Last summer, I realized that we were feeding one particular stray cat more than the others. I’d see the cat coming into or leaving our yard quite often. I started calling the cat Orange Kitty even though OK is not the orangiest of kitties ever. More of an orange marmalade color really.
I didn’t think much about OK beyond noting the presence and the absence of food.
Then the late fall settled in and temperatures plummeted. And … one day I saw that most of the skin had been ripped of the right side of OK’s face. The whiskers on OK’s muzzle were spared as was the skin and hair directly under the right eye. But the corner of OK’s mouth was exposed and the whole thing looked like a piece of raw, wet meat. It was an absolutely terrible wound.
So a process was begun in earnest. I’d been getting closer and closer to Orange Kitty just before OK was injured and so I began to build on that.
It required weeks, but we finally got OK into the house one night. Orange Kitty was fine while eating some food while sitting on the rug in the foyer. But when OK was finished eating, OK wanted right back outside. There was crying and scratching at the storm door and we had no choice but to let OK back out into the night and the cold. We built a shelter for OK, but it was not heated and I worried.
Luckily, the overnight low temperatures had not yet hit the lows we have right now. It required a few more cautious short visits inside the house before OK would come in and stay in. On those short visits, Orange Kitty wandered everywhere, examined everything and apparently decided that despite the presence of a dog in the house, that it was pretty nice.
You cannot imagine my joy on the first night that OK stayed in the house all night. I was ecstatic.
It’s been a few nights now since that first night. Good food, fresh water and a warm place to sleep … really sleep … seems to have worked wonders for the wound on OK’s face. There is one small spot that is still red and opens up from time to time, but otherwise it is looking good.
I don’t know if OK’s hair will ever grow back. But it doesn’t matter.
After having to put our last cat, Bonfire, down on August 28, 2020, I’ve been bereft. I have so terribly missed having a cat in my life. I love our little dog, Maddie, and she’s a treasure and a comfort. But she’s not a cat.
I don’t really know if OK will stay with us permanently. Right now, OK still wants to go outside for part of the day. So when the spring and summer come along and the weather is nice and OK is not injured, OK might just decide to find a different situation. But I hope not.
I’ve fallen in love with the floof. I hope in time the floof falls in love with us too.
4 thoughts on “Orange Kitty”
A feline comes back into your life. I remember when shortly after my father passed away in the mid 70’s, I was working on a project for school at my kitchen table and noticed a cat at my screened front door. The longhaired grey adult cat was meowing away. Thinking it was hungry, I offered a saucer of milk which was quickly lapped up. I left the door ajar to return to my project and it glided in. It wandered about the apartment and sat near me as I was drawing. It looked up at me expectingly. For some reason, I leaned over and picked it up and placed it in my lap. It laid there quiet and still as I worked away drawing on my project. I worked away for a time and decided to quit working for the night and sat quietly feeling the warm weighted presence on me. I carefully picked the unprotesting cat up and took it to the door. I stroked it goodbye and let it return to the darkness beyond the door.
A few weeks before, I received a phone call from a hospital telling me that my father had a heart attack and wanted to see me. I flew up to Sacremento shortly after and saw him in the ICU. With weakness and pain in his eyes, we talked. He told me about his important papers and where they were at his home. We both knew it would be the last time we would see each other. I held his hand and said goodbye, A week later while in my apartment, I received another call from the hospital. A person asked to wait for the doctor. He came on the line and told me my father had a second heart attack and died.
The odd experience with the cat finally hit me one day, I felt that the cat was my father’s spirit returning to console me in my grief. Spending an evening with me absorbing the pain of his passing and making up for the brief visit I was only allowed.
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Thank you, Jeff, for sharing this. I think there is so much more to this existence than we can ever know. I’m fairly certain that my dad’s spirit came back to console me after he died. He smiled at me and I knew that everything was going to be okay. I don’t know that Orange Kitty is anything more than an orange kitty. But the cat has certainly fit into our lives very neatly and as if it had always been there. Thanks again!
Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for the New Year to you both in your home! It has been fun to reconnect after all these years, reflect on what we have experienced and make sense of the world’s new realities.
Yes! And we hope that you and yours enjoy a wonderful Christmas and New Year. Deb forwarded me one of the photos you sent her. Sure brings back memories.