Wednesday, January 7, 2009

CAT TALE #1 - Like the Moon

I was able to fulfill two writing prompts with this one story:

In response to a writing prompt on Mama's Losin' It: Tell us about your pet.
Laura Jayne's prompt at Pictures, Poetry & Prose was to tell a Kitty Tale.

We wouldn't spoil a pet. Never. Honest.

My husband and I walk almost every night. He had an in-home business while I taught school, so in the summer, we walked late at night when it was cool. After midnight, most houses along the way were dark and we rarely saw a person or a car except on Main Street.
My husband loves animals. What’s more, animals adore him. Normally cats don’t approach strangers, but along our walks, cats often pussy-footed right up to him and rubbed against his leg. He is a cat magnet.
One summer, a black and white kitty came from between two houses to greet us. This happened nearly every night for several weeks. Then one night, she started to follow us, but when we turned down the street parallel to the one where she met us, she headed back toward the place where we originally saw her.
As the days went on, the tuxedo cat continued to walk behind us and finally she was tailing us back to our house. We hopped in the car with her and released her near the area where we met her. This went on every night for several more weeks.
One morning, the cat was on our back porch. This cat looked cared for and well fed, so we were sure it was someone’s pet, not a stray, so we drove her back to her neighborhood. She followed us again that night and we drove her home. She was at our back door the next morning. The cat was stalking us.
We tried walking a different route, but there she would be in the morning. We were concerned because the cat had to walk nearly a mile to our house and needed to cross Main Street which was also a well-used state route. We posted signs and left fliers in doors near where we had found her. No one called.
One morning the cat showed up with a huge gash in her side, with a large piece of loose skin and lots of blood on her fur. We took her to our vet. He stitched her and gave us antibiotics. He could tell from a scar on her tummy, that she had been neutered. Since that indicated some care, we thought she probably had her shots, but since we didn’t know, he gave her the usual series of innoculations. The bill was over $100.
After paying her vet bill and receiving no response from our fliers, we decided she was ours. My husband came up with her new name. He chose it because we first met her under the moonlight.
Lunette was very small when she adopted us.
Lunette soon moved into the house with our other three cats, but as the years went by the older ones died off, so she is now, what she always wanted to be, an only child.

Lunette loves paper and cardboard. We cannot leave a letter on the table or a cardboard box lying about, or else we come home to shredded pieces spread all over the room.
She loves water. Outside our basement shower stall, she will lap up the water that sprays onto the floor ---water that must taste of soap and shampoo. She also likes to lick face cream, hand lotion and after shave from our skin.
Lunette is very vocal. When she wants attention, she lets us know with loud meows. One night we were watching TV and it seemed like every two minutes a commercial would be on for Verizon Wireless. My husband hated the commercials. When another one came on, I said, “Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now?” just to annoy him. He responded with, “Can you hear ‘Meow’? That’s all I hear all day long.”
If we ignore Lunette’s meows, she will knock a mug off the kitchen counter or dig her claws into one’s leg. She refuses to be ignored.
Early on, we discovered she disliked canned cat food. We placed it in front of her and it was as if it wasn’t even food. She wouldn’t sniff it or taste it, just walked away. The only cat food she ate was dry Kitten Chow. But soon she stopped eating that and the only food she ate was people tuna in water. She turned up her nose at tuna packed in oil.

Now she eats Temptations snacks, which are rather expensive, and canned tuna, but only if it is nice and moist. If it has been sitting a while, we have to moisten it with warm water. Occasionally, she will eat deli turkey, you know, the kind that costs $6.00 a pound.
Lunette will sit on my lap for a few minutes, then move to my husband’s ---her favorite place to be. If his lap is unavailable, she will take over his desk chair. He often sits on an uncomfortable stool so as not to disturb her nap. Lunette goes to bed with him, but when I crawl into bed, she usually sleeps on my thighs for a while, but eventually heads downstairs to nibble on Temptations, use the litter box, and sleep on one of her two heated mats.
Lunette is about half black and half white. Her personality also has a light and dark side. She can be sweet, loving and adorable (mostly when she is napping, which is nearly all the time.) Her dark side shows up when she is clawing one's leg, shredding important papers, or demanding attention. Dark and light, she is truly like the moon.

But she’s not spoiled. Not at all. Really.
(Photos and text ©2008, C.J. Peiffer)

September 2009 update: After a vet visit, Lunette has been on a diet for several months. Now she no longer eats Temptations or people tuna, but eats Sheba ---which if it were sold by the pound would cost about $8/lb. We also make our own cat food, mostly with roasted or boiled chicken. We mix special vitamins with it, along with an egg yolk and salmon oil. It took us a while to find the right combination to create something she would eat, but she has gone from 13 to about 10.5 lbs. That doesn't sound like much but that is like a person who used to weigh 130 lb. now weighing 105. Lunette has lost her big tummy and is looking slim, trim, and more beautiful than ever.

June 2010 update: Lunette is now down to 9.6 lbs. and has kept at that weight for about 6 month. She seemed healthier and livelier than ever on her new diet. However, sadly we just learned that Lunette has a cancerous tumor between the shoulder blades where most cats get their vaccinations. It is a very aggressive form of cancer. Surgery and/or radiation treatments are possibilities but the prognosis is not good with or without treatment. To learn how to reduce your cat's risk of this cancer, click on this link: Vaccine-Associated Feline Sarcoma Task Force

February 2011 update:  We had opted to forego what would surely have been painful and invasive surgery that would probably not prolong Lunette's life, deciding she would let us know when it was time to let her go. Although Lunette's tumor grew from marble sized to the size if a tennis ball and was soon accompanied by a second tumor, she seemed to be doing quite well for many months.  She was eating and drinking normally. She wanted to be held. But she was slowing down and seemed to always need to be in a warm spot. For a while, she would disappear for hours on end. We finally realized she was crawling behind the refrigerator where she would nap for about 23 hours a day. A month or so ago, we noticed she was having difficulty walking ---her back legs didn't  function well. We surmised that the tumors on her back were affecting her spinal cord, resulting in partial paralysis. But she was able to get from her warm spot behind the refrigerator to the litter box and her food bowls.  A few days ago, she flopped to her side and couldn't get up by herself, but once I placed her on her feet, she could stagger around. The next day she seemed a little better. The following day, she was trying to walk but her back legs were splayed out to the sides as she pawed the floor with her front paws to move across the kitchen linoleum. So---we decided it was time to let her go. On 2/16/11, we took her to the vet to have her put down,
        After knowing she was dying for so many months, I didn't think it would be so hard. But I cried and I'm crying now as I write this two days later. My husband was terribly affected by having to let her go. Lunette had chosen him, not the other way around. If she were outside and he was headed toward the house, she would walk up to him, wanting to be picked up. And when he bent down to lift her, she would jump to his shoulder. He's the one who fed her and cleaned her litter box, She loved sleeping on his lap, snuggling up to him in bed, and vocalizing every need to him.
        She was unique. She was loved. And she will be missed.


Anonymous said...

Awwww she's so pretty and that's is a very sweet story! I love how she kept showing up on your porch until you gave up and took her in ;)

Jenners said...

Visiting from Mama Kat's...

I just loved this post! I love how your described her (tuxedo cat). I love her name. I love that she is spoiled rotten(heated mats, $6.00 a pound turkey, people tuna). I love that your husband inconveniences himself so as not to disturb her sleep. I love her persistence in choosing you to be her family (I see why ... she had you guys pegged as suckers from the get go, I think). This was lovely and I really enjoyed reading it! Thanks!

Lacey said...

That is absolutely adorable! I have such a big heart for strays... it's ridiculous and it gets me into way too much trouble but I can't help it. :D

And I love how your husband will sit on an uncomfortable stool so Lunette won't be disturbed. We do the same thing at my house, where I have to sleep around the animals instead of moving them off bed, haha.

Anonymous said...

Lunette sure knows what she wants and what she has to do to get it. But with a face like that...who could resist her charms?

Sometimes Sophia said...

Well, it's good to know who runs the house. Yours is a great story. I love the way Lunette found you and made her home with you. And no... she isn't spoiled. ;)

We've all had a cat who only eats gourmet. Who knows why cats are so picky. Heated pads? You are a good mommy.

Dan said...

No cat ever considers itself spoiled. All good treatment is merely deserved by such royalty. That's why I have a dog - they come when called and are always up for petting and playing. {*grin*}

What are you going to do when Lunette uses up her 9th life? We always say no new dog, but we always end up with one when the previous one departs. Are you the same with cats?

Mommynightowl said...

wow, she looks a lot like my cat Patches. Did you guys ever find out why she was hurt when you found her? At least she has a happy ending with a great family to love her now.

CJ said...

Thanks for all the wonderful comments, everyone. I told Lunette she is now an internet star, but she seemed decidedly unimpressed. I think she already knows she's a star ---at least in our home.

In response to come of your comments:

Yes, we are Suckers for furry faces ---that's Suckers with a capital S.

We, too sleep around Lunette instead of the other way around. Silly, isn't it?

When Lunette uses up her 9 lives, we swear we will not get another cat. We would like to live abroad for a while (no specific time frame) ---and although we can take her with us, air travel is hard on animals.

Laura Jayne said...

Wonderful... love your post and your kitty. Thank you for sharing at Pictures, Poetry & Prose.

Mama Kat said...

She's pretty!! What a great story...sounds like she picked the right folks!

Mel said...

She looks like my old cat Monster, so I immediately liked her. And, she knew she belonged to you guys before you did. She just had to convince you of it!

Gattina said...

What an extraordinary story ! Cats are so intelligent it's unbelievable ! Our Arthur was 6 weeks old when he walked along the main street like a big boy, until my neighbor's daughter safed him and brought him to us !

Gattina said...

Wow ! what a cat, she is very intelligent ! It proves again that cats choose their owners and not the other way around. Little Rosie too has two sides, adorable or she bites !