It seemed a reasonable idea. My close associate felt our eight-year-old cat, Hannah, was bored. She slept a lot. So a "little playmate"--as in kitten--might help.
So one morning at the rescue shelter, we ”interviewed” a kitten called Winston. At six months, he was older than the hold-in-your-hand kitten who would be perfect. Nonetheless, he seemed alert, not needy. She said, “Why don't we take him? He's a red cat after all.” We left, and Winston came along.
He was mute as we drove away. We'd gone a quarter mile, and I noticed my chest muscles tightened. Was that from the cat?
At home, we set up Winston in his room. Not a meow. Hannah, though, was vocal. She growled and hissed. Winston stared vacantly, as if studying a nutcase.
I decided Winston was ready for a new name. I settled on Rosko. When he finally spoke, it was like a gusher. Before feeding time, he was as insistent as an air horn.
For weeks, we'd keep the two apart, a squirt bottle at the ready. Rosko must have thought Hannah a bluffer: He'd slowly approach her, as if testing. But once, she made a big mistake.
She ran away. The two tore up the stairs. We heard blood-curdling ye-owls from Hannah. When we finally separated them, loose fur was everywhere. And Rosko--seemingly demonic--calmly ate the gray fur he'd ripped off Hannah.
Meanwhile, I noticed I couldn't spend much time near Rosko: My chest muscles would tighten.
In the next few weeks, more cat fights, more ye-owling.
Maybe I'd had enough. I told her a return made sense for all of us. As a youngster, he'd be adopted in days. A return was simple. We filled out a form online, mentioning the intractable behavior problem. I also called and confirmed Rosko's special green doggy toy could be brought along in a Ziploc bag.
I was leaving at twenty of ten. During the half hour or so I had to get ready, I took pictures of Rosko. He was as passive as when we first brought him home. The dozen or so "last" pictures were all the same. I put the stuff on the front car seat. His papers and the green, Ziploc'd doggy. I went back in the house to get Rosko.
Then an odd thought hit me: I can change my mind! I had no appointment.
I called her to say, “We're going to make it work.”
Yes, two cats--bitter antagonists--would have a home. Even if it were split in two by a doorstopped sliding door.
I sat down with Rosko. We spent something like half an hour enjoying each other's company. My sensitivity to Rosko? Gone in a blink of an eye.
The next day I saw a bumper sticker on a car. Beside a cat pawprint, the words: WHO SAVED WHOM?
Image credit: author photo
Read Charlie Dickinson's story collection [and feel free to share with a friend] The Cat at Light's End, as an ebook in these downloadable formats:
.epub (most other readers)
.pdf (for PCs)
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9:1:18 The Self-Service Library in Bigfoot Country
8:9:18 Bicycling in the Path of Self-Righteousness
7:28:18 Accidental Courtesy: Daryl Davis, Race & America, a DVD review
6:23:18 Why Honor Matters, a book review
5:26:18 Men Without Women, a book review
4:22:18 Why I Shred Junk Mail
4:4:18 Keeping My New Year Resolution
3:24:18 Extreme Water Conservation: Payoff
2:14:18 My Shaving Kit Comes Full Circle
1:23:18 Extreme Water Conservation
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11:27:17 Mapping the Ether, or the Topography
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11:21:17 To Save, or Spend, Change
11:13:17 uzbl & "Faster Dial-Up" Redux
10:29:17 The Triumph of Christianity: How the Jesus Movement
Became the World's Largest Religion, a book review
10:23:17 Running a Laptop off a $1 Thumbdrive
10:14:17 In Pursuit of the $1 Thumbdrive
10:5:17 Zabriskie Point
9:30:17 19th Century-Style Photographic Prints
7:2:17 DIY Prescription Eyeglasses
6:22:17 Free Geek: "helping the needy get nerdy"
5:27:17 Reading My Great Grandfather's 1868 Diary
4:27:17 The Bickford Fuse, a book review
4:14:17 Why I, Too, Will Not Fly United Airlines Again, Ever.
3:21:17 The Revelation to John
1:29:17 A Platonic Slide Into Tyranny
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12:10:16 Popular Mechanics Magazine, May 1933, a review
11:27:16 Deoderant Confession
11:10:16 Grisi Neutral [Neutro] Soap
10:24:16 Finding Solace in Camus
9:24:16 A 35-Year-Old Calculator
8:27:16 My Sanctuary
7:27:16 And the Weak Suffer What They Must?, a book review
6:12:16 The Squinty Prius
5:26:16 The Disconnect of Vote-by-Mail
5:17:16 The Still Pond
5:12:16 Marina and Lee, a book review
4:28:16 A Little Catechism Goes a Long Way
4:15:16 Au Revoir, Cloudburst Recycling
3:11:16 Screen Magnetism
2:4:16 We've Got Algorithms
1:18:16 Forgiving Portland's City Bus Line
12:28:15 The Gluten Lie, a book review
12:12:15 Ten Things I Buy at Dollar Tree
12:3:15 My Logging Habit
11:11:15 The Internet Is Not the Answer, a book review
10:21:15 How I Write When I Write
9:17:15 The Other Portland
8:20:15 Gods Without Men, a book review
8:19:15 Oregon's Most Obscure Traffic Law
7:31:15 A Small Death
7:23:15 China Shakes the World, a book review
7:16:15 Out Damn Spot!
5:31:15 My New Library Card
5:21:15 Let Me Be Frank With You, a book review
5:08:15 Portland's Rabbit Hutches
4:21:15 The Sea Lions at Astoria
3:26:15 Sacrificing for a Lower Water Bill
3:10:15 The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, a Book Review
2:5:15 Pinhead Books aka e-books
1:15:15 Good Riddance to Old-School Shaving!
12:20:14 Three Whys I Quit Reading a Book
12.12.14 the life-changing magic of tidying up, a book review
11.12.14 Oil Changes
10.17:14 Doomsday Preppers, a TV series review
9.30:14 The Trigger, a book review
9:10:14 Clipboard People
8:23:14 Ukraine Diaries, a book review
8:21:14 My Home Darkroom on a Shoestring
7:29:14 Right Speech
6:28:14 Pacific Power's Wily Ways
6:20:14 My New Clarks Sandals
5:31:14 Portland's Water Woes, Again
5:10:14 Faster Dial-Up
4:11:14 Update on Stockpiling Light Bulbs
4:10:14 The Next 100 Years, a book review
3:15:14 A Cruel and Shocking Act, a book review
3:8:14 Ukraine: Another Revolution Gone Awry
2:9:14 The Flight (and Fight) of the Hummingbird
1:25:14 My Frugal Byways
1:20:14 Walden on Wheels, a book review
1:2:14 Growing Up Amish: A Memoir, a book review
11:28:13 The Moneyless Man, a book review
11:23:13 The Lost Art of Walking, a book review
11:10:13 The Cultural Revolution Cookbook, a book review
10:23:13 The Biker Angel
10:11:13 No Self-Serve Gas in Oregon
9:28:13 A Street Cat Named Bob, a book review
9:23:13 The Life & Extraordinary Adventures of Private Ivan Chonkin, a book review
9:18:13 Autumn Leaves
8:19:13 The Worst Car Driver & Why
8:12:13 The Gardener from Ochakov, a book review
7:25:13 Le Havre by Kaurismaki
7:20:13 This Ain't California
6:27:13 The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking, a book review
5:29:13 My Linux (Mis)Adventures
5:25:13 Southern Cross the Dog, a book review
5:5:13 Russian Tumbleweed
4:16:13 "The Machine Stops" by E. M. Forster
3:25:13 Moore's Law
3:13:13 Grocery Shopping
2:28:13 Razor Blade in Moonlight
1:27:13 Made in Russia: Unsung Icons of Soviet Design, a book review
12:9:12 White Bread, a book review
12:4:12 Update on Old-School Shaving
11:12:12 Ten Great Buys at Dollar Tree
11:6:12 My New Russian Camera
10:29:12 Leaf Day
10:2:12 The Russian Navy in New York?
9:21:12 The Righteous Mind, a book review
9:14:12 Revolution, 1989, a book review
8:23:12 Train Whistles in the Night
8:2:12 Why I've Stockpiled Light Bulbs
7:22:12 Old-School Shaving
7:16:12 Злектроника МК-52, computer de minimus
7:4:12 Ivan's Childhood by Tarkovsky
6:21:12 The Unabomber, a modern Thoreau?
6:12:12 Do the gods exist?
6:7:12 My "Retail Therapy"
5:28:12 On Taxes, We Should Go Green
5:17:12 Portland's Trash
5:6:12 The Toaster Project, a book review
4:24:12 No Seconds
4:12:12 Portland's Runaway Utility Bill
4:8:12 The Repossession, a book review
3:30:12 How I Got Published in Mississippi Review
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2:18:12 Beauty Plus Pity, a book review
2:5:12 Kirk's Castile Soap
1:29:12 Confessions of a Fallen Standard-Bearer, a book review
1:22:12 Thirst, a book review
1:17:12 My IBM ThinkPad 1999-2012
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12:22:11 Spiritual TMJ
12:16:11 1Q84, a book review
12:11:11 How Portland Became Portlandia
12:1:11 The Fixie
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11:13:11 Old & Worthy
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10:18:11 Reinventing Collapse, a book review
10:11:11 Rereading Pirsig
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