He was a sad looking little thing, just a bit of gray fur, laying a cage with three other cats at the back of a pet food store. All of them had been either abandoned or born in a ditch somewhere without a chance of living the good life of a pet, or staring in a Broadway musical.
“You don’t want that cat,” said a young woman who noticed me eyeing the animal. “He’s afraid of everything.”
“Oh, I don’t want a cat,” I responded, as she unlocked the cage, “I’m just feeling sorry for them.”
“You can pet them,” she said. “They need to be socialized.”
I reached into the cage and began to stroke the fur of a zonked out black cat. The shy adolescent watched for a few minutes and then he began to inch toward me, hesitating, step by cautious step. I continued to pet the snoozing black cat as if I was unaware of the stealthy approach of the gray fur-ball. It took about five minutes before the scaredey cat’s fox-like face was sniffing my hand. I lifted him up and out of the cage. He nestled in my arms, so soft, so small, so vulnerable, curled up like a squirrel with his fluffy tail covering his face. I gently pushed his paws open to see if he was the kind of cat that would let me cut his nails. He was.
That was it.
I brought that little stray home with me.
At home the kitten quickly darted under the sofa and wouldn’t come out until I began imitating the sounds of a lonely mama cat. “Meow Meow” I repeated over and over in what I hoped was this cat’s language. Eventually, he crept out from under his shelter and I quickly grabbed him. I carried that frightened animal, now named MeowMeow, in my arms all day long, like a baby, talking to him, feeding him with a (silver) spoon, petting him, letting him know he was safe, at last.
That poor little cat-off bonded with me so thoroughly that he now clings to me like an Australian marsupial Koala Bear, literally hugging me, talking to me, retrieving balls of paper for me, and at bedtime waiting for me to swing him by his “arms” feet dangling, while I swing him back and forth.
I am the only person who has ever seen MeowMeow in my home. But for an abundance of cat hair on the furniture and on me, too, one would think I invented him, like Jimmy Stewart (remember him?) in Harvey, a 6'3" white rabbit that only certain people can see.
MeowMeow can be bounding around, talking, at ease, but in a nanosecond, if he hears strange footstep, he disappears. I once found him in the ventilation system where he had hidden for three days when my young grandchildren were visiting.
After my family left, I heard a plaintive cry, followed it to a heat register and there was a paw reaching for help. After tugging him up to daylight around a bend in the heating duct, he dusted himself off and leapt into my arms, not willing to let go even when I type.
My life is littered with litter and rescued cats. Someday, when you have the time to read and weep, I’ll tell you about Merlin, an abandoned black baby kitten I found in Golden Gate Park one frosty morning. She was the most laid-back, sweet, and mystical animal I’ve ever known. Merlin came into my life at a time when I needed her most. I loved her so much, that I was devastated when I lost her.
Animals are mystical creatures, especially cats, I think. They are sensitive, intelligent, great company, and seem to know when we have need of them. They are God’s angels. And they deserve our tender care as much as we need their antics and loving prescience.
Causes Pat Montandon Supports
PETA, Women for Women, Amnesty International, Children as the Peacemakers, Peace to The Planet