Tuesday, October 16, 2007

satan kitty

John and I looked into the cage at the six virtually identical black kittens. They were tiny, just barely one pound each. They all had green eyes and silky black fur. The attendant told us that they were all little girls, and speculated that both parents were in all likelihood solid black as well. They were alternately sleeping and playing. I picked one up and held her in my hand. She peeped contentedly- "mew..mew..". So tiny and innocent.

John picked one up and she ran up his sweater sleeve and began biting him on the arm. It was at that moment that I realized that not all kittens were the same. We took detailed notes on each one.

John and I had been together almost four years, the first two in Chicago where I lived and he was working on location making television, and the next two long distance when I transferred to Los Angeles and he remained with the show. We had grown apart during that time. We had both been used to certain freedoms during the two years which were now difficult to reconcile. John began dropping hints about bath houses. It was obvious that he wanted more freedom. He would soon have it.

John was concerned that I would be lonely after his departure. In all honestly, I had been so for the prior two years, but it was nice of him to at least notice. His solution was for me to get a cat. I wanted a dog, but my frantic work schedule made that impractical. I was at an impasse.

For my birthday, John gave me an "Everything But The Cat" kit. Food, dishes, litter box, play toys, even a carrying box. There was a label on the side of the box- "Kitten Not Included". That we had to provide ourselves, which is why we found ourselves at the Malibu Animal Shelter on a Saturday morning staring into a cage full of black kittens.

In Los Angeles County, you are not allowed to adopt black kittens in the month of October. I don't think I have to go into too much detail here, except to say that I was left a one day window to choose what could prove to be a companion for years to come. Not like there's pressure or anything.

Cut to the chase- the last day to adopt the little black kittens was Monday. I had an advertising meeting at 10, after which I drove to Malibu. When I arrived, a young woman was leaving with a black kitten in her grasp. I looked into their cage and there was just one bewildered kitten left, looking very scared. I checked her collar tag and referred to my notes:


Yep, the little arm biter. John had liked her best, saying that she would have personality. I agreed, and then mused, so did Lizzie Borden. Well, I said to myself, I have come all this way for a cat, and technically, this IS a cat. I scooped up the little dragon and headed for the exit.

By the time I got to the car, I named the little fluff ball Serena, figuring that she would either turn out to be tranquil and calm, or Samantha in a black wig. I do not have to tell you which way it turned out.

She did not like the car ride. At all. She howled for most of the way home. Thirty-Eight miles, as a matter of fact. LOUDLY. By the time I got home, I began to wonder if I had made a most grievous error. Then we got inside the house and she stopped crying. I sat her upon my lap where she promptly fell asleep. This was my cat, all one-point-one pounds of her.

This post commemorates our eleventh year together. I can't imagine being without her. I've made her promise that she will live to be forty.

Happy Birthday, Pumpkinbunny. Daddy loves you.

Now stop chewing on my wrist.


Doralong said...

Aww.. look at the little sweetie. What, no big girl pictures?? What gives?

Critters are the best! 27 years ago the first gift the Beast gave me was a puppy- we had her for 16 years and she was the best gift I've ever gotten. Ours is a house than always needs a dog, but I miss my Shasta still..

BigAssBelle said...

oh jeff, this is beautiful. what a fine thing you found in that little black ball of fluff. men will come and go, but cats and dogs are ever faithful even if their lives are way too short.

so happy you and this sweet girl have been able to keep company for the last 11 years. wonderful story.