A New Addition to the Family

My phone conversation this morning with Older Daughter, mom to our almost-5-year-old and 14-month-old grandsons, went something like this:

Her: Guess what? We got a new cat.
(Background noise of chairs screeching and children running.)
Me: A new cat?
Her, in a slightly raised voice, to the boys: You all let Tootsie go in Mommy and Daddy’s room to rest for a minute.
Her, to me: Yup, a new …
Her, to Older Grandson: Please take the laser pointer out of your nose.
Her, to me: … cat. She’s black and …
Her, to Older Grandson: If you point the laser at your brother, you’re going to your room and I’m taking it away.
Her, to me: … and white and 3-years …
Her, to Younger Grandson: No-no. Pulling the kitty’s tail is not nice.
Her, to me: … old and very friendly and ..
(More background noise of chairs screeching and children running with addition of frenzied meowing.)
Her, to Younger Grandson: Maybe the kitty cat doesn’t want to be chased anymore.
Her, to me: I think I need to call you back.

“That’s the Biggest Cat I’ve Ever Seen!” — So Long, Shadrach

Yikes! I haven’t blogged for so long that WordPress was, like, “I’m sorry. Who are you again? Please identify.” You know, in the same way that your iPhone’s Siri (not to be confused with the unfortunate Suri, bless her heart, whom we all know will rebel against her mother at age 14 and run away to become queen of the Scientologists) gets annoyed ¬†when you ask her stupid questions. But I have good excuses: We were vacationing in sunny Florida and then came home to a sick cat. Sadly, Shadrach — our lone male out of the four — turned out to have unfixable kidney disease and so we wished him “safe journeys” and sent him on. He was big and fat and the feline equivalent of a grumpy old man, but he’d stuck with us for almost 16 years and we miss him. My tough sports-editor husband, who yells at AP and makes photographers tremble, practically is inconsolable — he’s like that about pets. For me, Shadrach and his two sisters (we got the fourth one a couple of years after the first three) are a link to when my two 20-something daughters were younger and living at home and we had kids running in and out of the house all the time and all sorts of meetings and rehearsals and practices on our family calendar and I loved every minute of it. We got the cats sort of as a divorce present shortly after we became a single-parent family. I swear that one day in the privacy of our own kitchen, we said, “Oh, it’d be great to have a cat!” and within minutes we were deluged with offers. One of Older Daughter’s friends let us pick from a barn cat’s litter, and of course my firm commitment to ONE CAT ONLY turned into ONE CAT ONLY FOR EACH OF US and there we were. The girls rescued No. 4 from a pizza box at a local swimming pool but our hopes for one big happy cat family never materialized as the three incumbents immediately forged an alliance that’s still impenetrable, even after all these years. With Shadrach gone, we’re not sure how the new dynamic of two sisters versus one step-sister will play out. It’s clear that he enforced some sort of order — possibly by simple virtue of being twice as big as the girls — so who knows what will happen now. I’d schedule them all for a cat-therapy session but they hate car rides and strangers, so that’s not going to work. I’ll keep you posted. Tomorrow we’ll talk about all the cool places to go and things to do in Pensacola Beach, Fla., but right now I think I’m going to find those boxes of old photos and look for the ones of three little scrawny kittens, especially the orange tabby with the big green eyes.