was my heart trying to justify buying the kitten I held in my hands.
It was kismet; I know it was. Why else would I walk into a pet store at the mall on that day — the very day that an adorable Himalayan kitten was on exhibit? The universe knows that I’m drawn to Persian-types and God knew that I was especially vulnerable to all things cute and cuddly. Besides, if it wasn’t meant to be, why did a clerk walk up to me while I was admiring this beautiful kitten in the cage and ask, “Do you want to hold her?”
That was a first! Usually, it’s “Hands off!” and “Don’t tap on the glass.”
“Yes,” I said with more enthusiasm than, perhaps, was becoming of a middle-aged woman. But it didn’t matter. I was going to get to hold a kitten!!!
The adorable fur ball relaxed into the contour of my hands exposing her pink belly. She’s so trusting, I thought. She looked me over and then she rolled her head back and began to watch the activity around us from upside down. I giggled. “How cute.” When it was time to return her to the cage, I simply couldn’t. I held the little body close to my chest, walked approached the counter and told the clerk, “I need a portable cat carrier and some kitten food.”
After I handed her my check, the clerk produced the kitten’s registration papers. “You mean she’s royalty?” I asked. More accurately, the four-month-old Himalayan was a very expensive remainder leftover from a kitten mill in Missouri. She wasn’t show or breeding quality. While I had neither in mind, I now realize that by purchasing this kitten, I took part in promoting a kitten mill. Part of me is still ashamed and the other part can justify it by viewing it as a rescue. I mean who else would pay $400 for a cat that you can’t show? And, as it turned out, she couldn’t breed, either.
Before Katy, as I called her, was old enough to spay, she developed a serious infection and had to have her uterus removed. Had someone bought her to breed, what would have happened to this lovely cat? With me she lived halfway through her eighteenth year in a safe and loving environment.
Daisy was about eight months old when I brought Katy home. It became immediately obvious that Daisy disapproved of my snap decision for she promptly reduced the younger kitten to dust-ball status. Every time Katy poked her little brown face out from under a piece of furniture, Daisy chased her underneath another. I managed to coax little Katy out to play or to cuddle only when Daisy was sleeping or outside chasing bugs.
Past experiences taught me that, when left to their own devices, cats usually work out their differences. But after three weeks, Katy was still being treated like an ugly stepchild.
And then one night it happened. Katy mustered up enough courage to join Daisy and me on the bed. She must have found her way into the bedroom and clawed her way up the quilt while I was asleep, but I wasn’t asleep for long. It was the unlikely sound of growling and yowling that awakened me. I opened my eyes and there, toward the foot of the bed, were the two kittens, one lying on each side of my legs.
As I watched, Daisy smacked Katy twice on top of the head with her paw. And Katy, her ears flat back and her eyes tightly closed raised one paw and slapped the air a few times in the direction of the calico. The growling sounds accelerated with each blow.
I was glad to see that the cats were dialoguing, but their timing was awful. I had a rare pounding headache and was more interested in a peaceful night’s sleep than in refereeing a pawing match.
“Stop it!” I demanded. But the growling only became more shrill and my head was absolutely pounding. I had to get some sleep. Where oh where was the harmony I craved? Suddenly, I remembered a technique that, if it worked, would grant both of my wishes.
I began visualizing universal love in the form of pink light flowing into each kitten and from one to the other. I pictured the two of them playing and adventuring together and becoming great companions. I knew this was unorthodox, but without it, I had nothing. And what could it hurt? We already have discord—things could only get better. Or so I hoped.
While I believe in the power of the mind and the gifts of the universe, I was nonetheless surprised when suddenly the growling stopped. Had the disgruntled twosome left the room to carryon their quarrel elsewhere? I sighed deeply and raised up on one elbow. A sense of peace filled my soul. There, still lying in battle position were the two kittens. But now they were relaxed—each with her little head resting on her respective paws. My heart was full as I, too, fell willing victim to slumber.
Hours later, rays of sunshine danced across the pastel quilt where the kittens had slept. But they were gone. My heart sunk with precognitive visions of Katy under the sofa and Daisy guarding her escape. I slipped out of bed into the closest pair of slippers and padded down the hallway. As I turned the corner into the kitchen, I thought I was still in a dream state. For there, before my sleepy eyes, were both kittens—furry cheek to furry cheek sharing kibbles from the same bowl. And would you believe, I never heard a harsh yowl from either of them for the rest of their long and peaceful lives?
From that day on, the two former foes spent their days sharing things—toys, meals, the sofa cushions, a window sill, patches of warm morning sunlight and even an occasional grooming. Where Daisy was, you’d find Katy and, of course, the reverse was true.
I always thought these two feline beauties shared equally, but a time came when I realized how much Katy relied on the slightly older cat. Daisy was only about five years old when her immune system mysteriously crashed. The second opinion as grim as the first, there seemed nothing we could do but help her to die. To try to save her could have meant a slow, torturous death for Daisy. Our difficult decision to end the life of such a young cat impacted all of us, but most of all Katy.
Katy knew that something was wrong when we came home without Daisy. She searched for her friend and she called for her. Sometimes she just sat and waited. She didn’t play. Nor did she care too much about eating. And she no longer seemed to enjoy some of her favorite things — sitting on the window sill watching the birds feed, stretching out on the carpet in a streak of sunlight or lounging on the sofa cushion where she and Daisy liked to curl up together.
Three days after Daisy died, Katy still seemed despondent. “I think she’s confused,” I said to Dennis one day. “She doesn’t know what happened to Daisy. She needs closure.” That afternoon, I sat down with Katy and told her, through mind pictures or visualization that Daisy had died. Because I believe that animals understand the natural process of death and dying, I felt it was important to “tell” Katy what happened to her friend. And she must have comprehended because she stopped searching and calling for Daisy. She pretty much resumed her daily routine, except for one thing.
The devotion she had for Daisy was now directed toward me. Every waking moment was spent close to me. She wanted more petting. She tolerated more grooming. And she began to sleep next to me on my pillow. If she lay next to me on the sofa, she always had one paw touching me. She was with me when I worked, while I ate, when I was dressing, while folding clothes or when cleaning house. Wherever I was, there was Katy.
After Dennis came into our lives, he liked to stay up late and watch TV. And sometimes she wanted to stay up later, too. But she always tucked me in, first. She’d walk with me into the bedroom as usual, watch as I prepared for bed and even stretch out with me on the bed for a few scant minutes. But if she wasn’t quite ready for bed, she’d slip out of the room and join Dennis for a few more hours of television before settling down into slumber with me for the night.
Over the years, we brought in a few other cats and kittens. Most of them stayed, but Katy didn’t become attached to any of them. I was Katy’s everything and she was always there for me. She remained true when I uprooted us during my divorce. She lay beside me when I cried myself to sleep. She offered comfort when I was sick and she helped me to put things in perspective when life became overwhelming. She was there during joyous times as well as sad times—always constant, always devoted. I don’t know if I’ve ever loved a cat more than I loved Katy and I’m pretty sure that none has ever loved me as much.
Patricia Fry is the mom to two sweet kitties — Lily, 8 and Sophie, 11. She’s the author of the Klepto Cat Mysteries — cozy mysteries with cats. Learn more about the books and Patricia here: http://www.KleptoCatMysteries.com. Follow her daily Catscapades blog: http://www.matilijapress.com/Catscapades