Thursday, March 27, 2008

The "ART KITTY" March 2008

When my wife, Marie, brought this bedraggled creature home many years ago, I let out a big sigh. She found it on a dark and stormy winter day at the local port. Marie is not nurturing by nature, but she is a champion of the underdog. The little girl inside her wanted to save this wild eyed, calico-like scaredy cat. She spent months under our bed. At least she was quiet. Marie’s daughter, Mary, gave her the unofficial name of Abby. This name didn’t stick.

Physically she seemed challenged. She was skinny and round faced. She had a poor excuse for a tail. It wasn’t formed right, and it had a crook. Her thin coat was uneven. Her name was often Funny Face or Hey You, Kitty. Funny face was at the bottom of a feline pecking order that started with Misty and went through Snow Kitty and Oreo.

When she finally ventured out to our world of teenage boys and her nemesis, Misty, she kept her eyes darting for danger. Soon it was just Hey You and Misty. You’d never find them in the same room. After eight months she finally made her way outside. Any commotion would find her under the deck. Marie gave me the job of flashlight duty to find her in the dark recesses. She was pathetic.

Our boys, Rigel and Sam, flew the coop to college. Hey You finally relaxed enough to find the living room. Mary, Marie and I were not that threatening to her. Mary’s job was to feed the cats and take care of their litter box. Misty was Mary’s favorite, but she came to like “Youey” too. Misty loved to scrap with the three young grandchildren that came to visit, but Hey You ducked for cover.

Hey You became an affectionate kitty after Mary went away to college. We moved into a rental house while our home was being built. Funny Face was now at the top of the pecking order at home as Marie would get annoyed at Misty’s bossiness. Funny spent a good deal of time gallivanting around the neighborhood in fields of tall green grass. She thrived on her encounters with other cats.

Marie reeled her in by making her the “Art Kitty”. It became her duty to sit with Marie while she painted her oil paintings. They became very close during Marie’s sacred creative time.

When we moved into our new home, “Youey” became the upstairs kitty. Misty was relegated to the basement. Marie’s new Art Studio had a permanent fixture, the “Art Kitty”. She enjoyed her time as the designated “Art Kitty” by night, and my companion by day after I retired. She loved her world as deck lounger as she accompanied me doing crosswords and reading, and coffee.

Marie loved her “Baby”. Art Kitty was treated royally as she helped Marie with her masterpieces. Last autumn, Misty and the “Art Kitty” started a downward spiral. They seemed to be in a race toward death. Misty was getting dementia and Baby was getting weaker. Baby’s kidneys were failing and the vet told us she wouldn’t be with us much longer. Misty was plain crazy. In November, Baby finally gave her last breath. Marie is still sad for her.

Miraculously, 16 year old Misty is now the “Art Kitty”. Marie had a change of heart, and Misty is now the top and only dog, upstairs and downstairs. We miss our little Funny Face a lot, crooked tail and all.

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