Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Christmas Cat


 As we near Christmas, I am reminded of --

The Christmas Cat


It was decided, by whom I have no idea, that the kids would get a cat from Santa.  I, who had never had a cat and did not like cats, who was, after all, a “dog” person – who had happily gotten the dog about whom Jamie said, “I think we’ll call him Charlie,” and as far as I knew Jamie had never known anybody named Charlie, and possibly never even heard the name before --  was sent to pick up the cat.

The house, no address, turned out to be a clandestine hideout for a member of the FBI or CIA.  I was fingerprinted, subjected to search, and interrogated for three hours in a 2x2 room under hot lights, with lie-detector attached, questions being asked over a speaker hidden in the wall above the one-way mirror.  No Dr Peppers.  Suddenly, the voice stopped, the lights went cold and I sat in darkness.  My life, short as it had been at that time, passed before my eyes, though without the lights, I only got a few glimpses of the brighter spots. 

Finally, the door opened.  I didn’t know what to expect, and was ready for it.  Instead, blank sheets attesting to what I had no clue, were thrust under my nose (or perhaps my hand, I am no longer sure) and I was ordered to sign each and initial the back of the first one next to the initials of my interrogator, though his were in invisible ink and I might have actually put mine initials on top of his. 

And then, the cat was released into my custody. 

 Little did I know, it was actually a suicide feline, barely out of commando training, who had never been in a car before.  With the cat safely inside the car, I had backed up no more than ten feet when Kamikaze Kat was racing around the car, flinging itself against the glass, tearing at the seats and slashing at the driver. 

 In one of the most incongruous scenes ever video taped by   Finally, by the end of the first block of a 5,000 block trip, the killer kitten settled down, still scared, but feeling somewhat secure by anchoring its claws into the top of the driver’s head.  And it remained there for the remainder of the trip.
the Agency, the cat-unfriendly driver can be seen trying every seducing, soothing, baby-talking line known to mankind in the futile effort to calm down the run-away cat.

Christmas morning, the terrorist-cat had transmogrified into a small, tame kitten.  The kids were thrilled. 

But the cat was about to get a comeuppance, or a comeapartness.  At last, Kristi (after all, the youngest is always last) got her chance to hold the kitten.  Being no more experienced than I was, she grabbed it, got the kitten’s neck in the crook of her arm   The kitten, hanging down, but firmly secured by its head, immediately yelled for help.  Older and more experienced sister Kelly came to the aid of the kitten-in-distress.  She tried to take the kitten.  Kristi was not about to have her turn commuted to such a short time.  She held tightly.  Kelly pulled mightily.   The kitten got longer.  Only when an adult (who knew a thing or two about kittens and just how long they could be stretched) came to negotiate, did the kitten get off the rack.
and locked her hands to her chest.

Giraffe, Stretch, Longfellow, and The Cat in the Rack were names proposed by the adults.  I don’t recall what the kitten was actually named by the kids. 

The kids loved the kitten and learned to take special care of it as it grew into a cat. This was definitely a Christmas to remember.  And to the day he/she died, I’m sure the kitten remembered it also.

James R. Callan, 2016
www.jamesrcallan.com

4 comments:

Liane Spicer said...

Ha ha ha! The things we do for our children...

I'm a dog person myself, but I gave in and got a kitten when my son was about five and had begged me enough. Son decided the next afternoon while I was at work and his gran was watching him that the kitten needed a bath--and what better place than the washing machine which was already filled with clothes and soapy water?

My mom discovered the operation and fished a sorry-looking, apparently dead kitten out of the tub. She massaged the creature's stomach; it spewed some water, blinked, and soon recovered.

The kitten didn't forgive us though. Shortly after, it ran away.

James R. Callan said...

Smart kitten. But out stretched out kitten stayed around for years. And three of the kids became cat people; only one raised dogs. Ah, the things that stay in our memory. Thanks for sharing your kitten experience with us.

Linda Thorne said...

Well, this was a different post, and a fun one. Like Liane, I'm a dog person, but when cats came around (usually strays), I always enjoyed their presence. A few even lived at some of the homes we've had over the years, like part-time boarders dropping by for a while, then disappearing and returning. Dogs seem to take people in as members of their pack where, to me, cats seem to appreciate more what we provide to them.

James R. Callan said...

Thanks for the comment, Linda. I think cats have a more independent nature. At least they want to give that appearance. I guess they are both (cats and dogs) good for our well being.