Sunday, June 19, 2016

Quothe the Raven, "evermore"

Author's Note: This was originally published in 2009, then pulled when I got nervous during a job search. I restored it today after getting over myself. Raven died in 2010 of kidney failure at the age of nineteen. I still miss my little hell kitty.

I have a cat on my desk.

This is a good thing.

Last month, when I painted my bedroom and installed my 'closet organizing system', I also moved my desk and set it up so that my cat, Raven, could curl up beside my laptop. This has worked out much better than I ever thought it would. For one, it gives her a place to be close to me that doesn't include the keyboard of my laptop. So, instead of yowling at me, jumping up to my lap, hanging out for five minutes, yowling at me again, and hopping down, only to yowl at me to be let up in another two minutes, she actually hangs out in a mellow kitty mood. It's very nice.

Raven is almost 18 years old, a very respectable kitty age, especially considering how many of her lives she's gone through.

She selected me as her human in January of 1992, my junior year of college. It was a cool, wet day, but warm enough for my roomies and me to open windows and doors and do a little spring cleaning. My roommates, Tracy and Marie, had each acquired a kitten when we got the apartment. I was under orders from my parents, forbidden to even think of getting a hamster, let alone a cat.

As I scrubbed the kitchen table clean, a small cat walked into our townhouse, jumped up on the stool next to the table and announced herself. I introduced myself in turn, having learned proper cat etiquette from my roomies, and the little kitty hung out while I cleaned. I think I found a can of tuna for her, as I was glad of the company.

At first glance, she looked like a black cat. I came to learn later that she was, in reality, a very dark tortoiseshell. In bright sunlight, her head and legs are pure black, but her body has swirls of dark brown and little brushes of cream. Anyone who has every kept company with a tortoiseshell cat can attest that they come with their own unique attitude, better known as tortietude.

Well, the kitty was talkative and friendly, even letting me pick her up. She had no collar, and it seemed to me that Fate had arranged for her to stop by and become a member of the household. My member of the household. My cat. A fait d'accompli, if you will. Now, she might have had a different human, so to be on the safe side, I tied a note to her neck, explaining my intentions to adopt her, and out she wandered.

Two neighbors came over later in the day to explain that she'd stopped by their place earlier, and they were very glad she'd found a permanent home. She came back on her own that evening.

Well, first things first, kitty - now named Raven for her glossy black fur - needed a vet visit to be vaccinated and possibly wormed. See, the roomies' cats, Ember and Onyx, had both had worms, so it was on my mind, especially since Raven had a rather pronounced tummy. Parents? Forbidden a hamster, let alone a cat? Well, I was taking the "easier to ask forgiveness than permission" tack and spending my own money on her. So, the parents would most likely get over it.

At the vet's, I specifically mentioned that I thought Raven might have worms. The vet frowned thoughtfully, palpated her abdomen, ducked her claws, and said, "no, she doesn't have worms. She is pregnant."

Now, I was nervous enough about denying the parents' will, and this just about sent me over the edge.

"They're gonna kill me," I said over and over again. "They're gonna kill me."

"Robin," Marie snapped, "the cat's pregnant, not you."

Didn't matter. They were going to kill me.

They didn't, but that's another story.

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