Friday, January 04, 2008

India

When Jenna was four years old we were moving into a new house. I figured that if I had something to distract her from the big changes going on then she would adjust to her new surroundings that much quicker. My friend Nicole already had a cat in the house and she said that she would welcome a playmate for Corey.With the best of intentions, I decided that a cat would be a welcome addition to our new household. I was going to meet with the owners, pick a kitten and then return to take him or her in two weeks time, once we were all settled in our new home.
This was not to be the case.
The evening that I went to pick out our new addition was going smoothly. I had directions to the owners home and I had all intentions of claiming the tiger cat that had been available over the phone. Once there I met the owners and watched the cute little tiger kitten play in their dining room. They all ooh'd and aah'd over him. They told me that the mama cat had been hit by a car two days after the kittens were born so they had to handfeed the litter. As I was sympathizing with them a timid black kitten walked into the room. I asked "Who's the black kitten?"
Their reply? "Oh, that's the bitch cat."
"I'm sorry - what?"
"That's the bitch cat. She's awful. She's the runt of the litter and she's nothing but trouble. We hate her."
My mind reeled.
"Is she available for adoption?"
The woman replied slowly, "Yes, she is...but I thought you wanted a tiger cat."
"Can I take her now?"
"Yeah...sure...but I thought that you wanted us to hold your cat for two weeks..."
"Nope. You must be mistaken. I'm here to take the cat this evening." I scooped the little black kitten up into my arms and scratched her huge bat-ears. She purred loudly.
"Are you sure you want to take that little bi - "
I started for the door, kitten in hand. "Thank you SO much. I'm sure that we're giving her a good home."
Bewildered, they waved goodbye as I walked briskly down their steps, got into the car and handed "kitten to be named later" to my girlfriend, Elln. "Why do you have a cat now?" she asked.
"No time to explain. Just hold on to her tightly," I said as I put the car in reverse and got the hell out of there before anyone could change their minds.I explained what happened to Ellen and Nicole and both agreed that I made the right choice. Nicole babysat the new kitten until Jenna and I moved in.
That night we moved in I had the kitten on my bed and I was trying to decide what to call her. She was black with a tuft of white hair on her chest and the biggest ears that I had ever seen on a kitten. I went through many options but I finally settled on "India", like the ink. It fit perfectly.
India was indeed the runt of the litter. Her lack of a mother (and any nice influences before she met us) was evident in her first few weeks with us. She bonded with Jenna and I immediately. The first night that I woke up and she was suckling the end of my finger while curled around my arm I knew that I had made the right choice.
She finally grew into the ears but it took awhile.
Jenna instantly loved India and was so intent on taking care of the kitten that she barely even noticed her new surroundings.India's presence in our new home worked exactly as planned.
India was a fantastic kitten. She has always been an active cat and there were times that she was a little too active. Nicole and I took to referring to her as the "bitch cat" but in a loving way. Even as she ate our plants we knew that she was a good soul.
India has always made it a point to snuggle with me when she goes to sleep at night. I often fall asleep with her nestled in the crook of my arm. In fact, I started sleeping on my back to accommodate her. I have never regretted it.
Shortly before Christmas India was diagnosed with lymphoma and we have been faced with some tough choices. This situation was discussed with Jenna and we decided on a course of treatment. After all, India is Jenna's cat, and has been since she was four years old. Now fifteen, Jenna has shared nearly 3/4 of her life with her cat. As hard as this has been for me it is even more so for her.
Right now "Scowley" (Katie's nickname for India. Believe me, it fits. That cat glowers at people) is on prednizone and seems to be improving greatly. On New Year's Day she even sat in the window and watched the snowfall.


It was a very serene moment.
However, this recent turn has reminded me once again that life is finite - and special.
She has brought my daughter (and my family) nothing but love and happiness. She still has an insanely loud "purr" and she still sleeps in the crook of my arm. When India is no longer capable of doing these things and difficult decisions must be made, then we will do so with India's best interests at heart. Until then, I am enjoying every moment that I have with the cat that I adopted so long ago. I loved her the moment I saw her as a six week old kitten and I will do so until the very end - and beyond.

6 Comments:

Blogger Summer Ryan Doyle said...

I'm so sorry to hear about India's illness. I know how hard it is when someone you love so much is sick. I hope she has lots of snuggling days ahead of her.

It's amazing how much India reminds my of my kitty, Poe. Poe is a black shorthair who was obviously the runt of the litter. It would be easy to lovingly call her "The Bitch Cat" too.

It's wonderful to know you've given a good home to a kitty like her.

6:51 PM, January 05, 2008  
Blogger FoxInDetox said...

Great post my friend. I'm sure India feels the same way about you all.

:o)

5:37 AM, January 07, 2008  
Blogger Cynthia said...

One of the more difficult things I find to accept about human life is that we outlive most of our furry companions, upon whom we lavish as much love and care as a child.

Yet they are such a wonderful gift.

This post makes me think of Data when he found Spot after the crash of the Enterprise D.

9:56 AM, January 07, 2008  
Blogger Andy said...

You're right, Cindy. I have at times been choked up whenever anything has happened to India. When she was a few months old she fell between the stairs and the landing from the 2nd floor to the first floor. I rushed her to the vet and when they told me that she was shaken but otherwise okay I started crying with joy.

11:51 AM, January 08, 2008  
Blogger Bridget said...

We can only hope that India sticks around for many more nighttime snuggles. I'm hoping for the same for my dear Simon.

The life of a well-loved cat must be amazing...snuggled up in the crook of the arm of someone that loves you so dearly.

12:39 PM, January 09, 2008  
Blogger FoxInDetox said...

I click on this link every day, because I know that eventually, one day, I will be delighted to find a new post.

11:48 AM, January 18, 2008  

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