It’s April and I spent the night dreaming of sun and flip flops. I woke up to Tini swinging from the curtains and succeeded in ripping the one closest to the road down. I waved to the runners as they pass and I lay there eyes blinking at the little white cat deciding it was breakfast time.
Since moving here I’ve had nightmares that were so real and so moving, the flashbacks have sent me home from work. I’ve found a meter long crack in the bedroom floor where I can see the light from the basement, and can hear every breath the neighbours take. I know what movie their watching, what they’re arguing about and have had to start listening to music again before I go to sleep.
I used to listen to Robbie Robertson every night as a teenager, every night we would “go walking in the night parade”; we’d “tip our hat like Don Quixote” and close it off with a “sign from the rainbow.” But that was as a child living in what I believed to be a haunted house. I haven’t had to do that for 15 years.
I have a power bill from hell and have to wear thick fluffy socks with flats in the house, sometimes to bed, so I don’t get a cold in the kidneys and I’m still not comfortable playing the piano because it makes so much noise.
When I brought the house sitter into my old apartment to sign the lease and hand over the checks for the next year and she said “Why do you want to move out of here.” Maybe I should have taken it as a sign, but I knew what I wanted, I wanted that sun porch as a writing room and a place to have a cat.
My first cat was Izzy. She’s a rescue in the full sense of the word. On my birthday the whole family had a party and watched Lord of the Rings. Somewhere around Gollum screeching “my precious” mom said I should look at the Shelter website. There were two kitties that had been there for over a year and a half. I wanted both. But one shared the knick name of my best friend. It said she needed a home away from children and with a patient mama. I knew she would have some issues but I knew I was her mama.
The next day we were at the shelter. Izzy was scared of everyone and everything. When I went to pull her out of the cage, she scrambled, much like she does now when company comes to visit, her food dish went one way her water dish the other and my sister, and the shelter lady, cleaned up the mess- so excited that this cat who had been there so long was going to have a home. I held Izzy tight, probably the longest anyone has ever held her. Certainly the longest I have ever held her in my arms was that day.
I asked my mother if I was crazy to adopt a cat like this and she said “it’s your cat.” And I knew I could save her.
After three months the two of us had made a bond, her favorite toy was a little silver barrette and nana got her the laser light, and she was brave enough to sit on my lap for ½ hour 45 minutes when I sat on the couch beside her. But when I left her alone (and I greedily thought that a cat like her would like to be left alone) she’d turn her head and say with her eyes “mama I is all alone.”
I brought it up to other people that I wanted another cat and they said “But can Izzy handle another cat?”
Finally on the last week of January I looked at my friend and said “Can you drive me to the Shelter on Saturday? I’m getting a friend for Izzy.”
She said “Have you picked one out yet?”
All I knew is when I walked in there I would pick one. But going with my friend had conditions she would take me if I looked at the website. I picked out three cats Belle because she was quiet and reserved, Kate because she was an elegant black cat and Tini, because the look of life shone in her eyes.
By the end of the week sentences started with “When I bring Tini home…”
When we walked in to the shelter the first cat we walked by stuck her paw out and tapped my friend on her shoulder. “That’s Tini.” Said the volunteer.
“I think she just picked us.” We looked at other cats but I was so afraid that while we did someone would take Tini home.
We took Tini home.
The shelter was excited to see Izzy go home and gave us her blanket for the carrier and a carrier anything to get the cat a home. When we went to take Tini home we had the carrier and a blanket, and the volunteer went over to a shelf on the wall and picked up a huge cylinder of balls with bells (ballie balls) and said “You’ll need these.”
Like any good cat owner my rules were that Tini had to spend an hour or two in the bed room so she had her own space, since Izzy claimed the living room .
That lasted all of five minutes. While I left Izzy alone in the apartment because she was too scared to leave the carrier when I was in the house Which led to about two months of hiding in the closet and under blankets in the couch, Tini was ready to take over. She crawled over the bed explored the house, Took pictures off the hangers and climbed a few walls. I knew I wanted a smart cat, but maybe I had out done myself.
The neighbor stopped me one day and said (and remember we can hear everything) “that cat is really ambitious isn’t she?”
Life with Tini means the settings on my computer are always being changed. I need to call her in the bathroom so she can watch the toilet flush, if she hasn’t already opened the door on her own. I will have to lose some of the damage deposit I paid to reimburse them for the screens she’s crawled up and I have to hide everything that is dangerous to a cat away from the cat. She finds elastics I didn’t know I had, she chews the thumb tacks from the curtains she rips down and has her eye set on the glass Chrirstmas pickle ornament which has since been hidden.
Life with Tini means a friend sitting in the living room window waiting for me to come up the drive way, A friend to wake me up in the morning when I think that the world is too much. And a Life with Tini means a friend for Izzy, they were sisters and best friends instantly. They play together eat together and Tini teaches Izzy to come out in the kitchen and the play in the sun porch. And Izzy loves the sun porch.
Yesterday Tini woke me up at 4:30 in the morning, she stuck her face in my mouth and slept on me until I got out of bed. Since I was up I cleaned the house and she helped with the dishes by sitting on the counter and playing in the dish water.
After four months the friend who went to the Shelter with me to take home Tini, came over for treat day. She was amazed at how tuned into me she was, how well we communicated. And we tried to get Izzy to play but I’m her people and when anyone else but Tini or I are around, she hides, ok Izzy likes men we don’t know why.
I saved Izzy, but Tini saved the two of us.
SO when I write out that power bill, or re arrange the bed room to cover over a crack with the carpet that’s supposed to be in the Kitchen. When I ruin a perfectly good pair or dress flats in the kitchen because they’re warm and quiet on the feet, or when I wake up at 4:00 in the morning having dreams of being pulled off the bed, I look at my kitties curled up on the couch with their paws wrapped around each other, kissing each other, and know that it’s all worth it.