Having convinced myself to enter the realm of the independent kitty, I’m going to write for you, for the second time in publication on Planet Earth, the story of Alice.
“Who is Alice?” you might well ask
To fully comprehend the importance of Alice, we have to go back a long way (okay, it was the sizzling seventies) and then back a little further to my group of 20-something and 30-something friends. Gail was the uncontested leader of our group. You know the type…energetic, kind, easy-to-talk-to, domineering in such a way that you eventually came to think it was all your idea. Here’s an example:
Her: “Sandra, luv, think you could use your great decorating skills to dude up the church hall for the bake sale? The early West might be a good theme to showcase what you can do…you have such a talent for it.”
Me: “Hey, that’s a good idea. We could…” And I would dive into an enthusiastic outline of what we could do. I was hooked.
With so many devotees, when it came time for Paiwacket, Gail’s inscrutable, yet loveable cat, to birth her babies, she had no lack of people who wanted, nay, demanded, a Paiwacket kitty. I was no exception.
I picked my kitty from the litter for her looks. Little did I know that all the creation energy went into those looks, and very little was left over for smarts. The name Devil Child suited her because she had two black marks on her otherwise impeccably silver white head and body, which marks looked like small horns. For a while, I was ecstatic to have such a lovely looking cat.
My friend and one of our group was a true hippy-love-child, friends with everyone, free spirit, said what he wanted, and eager to be “one with all things.” True to form, he called his cat Phallus (shudder). His cat was just a plain old tabby with a rather sweet face. I hated the name, but warmed to Phallus’s intelligent and loving personality. Joey would bring his cat over to my place, and the two kittens would happily destroy all the imaginary monsters scuttling around my carpet and under the chairs.
One day, Joey announced he was going to sow some reasonably wild oats in Europe for a while, backpacking around the continent, and would I look after his cat while he was gone. I would indeed.
What? You still don’t know who Alice is?
After Joey left, an awful thought occurred to me. There was absolutely no way I was going to run around the neighbourhood calling that sweet cat to come home by his real name. I just couldn’t do it. The dilemma arose in what to call him. I couldn’t just change the name altogether. It was Joey’s cat and not within my mandate to do something like that. Being a kitty, he would learn whatever I said as his real name and it would be very difficult to change back when Joey returned.
It was at the vet’s office where I had taken the cat for his first shots that the idea hit me.
Girl-at-the-desk: This is the cat’s first time here?
Girl-at-the-desk: And what is his name?
Me: His name? Uh…uh…
Girl-at-the-desk: Do you know his name, miss?
Me: Of course I know his name. It’s…it’s…
Girl-at-the-desk: (tapping pen on desk impatiently)
Me: (blurting out in desperation) It’s Alice!
I sat back triumphantly, having killed two names with one stone. Joey would easily be able to switch back to Alice’s real name because of the similarity of the sound, and I wouldn’t have to stalk the neighbourhood, calling a cat who had a questionable name.
Girl-at-the-desk: This is a male cat?
Her tone implied that I was as thick as two short planks. I gave her my best freezing duchess stare.
Me: Of course he is. You know, you ask some very strange questions.
And that was the end of that. Next week, I’ll tell you about the care, feeding, death and life of Alice, my sweet, temporary cat.
Although this blog is primarily about dogs,
we have a couple of cat lovers who are also
staunch Puppy Dog Tales readers.
This story is for you. You know who you are.
If you have any related cat/kitten stories, we’d love to hear them.
Just insert your tale in the comments section below.
(Watch next week for Part 2 of “Caring for Others’ Pets Temporarily”
– Note: This is, in part, a continuation of the famous story of Alice the Cat.)
Text and photos copyright © 2013 by Sandra Bell Kirchman except as otherwise marked. All rights reserved. (Vol. 14.9-3, Sept. 21, 2014