Monday, December 4, 2006

Twenty-Nine Cats

No one sets out to have twenty-nine cats.


They just happen, one cat at a time. Johnny was an abandoned two-month old. Newt was in a box of kittens outside the grocery store. Toby (the first) was struggling to survive in zero-degree temperatures at the town dump. Fred was subsistence-living in our woods... Just single little lives in need of shelter. One by one, like individual pearls on a string, we added them to our life.


I have thought a lot about Demi lately. The first few years that she lived with us, she was genially ignored, overshadowed by the cuteness of her kittens. She is not a pushy cat and never demanded attention, but I have memories of her following me on my treks through the woods, happy to keep me company.


From the first, she has been out-going and friendly. Abandoned by her original owners and expecting kittens, she discovered the dish of cat food I kept out under one of the vans and must have clung tightly to a steady source of food. One morning when I went out to fill the dish, she popped out from under the vehicle, looked up at me and said hello.


I brought her inside and set her up in the shop with bedding and a litterbox. Gradually over the next week, she worked her way into the house and up to the bedroom. Two weeks after we met, she gave birth to six kittens in a nest box I had set up for her in the back room. Frieda, Cissy, Lucy and their siblings entered our life.


Inobtrusive and self-contained, Demi is a member of our household who rarely demands or receives special attention. She was and is content to have a warm, safe place to sleep, regular meals and occasional cuddling, but time has brought to us a greater appreciation of the little polka-dotted calico with her unfailing affection. She slipped into our routine with barely a ripple but she is a comforting presence in our daily lives.

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