Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thunder Paws: How he came to live with us, part 1

Thunder Paws

Sometimes, the best cat is the one that you do not seek out; the one that appears unexpectedly before you and then, without making any effort to do so, inserts itself deep into your heart and life to bring you warmth and pleasure, causing you to laugh with delight and to marvel at the wonder that is a cat. So great is the love generated by such a cat that when, unexpectedly, it is torn from you, it’s absence leaves you and its whole host of human loved ones grieving; yes - even weeping.

Thunder Paws was such a cat.

I now begin his story:

After persuading me to bring the kitten home, Nabysko decided to boil him, so she put him in a pot.

On May 15, 1992, the sun rose into a crystal-blue sky and there poured it rays down to generate the first hot day of the year in Wasilla, Alaska. Unable to cope with work on such a day, I abandoned it, grabbed Sunflower, Nabysko - the only two people who were nearby and drove them up the Matanuska Valley to take a glacier viewing expedition,

By the time we turned around to return home, we had been parched by the hot sun, so we stopped at a gas station in Sutton, not for fuel but for cold, liquid, refreshment. We rushed inside, thinking not of kittens, but only about the chilled drinks that we would soon guzzle. In my case, this meant Pepsi. 

There, in the gas station store, just beyond the soft drinks, a low box sat on the floor and in it was a beautiful calico cat, attempting to groom two kittens with her raspy tongue. One, a rambunctious tiger-stripped fellow, burst out of the box and went leaping, scurrying and hoping wildly about the store.

The kitten did not wish to be boiled. He jumped out of the pot.

The other, an orange fellow with a white face, breast and paws, nestled snugly against the soft, furry, underbelly of its mom and looked up at us through dreamy, curious, puzzled, intelligent, blue eyes. “Oh, cute!” Nabysko squealed. 

Her chubby little hands shot downward, gripped the startled kitten and yanked it up from the warmth and security of its mother’s tummy. Nabysko tucked the bewildered creature close to her cheek. Squirming, the kitten maneuvered itself into an upright position, placed its paws upon Nabysko’s shoulder and looked out apprehensively.

“Do you want him?” a skinny, wrinkled, old man asked.

“Yes!” Nabysko squealed happily.

“No!” I thundered. “We already have a cat!”

Free now from the pot, the kitten moons Nabysko.

“No one will take these kittens,” the old man sighed, “I guess I’m going to have to take them to the pound.”

“Please, Daddy,” Nabysko begged as she cuddled the tiny orange and white fellow. “This kitty can’t go to the pound!”

“No, Nabysko” I stated firmly. “We can’t rescue every kitten. We just can’t! Kaboodle would not be happy.”

“Daddy! Kaboodle needs a friend. Please! Daddy! I need a cat to sleep with me. Kaboodle always sleeps with Tryskuit!”

“No!” I guided Nabysko out the door and to the mini-van, where I strapped her into the safety seat behind her mom, the beautiful Sunflower. I took my own position behind the wheel, inserted the key and gave it a twist. 

The engine sputtered to life and began to purr. I put the gear in reverse, brought my foot down upon the gas pedal and started to back up. As I did, the happy image of Nabysko cuddling the kitten swept through my mind.

If, as stated below, I regretted taking the kitten, then why did I nestle him like this, later that very day? Why now, despite the joyous decade that he gave us, do these pictures cause my eyes to water, and this screen to blur, even as I type these words?

“Heck!”* I stammered, “I tell you, something is wrong in this world when a father can’t get his own daughter a kitten to sleep with! C’mon, Nabysko!” I braked. Leaving a perplexed Sunflower alone in her seat, I led Nabysko back into the gas station, where she scooped up the kitten.
As the three of us left the store and headed back to the car, the old man called out after us.

 “That’s a fine kitten! You won’t regret it!”

I thought about Kaboodle and how unfair this was to him. 

“I already do!” I shouted back.

*I actually said, “Hell!”, but there might be mommas who read this to their sweet, innocent, children and so I have toned down the language. I would note, however, that Nabysko survived hearing repeated utterances of the epithet uncorrupted.

Ps: Please note: These photos did not look so dark and muddy when I saved them in Photoshop, but somehow they translated this way online. I thought about removing this piece until I could get a chance to redo and replace them, but by then the post was already up. Plus, those of you who have tried to replace a series of photos already placed in blogger know that it is not a straight-forward, simple process. 

So, for the moment, I will leave them like this, but I hope to replace them with copies that translate better, very soon.


heidi said...

Thunder Paws looked like a very very cute kitten!! But this story's beginning is saddening me already. I sense a bad ending. . .I'm sad already.

Grahamn Kracker said...

That's the thing about cats, and other animal buddies as well - next to ours, their lifespans are short, even when they live beyond the average years of their species.

Be assured, Thunder Paws had many good years - and they were very good - so, now in this blog, there are many good times yet ahead of him.

One way or another, long or short, all of our stories end up the same. It is what happens between the time they begin and end that matters.

michico*Adan said...

Oah~~~ Thunder Paws,
how lovely and adorable....

Parker said...

I'm already in love with him!

Eric and Flynn said...

Of course you were always going to end up taking Thunder Paws home with you. Why else would you have gone to that particular place at that very time when the kittens were there. Everything happens for a reason. He looks adorable, but then, he is a ginger.
You said you would like one of our cards. Please can you email us your address.

Team Tabby said...

We think you have lots to tell us about Thunder Paws, looking forward to the story.

Mindy, Moe, Bono

The Island Cats said...

That is a wonderful story about how Thunder Paws entered your life...we look forward to reading more about him...

Daisy said...

You sure know how to tell a tale! I can't wait to read more about Thunder Paws.

Zippy, Sadie and Speedy said...

Yup, our first cat came from a farm where dad just happened to stop to buy eggs, the second from a drive-in restaurant where we just happened to stop to get a root beer. Both were the best dang cats ever...well, for their time anyway. The ones that come as a surprise are always the best.

Standtall said...

And this happened in 1992. You are a wonderful adventurer and photographer. No cat wishes to be boiled really (lol)

And Thunder Paws was a cute kitten!

Sammawow said...

Thunder Paws was so adorable! What a wonderful story so far... I can't wait to hear more! My ginger tabby, China Cat Sunflower, was my surprise, found-at-my-office kitty 12 years ago. She still acts like a kitten and she is a great mouser!

DaisyMae Maus said...

You can't have just one ...

Happy Fangs-giving! Gobble, gobble, gobble ... 'urp!
DMM and the Feline Americans

Margaret Cloud said...

I bet the store owner never intended to drown them, he was saying that to tug at your heart and hoped you would take one or both, the kitten is so cute.