The Legend of Buttons and Misty Meows
I'd like to tell you a story...it took place a long time ago...it begins in the tall grassroots of a backyard in a dusty town in ole Queens, N.Y.
Okay, I've been watching too many Western movies (which I happen to love). However, I wanted to get your attention. The Legend of Buttons and Misty could perhaps be compared with the Story of Bonnie and Clyde with a few differences. They don't kill or rob and they're not lovers. They are, in fact, my two cats. Buttons is an exotic looking tiger or tabby. He's very unique. Misty is my black/white oriental. She is a beauty and looks very feminine. She's dainty, loving and fierce when faced with a challenge.
It's amazing that this story is even coming to be, because about 10 years ago you would have never convinced me that I would own a cat, much less two! I was the person who politely walked away when someone began talking about their cat(s). If you'd left out the verb "feline" you would think they were talking about their children or grandchildren. Feline lovers have photos of their cats on their desk. They come back from lunch on pay day with new toys for them, and show them off! Ugh. "They need to get a life." Of course, I would only think that, not wanting to hurt anyone's feelings. For some reason, I had a totally different opinion about dogs. I don't know why.
One significant point that I want to make is, I don't think I actually disliked cats; (my sister adores them and has great articles on pet care - see, 2besure) but our family had allergies and asthma. My mom suffered badly with these two diseases and couldn't get within ten feet of a dog or cat or a million other objects - you fellow-sufferers will recognize them - ragweed, dust, pollen, dog and cat dander, etc. When I entered a home with pets, I would have to leave because my physical reaction was acute and quick - I would immediately begin to wheeze.
Our home was not always "pet free." My daughter had parakeets, gold fish and a hamster sleep over.
Well, I would like to tell you that I have "reformed". God definitely has a sense of humor and I will tell you why I believe that in a moment. You can revise that "comment" of indignation" now!
No Pets Allowed or A Backyard Birthday Surprise
A few days before my daughter's 16th birthday, I was hanging clothes on the line. As I looked out of the window, I heard a strange noise. As I looked more clearly out of the window, I saw a small dark ball moving around. I thought to myself "is that a kitten?" "Where, where, mommy?" "OH NO!!!" I didn't realize I had verbalized my thoughts.
Before I could say anything, my daughter was running out of the house with the speed of light, and around to the backyard. My sister who had been visiting for the summer from China voiced her own opinion. "Don't bring that thing in if it has the mange!" As if she knew what the mange looked like. Well, my daughter brought in the kitten, no more than 3 weeks old. "Oh my goodness, it's so adorable!" I looked at my sister and wondered what happened to my support mechanism. The two of them wiped off the kitten and found a medicine dropper to feed it milk. We called the ASPCA to get instructions, being it was over the weekend, and knew that it shouldn't be taking regular milk. My sister and her niece spent the day planning how to get me to keep this kitten. Already I was sneezing and wheezing.
There was no way I was keeping a cat. However, my daughter's pitiful cries and my sister's offer to pay all expenses (she didn't tell me it would be one check for the cat's lifetime) wore me down. Also, my daughter was having the age-appropriate issues at the time and the cat literally lifted her up out of a depression. So, Happy Birthday and welcome Buttons (cute as a) to the Wilson family.
In the weeks and months following I spent more money on Buttons than if I had given birth to another child. I bought scratching posts, toys, nursing milk and then powered milk, a state-of- the art litter box and more. I tried to keep Buttons confined to restricted areas, but as he grew, he explored and conquered new territory. He would sit in my house plants, squirming down and nestle until the leaves were crushed. During Christmas there was always a big whole in the center of my tree where he would jump in and nest. I would find Christmas ornaments all over the floor. Sometimes I would walk by just in time to see the tree shaking. You couldn't see him, but obviously he was there. Rrrrrggghhh! (Me, not the cat!)
My allergies were out of control. I wondered how something so small could make me itch and sneeze. I was waiting to use my condition as an excuse to say "sorry honey, I tried but this is not working." However, over time, my system got used to him and those symptoms disappeared! I could hear God laughing. The joke was on me. I spent my time wiping up hair from my furniture and sweeping up dirt from turned over flower pots. Buttons was very rebellious little critter. He didn't tolerate brushing. Oh I tried, but somehow he became the boss. Five years later, I still can't get near him with a brush.
I have to admit he was adorable. In the beginning it was me and not my daughter who stayed up for the every 3 hr. feedings. He would look at me with those large eyes and then burp in my face. We took videos of him playing and getting lost in our huge apartment. We had to close off doors because he'd wander in and find a place to nap. It would take hours finding him. Eventually life became normal. Still, I was the one who would feed, change the litter box and make sure he had fresh water.
The Hidden Border
Buttons was our secret. Not having approval from our landlord, we just kept Buttons a quiet secret. Since he didn't bark we didn't see any problems. He didn't need to be walked so, again, we thought we were safe. Wrong. Buttons loved windows. We managed to keep him away when we were home, but when we left for work and school, he'd jump my barricade and we'd find him sitting there, taking in the view. Eventually, he was just our cat and there were no problems, but it was a major adjustment for me of just another issue to handle. Ugh. I would complain but then look at how happy my daughter clearly appeared. Yes, Buttons was worth the find. Slowly, Buttons began to be my cat. He would curl up on my bed behind my legs. When I came home from work I would find him in the window and as I opened the door, he'd run down the stairs to meet me. I found myself buying more toys, more expensive food, and looking for him when he'd find a new spot to hide. He was now family.
When Buttons was around two years old, I looked for another apartment. While in the midst of moving and finding another home, I asked my neighbor to watch Buttons. It was traumatic for him being in a new environment and she had a cat who was very territorial. It broke my heart to leave him there, but I preferred it to a kennel.
After one month I finally found a new place to live. The day I picked Buttons up, my neighbor asked if I would watch her cat while she moved some things to Virginia. She was relocating but needed to come back to retrieve the rest of her belongings. She would pick up her cat at that time. How could I say no? She'd cared for Buttons for 30 days. I think I became ill as I nodded my head in agreement. A new apartment and a visitor already! Buttons sniffed around in curiosity at his new surroundings, but because he was familiar with our scent, he was more comfortable. Our poor visitor whined and sniffed and searched for something familiar. I felt sorry for her.
As time went by, weeks, months...YES, I said MONTHS...there was no word from my neighbor. I called her cell, her mom's phone and cell. No answer. By the third month I resigned myself to the fact that Misty had been abandoned and I was left holding the bag. I immediately began to find her a new home, but there were no takers. Oh no! I'm getting used to her. She's sitting on my lap and purring with those big Mountain Dew colored eyes.
Okay, enough drama. Misty has been my cat (or my daughter's) for the past four years. Isn't she cute...that's her above. She just had surgery. Buttons was already neutered so I took my time with Misty. Poor Buttons. He could not figure out what Misty's problem was. All the whining and rolling around on the floor. The look on his face was comical. He would tip-toe around her.
Two More Children
These two kids have a routine. They have breakfast...Buttons likes can and Misty loves dry. Then there's a game of tag and hide-and-seek. They run around the house, over furniture, leaping through the air and sliding down the hall. When they are totally exhausted they find their places and take a nap which can last four or five hours. Meanwhile, I'm cleaning up hair, litter boxes and making sure there's fresh water. When they awake, they get a snack and again, let the games begin.
Now, it's against the law to abandon children and animals as well. While I would never do either, there were times I was tempted to leave the front door open. They have mentally been on a list for adoption for two years. They are actually on a list for adoption and are number four on the list.
Misty is an excellent "mouser" and when an occasional field mouse finds its way in, it's out with the speed of light. Funny, it seems to happen each time I mention adoption.
Well, I have passed the point of denial. I love my two cats. I really don't think they are going anywhere. They have me so trained. They're not going to get the same love, treatment or fussing from any other owner. They know my voice commands, or should I say I know their's. They have me shuffling in a hurry to meet their needs. "Open the window so I can sniff the fressh air or feel the sun on my face...fill my bowl - no not crunchies, I want salmon fresh out of the can!" I am SERIOUS! Buttons can detect ice cream two rooms away and recognize the milk left from a bowl of cereal as a sweet treat. He knows it's forbidden...we have to watch him like a hawk! I guess they'll both be here until my daughter decides to go out on her own. Then she'll take them...remember? They are her cats. My sister, the original cat lover, recently saw the above photo and wants to add Misty to her family. I don't think so.
This Hub is just for cat lovers...I've just been musing these days. Perhaps the next Hub will offer sage advice, pearls of wisdom or some helpful tidbit. I just like writing.
"Meooowww". Oh, gotta go and let Buttons out...he wants his p.m. nap on the living room sofa. Is he good, or what?