Write (in any form you desire) about cats. It doesn’t have to be about the animal cat, it can be anything involving cats such as the movie Katz, a cat house, cat fight, tom fights. Anything your imagination comes up with. Cat Woman?
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I really don’t have anything against the Felis catus species although I am one of those guys who believes cats are a woman’s pet. My first wife kept bugging me for a cat for a long time and I finally broke down and gave her a kitten for Christmas. Yep, that worked out... when she left me four months later she took the cat with her. Probably a good thing because I was in the Marine Corps at the time and, shortly thereafter, I was sent back to Vietnam. No way I could have taken a cat along with me.
For the most part my experience with cats has been fairly uneventful. They are smart creatures and, if you love the heck out of them, they ignore you and drive you crazy. If they sense you don’t like them, they’ll climb onto your lap and drive you crazy. With me, they somehow sense I’m not crazy about them and they basically leave me alone. There was one, however...
It was in the early seventies when my wife surprised me one afternoon. I was stationed as a recruiter in San Francisco and we had a nice house in Pacifica, just to the south. Wife had a dog at the time -- well it wasn’t really a dog, it was a miniature dachshund and it liked to eat the furniture and shred the drapes. That dog and I did not get along, particularly after she ate the front of two of my two-hundred dollar speakers.
The area for which I was responsible had a junior college and seven high schools. The Marine Corps Band (The President’s Own) was making a tour of the west coast and was scheduled to put on a concert at one of the high schools one afternoon from two to three. As the recruiter responsible for the area, I was expected to attend and the principal of the high school had asked that I have my wife come with me. That seemed reasonable, you know that whole family presence thing and she agreed.
A bit before one, I went home to shower and change into my dress blue uniform. When I got home, my wife wasn’t there, having just left a note saying she’d be back by one-thirty. As I was finishing my shower, my wife walked in and said, “Are you almost done?”
“I have a present for you.” I climbed out of the shower and started drying off as she continued, “The only problem is that you’re going to have to work for it.”
“Honey,” I said, “we have to leave in just a few minutes. The present will have to wait until we get back.”
“Uh, it can’t wait.”
“Why? Is it something that’ll melt?”
“Well, no, but it’s pretty hot outside and I don’t think it’ll live through the heat for another two hours or so.”
“Live? What, you get me a plant?”
“Come on, it’s in the car.”
I threw on shorts and a T-shirt and followed along behind her. When I got to her car, I didn’t see anything. “So, where is it?”
“She. She’s hiding somewhere in there.”
“She? She what?”
“I got you a kitten, but she’s down under the seat and I couldn’t get her out.”
I won’t bore you with my facial expressions, clenched fists, and thoughts I had for the next few moments. I do think I managed to smile -- but it’s been a lot of years and the smile might have been something else -- and say, “Okay, let’s see if we can find her.”
I opened the door carefully, fully expecting to have the little monster launch herself at me.
Nothing. No noise. No movement. Nothing.
I reached down under the seat and felt around. Springs, padding, something furry… huh? I moved my hand around and the furry thing kept moving away from me. I know that cats can get into tiny places and that they can curl themselves up into a really small ball, but this furry thing I was feeling was crawling around inside the springs of the seat. Every time I thought I had a chance of grabbing it -- uh, her -- she’d twist around and move to another spring.
Not wanting to hurt her, I slowly pulled the seat all the way to the rear and tipped it up and then backward, which allowed me to see the bottom of the seat. There, coiled up inside one of the springs, was a black and gray ball of fur, her tail hanging out and swishing around indicating that she was probably pretty scared -- and maybe mad.
The only handle was her tail, so I grabbed it and pulled gently. That didn’t work so I pulled a bit harder and her rear paws slipped off the spring until she was half way out. I spoke as soothingly as I could as I grasped her around her chest and kept pulling with one hand, while I used the other hand to work her claws loose from the spring.
Success! She finally came out of the spring and I pulled her to my chest and held her, stroking her head and back as I felt her heart beating like crazy. I stood up and walked back into the apartment, still holding and loving on her. Wife had taken the dog to a friend’s house so I put the kitten down on our bed (big mistake) and stroked her for a few moments until I noticed the time. We were so late and I was up in the air about what to do. I had to attend. The principal had asked that my wife attend. We had a new kitten, scared, not sure of where she was, and not knowing us.
Our dog, Heidi, wasn’t there so we could leave the kitten alone without worrying about anything happening to her -- there was no way she could get out of the apartment. So we left to take care of business.
We arrived at the concert in time to hear the last minute of “Semper Fidelis” and, only moments after we sat down, the band played the “Marine’s Hymn” and we were back on our feet. The hymn ended, the band left, and I played recruiter for a few minutes. I talked to some of the school officials and a few of the young men and women, hoping to get a recruit out of it, and then we left -- to take care of a new, scared, kitten.
We needn’t have worried because the kitten had made herself at home. When we walked in, she didn’t try to run out the door; she immediately came over to me and rubbed against my leg, purring like crazy. I picked her up and loved on her until I heard my wife call me from the bedroom. Kitten had decided that the bed was her cat box as evidenced by the two puddles and one not quite solid pile of something.