We left off last week in Part 1 at finding why “Alice” was a better name for my friend’s cat. Strange but true first part of this story. Today we delve into the seemingly ordinary events of the second part.
Alice Comes to Live With Devil Child and Me
Ask me if the two Paiwacket kitties were glad to be living together with me. YES‼! Sorry, didn’t mean to yell, but they were absolutely the best of buddies. Being kittens, they got into every mischief imaginable, including scratching the furniture, climbing the pony walls and jumping to the top of the hanging kitchen cabinets where I couldn’t reach them, batting anything they considered battable around the entire apartment (eyeglasses, pens, pieces of unfinished works of literary excellence, scrunched up until further handling was available, chewable grey erasers that apparently reminded them of mice, sparkly earrings…the list is too long). Mommy was not a happy camper.
During the day, Alice would create just as much mischief as Devil Child, but he was much more creative than she was. The beautiful one lived up to her reputation of having as many smarts as a rock. For instance, Alice would arrange his treasures along the mid-height ledge of the pony wall, knowing that Devil Child would trip over them every time and get all confused.
Yet, when the two of them curled up against each other for the night, they looked like an adorable yin yang. I would melt. How can you be annoyed at such loveable little critters?
Night-time Ritual With Alice
Before bedtime, Alice would travel the circuitous route along the pony wall ledge, up on the hanging cabinets, around the top of the kitchen, leap over the space where the door to the hallway was, back onto the pony wall ledge on the west side of the living room, jumping down onto my lap when he reached my chair. There he would sit, purring gently, and communicate with me about how he felt and about love and about what made the world go ‘round.
I felt all this energy envelop me, which was pretty good for such a small cat. It became a ritual, and I just knew trouble was looming. I already loved this cat dearly, more so even than my own cat Devil Child. What was going to happen when Joey came back from Europe to claim his cat?
Where Did the Kitties Go?
As it happened, I didn’t need to worry about Joey coming to pick Alice up.
One evening at kitty supper time, no cats were in sight. What I had foolishly done was loosen the screen at the bottom just enough for two teenage kittens to squeeze through. Since I lived in a semi-basement suite, it was the right height for the cats to get in and out without having to jump. The ground was right close on the outside, and the pony wall was just under the window on the inside. While I was at work during the day, the cats would let themselves out to gambol and play and get their exercise. They would come in the same time each evening for supper, indoor playtime, and bed.
Of course, I would never ever do that now. Because of what happened, I don’t let any animal outside unless they are supervised, even in an enclosed area (this is largely because of what happened with Puff, the giant rabbit, whom we renamed Ker-Puff, but that’s another story), and I never let animals roam free outside the fence.The Trouble With Tar Pits
What I hadn’t taken into consideration was the road repaving taking place on a main city thoroughfare just two blocks away. My apartment neighborhood was peaceful, and I thought it was safe for cats. How wrong I was! I went out that night and called and looked and called and looked. I even went as far as the road project, although I didn’t think they would come this far. Nothing!
Then one night about four days later, Devil Child pulled herself through the window screen and fell onto the floor. She lay there, breathing with difficulty, looking bedraggled, smeared with black tar, and half dead. I called Gail, Paiwacket’s “mom,” who came over right away. She deduced tar poisoning and took Devil Child with her to give her a detergent bath to get rid of the tar. Next day we took the kitten to the vet. He did what he could, but he said Devil Child would never be the same again. She wasn’t, but she did live.
Gail lived on a small acreage outside of town and offered to take the cat. Being a stay-at-home mom, she had no extra time at all, but at least was home all day and could keep a closer eye on the cat. Plus Paiwacket apparently resumed motherly duties in looking after the small, broken, white kitten. I still weep when I think of her.
But Alice? She never came back. Or did she? Read next week’s column to find out what happened to this sweet, tabby kitten.
City pets on the loose are subject to many dangers like open tar pits.
Do you know any stories about just such dangers?
We’d appreciate hearing them.
Just insert your story in the comments section below.
(Next week watch for the final installment –
“Caring for Others’ Pets Temporarily – Part 3
[or Alice Makes a Sweet Angel]”)
Text copyrighted © 2013
by Sandra Bell Kirchman.
Photos copyrighted © as
marked. All rights reserved.
(Vol. 14.9-3, Sept. 28, 2014)