January 16, 2013 —
Our new kitten purrs like a lawn mower. At night I hear her motoring down the hall to jump on our bed, walk across our faces, and lick our fingers. Her loud, vibrating purr seems to say: “I am here. Get up and play with me.…”
The kitten is my daughter’s Christmas present. It just worked out that way. We had tried to adopt her earlier in the season, but between the vet’s schedule and her immunization timetable, she arrived just before Christmas. Rocket, our dignified, older cat, woke from her nap, quickly sized up this turn of events and ran yowling under my son’s bed.
I, also, am not used to “indoor cats” or even friendly cats. Most of my feline memories are of wild barn cats who kept to themselves. I remember kittens whose eyes were eaten away by lye. I’ve seen cat population explosions and their consequences—with all that suggests in a practical but brutal world.
Rocket, our highly favored pet, was a stray who still goes outside and maintains a life of hunting mice and voles. One cold winter we let her in for a night and she has been coming in ever since. She is partial to my husband John, waits for him to come home from work and sleeps in his arms like a baby.
But this pure black, incredibly soft and hilarious kitty has taken my heart. She scampers about, terrorizes our shoe laces, drinks from the holy water font, and messes up the computer by running across the keyboard. Her habit of crawling into our old couch (through the stylish hole in the side) and batting around a bell toy inside reminds me of those high society “let-them-eat-cake” type ladies who wove bird cages into their hair. (Imagine those canaries rattling around up there.) Lying on a couch that is pulsating with a frolicking kitten is similarly amusing, if not a little bit disconcerting.
Our kitten came to us from the Peace Plantation Animal Sanctuary located outside of Walton, NY. (We were told she was originally brought there from West Virginia.) This private animal welfare refuge operates under the patronage of the National Humane Education Society to provide life-long sanctuary and adoption services for homeless animals—predominantly cats.
When we toured the animal barn, we were amazed to see all the cats—some perched in windows, some climbing, or playing, or napping—all in a spick-and-span environment. There were about 300 feline residents at that time. Following an application process that included a background check with our older cat’s vet, we were approved to adopt “Meeka,” as our little kitten was originally named.
Now, my daughter wants to call her Lucky (the black cat) and my son insists on calling her Raven. We call her Lucky Raven. And sometimes, since we can’t decide on a name, we still call her Meeka.
[For information about Peace Plantation Animal Sanctuary, visit www.nhes.org/sections/view/59.]