Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Best Things in Life Are Free to a Good Home

The best things in life are free.

To a good home.
Jeff loving on the kitty the day we caught him.

I know a couple who researched dogs for months and then paid big bucks for what they were sure would be the perfect puppy. That's the meanest little leg-biting s.o.b. I ever knew. Lori Brown writes about a friend who could not pay rent but did pay $600 for a new dog. My wife and I have never paid for an animal, never had a pet who wasn't "Free to a good home." As a matter of fact, some weren't even "Free to a good home" but were homeless, picked up off the street. Literally. Recently, I wrote about one of them, Luvie. Let me tell you about another, the one we call Baby Kitty.

He became a member of the Hodge June 30, 2014 (See "New Kitty" 7/1/14). Since I wrote already about how we came upon him, I will be brief in reviewing that part. We heard him crying under our house one Saturday morning. I crawled under there and looked for him a long time and found nothing. We heard him outside in our yard a week later and rushed out and made a diligent search only once more to be frustrated in our efforts. A day later we came home, and I saw a tiny tabby bail off our front porch and scoot under the house. To make a short story long, we caught him in a live trap the next day.

Luvie, our indoor cat, at first hissed at him like he was a large, dangerous snake or something. So did Bubbie, our outdoor cat. It wasn't too long, however, before Luvie and the new cat became the best of friends. They nap together. Eat together. Groom one another, and rip and run through the house together. 

My wife wanted to call the little rascal Tiger. That's not a bad name because he looks like a Tiger I had when I was a little boy. I wanted to call him Tuffie, however, because he was/is a tremendous fighter. Luvie was about ten times his size, but the kitty gave him a handful in every scrap. We even thought about naming him Raymond because everybody loves him; Luvie, Jeff, Penny, me. Since we didn't agree on what to call him, we called him "that baby kitty" until he eventually he became Baby Kitty. Things have a way of working out.

His origin remains a mystery eighteen months later. We never saw another cat hanging around or slinking off in the night, another cat who might have been his mother. We never saw or heard other kittens. We looked. Do cats ever have just one kitty? We finally concluded that God gave us the little squirt. Yes, he grew up but not not very much up. He's a little cat with a big personality.
Baby Kitty is all growed up.

As my wife has said so many times, "He has his own personality." Of course he does; they all do. But he is such a little thing with so many idiosyncrasies. For one, he is vocal. More than any cat we ever had, he likes to talk to you. You can walk into a room and he may let out a huge "MEEOOWW." When he does that, he wants something. Usually attention. He will yell out, stand, and then reach out with his right paw, like he's trying to touch you. But he does not want to be picked up or petted about the head. He's funny like that. He wants you to draw close so he can sniff your face. Yes, you read that right. He has a thing about sniffing your face. Then he likes you to talk back, to call him pretty and poke his side while his tail goes straight in the air and he walks in circles. He likes his love this way and no other cat we've had did. 

Another one of his unique traits is his hunting instincts. All cats have them, of course, but this little fellow leaves no movement unchallenged. If a shadow crosses the room from a reflection coming through the window, he goes with it. This has caused some damage to the house because he will follow the shadow up a wall, onto furniture, in and through lamp shades.
Baby Kitty's handiwork

One of the most distinctive things he does, however, is open cabinets. He can and does open every cabinet in the house. How does he know? They latch tight, and close tighter. But somehow he gets them open and how he does it is a mystery to us.almost as big as his origin. He even breaks into one room to open the cabinets there. We have one bathroom with a gap of maybe three inches under the bottom of the door. For some reason, my wife has sought to banish Baby Kitty from that room. Luvie is too fat to crawl under. But Baby Kitty squeezed himself under the door until my wife put a round, foam, noodle under the bottom of the door in an attempt to keep him out. It didn't work. He pulls and snatches and digs until he opens a space of an inch or two and then in Houdini fashion he scoots under. Once inside he goes for the cabinets, opens them, and pull the contents out onto the floor and leaves them for a surprise for us. My wife gets really worked up over this one. Sometimes I tell her to come look, if I find it first. At other times she discovers the vandalism on her own. I hear her yell. I come running. She fumes. I laugh. She says its not funny. I laugh more. I catch her trying not to laugh. We can't stay mad at him. How does he do it? Why does he do it?

For whatever reason, God chose to bless our lives by putting that little turd into it. There is not a day that goes by that we don't laugh or fume or become exasperated at him and his actions. One thing is for sure: life is not dull with Baby Kitty in the house.