C-A-T spells love for this grandma

Published Aug 21, 2013 at 2:11 pm (Updated Aug 21, 2013 at 2:11 pm)

L et’s get one thing straight. I do not like cats. And “do not like” is perhaps too nice a term.

Actually, I hate cats and most hate me. I have nothing against those who like cats, I’m just not one of them.

It all stems from an incident about 55 years ago when I picked up a feral mother cat to take her back to her kittens. Huge mistake. She did not take kindly to my act and attacked. Today, I would have been on intravenous antibiotics in a hospital. Back in the 1950s, however, my mother applied some ointment on the wounds, slapped on some bandages and off I went. That’s the day my hatred of cats commenced.

I mention this incident only because I now own a kitten. Shock.

My life has been lived with dogs, with the occasional cat sneaking around my house only when my daughter moved in and out after college, or was between jobs. I ignored those cats and they ignored me.

Then I became a grandmother.

My heart didn’t soften when it comes to cats, but my heart is definitely more vulnerable when two pairs of bright blue eyes stare up at me accompanied by “please.”

The kitten adventure began after a fun day at the Washington County Fair with my daughter, Laura, and grandchildren, Emma, 5 1/2, and Sam, pushing 4. He had won a goldfish and carried it around in a bag. He’s a typical boy, so the fish had a rough ride.

After viewing the animals and exhibits, we opted to stop at the Spring House in Eighty Four for some chocolate milk. A kitten was the farthest thing from my mind. The goldfish was sufficient.

As we drove past the Washington Area Humane Society next to the Spring House, a sign in the front yard of the humane society jumped out at us: Crazy Cat Days, Cats $5 Kittens $15.

Because of the preschoolers in the back seat, my daughter and I began to spell a conversation about kittens. Well, seems Emma can spell, and immediately yelled from the back, “Are we getting a cat?” Sam reacted with a squeal and hoisted the fish bag above his head when Emma said “cat.” After buying the chocolate milk, we drove back to the humane society.

A climb up a steep set of steps and I was in cat hell. Forty-five cats and kittens running everywhere, jumping, pouncing, meowing in a room designed for only 30 cats, hence the need for Crazy Cat Days.

I wanted to run for the hills, but the look in Emma’s and Sam’s eyes caused me to pause. I found a folding chair and sat down next to a gray cat with piercing eyes named Gertrude. To keep my mind off the fact I was in a room filled with felines, I played mind games and decided I’d call a gray kitten Fifty Shades. I knew I was in trouble with thoughts like that. I didn’t begin to search for a weapon, but the thought crossed my mind.

With great care and much consideration, Emma and Sam found a nearly all-black kitten they adored. Next thing I knew I was filling out a multi-page application complete with a veterinary reference. I handed over $10 to keep the kitten on hold.

For nearly 20 hours, Emma and Sam waited for a telephone call saying the kitten was theirs. While they waited, I second-guessed my decision to permit a kitten in my home.

That afternoon, the call came. We retrieved the kitten but not after forking over another $5 and spending a day’s pay on a covered litter box, toys, cat litter, a duel-compartment food bowl and kitty chow.

While his agreed-upon name is Speckles Kitty Cat, in my mind, I call him D.C., for Damn Cat.

Everything seems to be going well. My son-in-law sneezes constantly; seems he’s allergic to Speckles. My beagle, Todd, is too curious. Their passive older pit bull with a lazy eye, Maya, is also too interested. The three fiddler crabs and the guinea pig don’t notice. Nor does the gold fish. He died and, with much fanfare, was flushed to fish heaven.

As for me? Call it co-existing. Speckles leaves me alone. I ignore him. The grandchildren love him, though, and in my world, that’s all that counts.

For those who actually want a kitten or a cat, Crazy Cat Days last until Aug. 31.

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