Snowflake’s Final Mission

After I’d known Snowy for about a year, I began to notice changes in him. He had always had a strange habit of rolling on his back in the dirt, just like a dog. But as he grew older, this amusing quirk became not so funny anymore. For the once regally handsome Snowy stopped grooming himself. There were pieces of leaves hanging from his fur. His paws were green with grass stains. His fur went from fluffy to flat and matted. He was still pretty agile; I never saw him miss a jump. But I thought that his gait was getting a little wobbly.

 

Snowy

 

I’d known Snowy was up there in age, just by the condition of his teeth. The poor guy couldn’t eat dry kibble at all. I always gave him pate (his favorite was Sheba Ocean Whitefish). But it hurt my heart, nevertheless, to see him deteriorating.

Then Snowflake started doing something remarkable. He began bringing other cats to my door. They were cats I’d seen around, but who’d never been approachable. Now, he was literally leading these shy cats and kittens to my doorstep!

Two of them, it turned out, also belonged to Snowflake’s dad, Rafael. There was the tiny tortie, Sheba, and later her daughter, Panda.

 

the missing
Snowy with his little sis, Sheba
zoey-snowy
Snowy and baby Zoey, who I wound up adopting

But two of the kitties were in need of rescue. One was Zoey, whose story you can read about if you scroll through my earlier blog posts. I wound up adopting her.

The second cat was a full-grown, terribly skittish male cat that someone dumped in my my neighborhood. He was spotted like a cow, so I called him Moo. Moo’s story will be coming soon.

As for Snowflake?

He disappeared. Although he’d been known to take off for a couple of days now and then, this time he was gone for good. Rafael was beside himself, certain that someone had stolen him.

I knew better. My heart told me that Snowy knew his time on this earth was growing short. I’ll always believe he went off into the woods to die alone and in peace.  His final mission was to show all the neighborhood cats where they could get a good meal, even shelter, if they needed it.

At my house.

What a great cat you were, Snowy. You are missed.

 

snow portrait

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Snowflake, Part 2: Exposed!

It turned out that the Mystery Cat belonged to my neighbor, Rafael*. He had another cat, Sheba, who lived indoors, as well as a dog named Princess, who I’d seen on occasion. The other animals stayed inside almost all of the time, but Snowflake liked to be outdoors. Not so much that he (yes, Snowflake was a MALE) was a nature buff; he just liked going from door to door in the neighborhood, meowing pathetically as if he were starving. He scored many a free meal that way, I’m sure!

Although I was now wise to his act, I continued to feed Snowy. (I couldn’t bring myself to call him Snowflake, because he wasn’t pure white; he was white and gray.) He was a funny cat, so vocal and quirky. He seemed to like being around people. I used to let him into my apartment and let him wander around, until I realized he was bringing fleas into the house. What a pain they were to get rid of! Milo and I are both severely allergic to fleas. So, that was the end of Snowy’s coming indoors.

 

snow4
Snowy, when I used to let him in.

Now a strictly outdoors cat (because he’d brought fleas into Rafael’s apartment, too), Snowy set off on a new mission, one that had nothing to do with acquiring free meals.

It was much more important…

TO BE CONTINUED.

*My neighbor’s name has been changed in this story to protect his privacy.

A Cat Named Snowflake, Part 1

I previously blogged about Snowflake in an entry entitled “The Stray Cat Who Wasn’t.” Here is the latter part of his life story, serialized for those of you who might have missed it, or who read it and wondered what became of him.

 

It was in the summer of 2016 that I first encountered Snowflake. I’d only learn later that was the cat’s name, because when it just showed up on my front stoop, I assumed the poor beast was lost, abandoned, or a stray. I also assumed the kitty was female, because she was beyond beautiful… she was ravishing! I thought I’d called her Sabrina.

 

snowby-poser

 

The cat appeared to be at least part Angora, with long, silky fur and a grand plume of a tale. The cat was extremely friendly, rubbing up against my legs and meowing in an odd, squawky voice. I snapped some pics and posted them on Facebook, asking if anyone knew who the cat belonged to.

A few days went by, with the cat visiting daily. I fed the kitty, and my cats, Jinx and Milo, looked on jealously from the living room window. I couldn’t believe that this animal, who could easily land the feline equivalent of a modeling contract, could be a stray.

 

flakey boy

 

Turns out that the cat wasn’t a stray at all, but an expert manipulator…

 

TO BE CONTINUED

Zoey, Part 9: Mutant Inbreed?!?

It seemed too good to be true… Zoey was back in my arms, and her original human parents had just surrendered her to me. The sweet baby was MINE, really mine!!!

But, wait. What’s that Jake just said? She isn’t actually a baby?

“She’s actually well over a year old, almost two,” he said. “She’s already had at least one litter of kittens.” He lowered his voice as if he were passing on classified information: “She was an inbred barn cat we got from our friends.”

Hold up: inbred??? Shouldn’t she have two heads, half a tail, and be walking into walls, then? There was nothing abnormal about Zoey’s appearance or behavior. And as for her age… could she really be an adult? She only weighed 5.1 pounds when I took her to the vet. Her limbs were skinny and spindly, like the legs of a fawn. Her eyes were so large, she reminded me of a Ty “Beanie Boo” stuffed animal. (See example below.)

 

beanie boo purple
A Ty Beanie Boo

 

Also, Zoey’s behavior was definitely kitten-like: spastic, jumping up on everything, no inhibitions, no fear, and no manners whatsoever. And the vet John and I had taken her to when she was injured had guesstimated her age to be about five months.

I tried to believe Jake. Why would he lie? (Clarissa said nothing to back up nor to refute his claims. Just stood there mutely.) The idea of a cat that would remain eternally kitten-sized was very charming. (THINK about it! Wouldn’t you love to have a mini kitty???)

One thing I knew Jake wasn’t fibbing about was the fact that Zoey had been vaccinated; he gave me the paperwork from the vet’s that said Zoey (well, Macie Mae at the time) was inoculated and due for her next shots in August of 2018.

I would just have to wait and see if Zoey ever got any bigger. And I’d have to watch her tummy for signs of life, literally, in case she was pregnant. (“If she is, the SPCA would probably take the litter,” John told me.)

What lay ahead for my little, might-be-a-mutant Zoey?

I’d just have to wait and see…

 

Zoey Bug
“Who you callin’ a mutant?”

 

Author’s note: Zoey has continued to flourish… and GROW! She has been spayed and is at this very moment, purring in my lap and kneading my arm as I type.

Stay tuned to My Life With Cats for updates on Zoey, my other cats, Jinx and Milo, and the stories of two more special kitties: Snowflake and Moo.

Zoey, Part 8: “Did You Miss Me?”

I felt as if I had already lost her, as I handed Zoey over to Jake. Once she was in his arms, the change in his gruff demeanor was amazing; the kitten turned him into an enchanted boy, overjoyed to be holding his lost cat again.

“Macie Mae!” He cuddled and rocked her like she was a newborn baby. “Did you miss Daddy?”

Zoey didn’t nuzzle him back, nor did she try to get away from him. She just stiffened up. It was clear that she remembered Jake. So why didn’t she act happy or excited? She didn’t move a whisker, just remained paralyzed in Jake’s strong arms.

I watched this reunion in silence, alternately mourning the impending loss of my new furbaby, and wondering over the weirdness of it all: Jake’s transformation into a gentle giant… Zoey’s total lack of emotion… Clarissa still hanging back, staring.

The awkward cuddle fest dragged on for many long, torturous minutes. Finally I drew attention to Zoey’s hideous neck wound. Jake looked and blinked, noticing it for the first time. At last, Clarissa came forward to have a look. They gasped as they examined her.

 

Z1

 

“It was nowhere near this bad when we last saw her,” Jake insisted.

“Ew! She feels disgusting!” Clarissa grimaced as she felt the scabby abrasions all around Zoey’s neck.

The couple looked at one another. There was some kind of silent communication going on between them.

“Okay, I’ll tell you what,” Jake said. “You can have her.”

Did I just hear right?!?

“You took her to the vet. You did a good thing for her. I’m willing to reimburse you some money towards the vet costs.”

Talk about doing a total 180!

“That’s not necessary,” I said. I was filled with gratitude towards him for gifting me this sweet baby girl. “I just thank you so much!”

As he handed the precious kitty back to me, I asked him to tell me a bit about Zoey’s history.

What I was told was nothing short of unbelievable.

TO BE CONTINUED…

 

zoeymeister
“So I stays?”

 

Zoey, Part 7: “Give Her Back to Us!”

I thought of pretending I wasn’t home, because I knew why my neighbors were pounding at my door. But I knew I’d have to face them eventually. So I mustered up as much courage as possible and stepped onto the front stoop.

“So, you think it’s okay to take someone else’s cat?” Jake was belligerent.

I measured my words carefully. Another neighbor had told me a few days before that the kitten “really doesn’t belong to anyone anymore,” indicating that Jake and Clarissa had abandoned her. I believed the neighbor, since I saw Zoey outside all the time. I’d tried to catch Jake and Clarissa to ask them if it was still their kitten, but they were never around. Now it had come to this: a confrontation.

“She was hurt,” I said. “I had to get her to the vet. I haven’t seen you around. I didn’t think you wanted her anymore.”

“We’re around. We just don’t come out of out apartment a lot.” Jake was doing all the talking, while Clarissa hung back and played with her phone.

escher effect
Composite sketch of “Jake and Clarissa”

 

“She’s too little to be outside all the time,” I said, trying not to sound argumentative. “She could get hit by a car or mauled by a dog.” I immediately wondered whether I should have included that last part, recalling that the couple owned a pair of pit bulls. (Which, unlike the kitten, they kept in the house.)

“You can’t control a cat if it wants to go outside,” Jake scoffed.

“Yeah.” Clarissa finally spoke up. “Whenever I open the door, she scoots right past my legs before I can stop her.”

“Can I keep her while she heals, at least?” I was losing this argument and losing hope.

“No!”

“Well… if I give her back, will YOU keep her indoors until she gets better?”

“No! She’s going right back outdoors, where she wants to be.” Joe stomped away. “I’m gonna call the law!”

“Wait!” I cried. “I’ll go get her.”

This shut them up.

With the heaviest of hearts, I went upstairs, where Zoey was resting on the bed, unaware of the drama that was transpiring one floor below.

 

fuzzy wuzzy kitty
How can such a tiny kitty cause so much commotion?

 

I scooped up the tiny kitten and brought her outside, where Jake and Clarissa were waiting. I knew they were right. Even though I disagreed with the way they were raising the cat, it was their animal. Just because I’d gotten Zoey veterinary care didn’t give me any legal rights to her.

I held my breath as I handed the kitty over to Jake, wondering what would happen next…

To be continued.

Zoey, Part 6: Settling in

I brought Zoey home and got started on her aftercare plan. I found it impossible to squirt the drops of liquid medicine down her throat; she was too wiggly. So I mixed the drops into her wet food, and she ate it right up. The flea med seemed to be working as well. While she still scratched a lot, a quick few strokes with a flea comb turned up no live fleas. The neck wound still looked awful, although it had started to fade from blood red to a healthier pink. I wondered if her fur would ever grow back there, or if she’d always have a bald spot.

My two adult cats weren’t sure what to make of the newcomer. I kept them separate as much as possible, sequestering Zoey in the spare bedroom most of the time. Of course, the other cats knew she was there; they’d smell her under the door, the way cats do. Also, I couldn’t resist letting her out once in awhile, for just a few minutes at a time, to explore a little bit of her new home.Well, the hallway at least.

As her sniffles cleared up, I let her out more and more. She was so curious about everything!

zoey bookcase
Zoey explores the bookcase. Notice that she is standing on a stack of cat-related books!

Speaking of curiosity, Milo seemed to want to know about Zoey. Jinx, however, was terribly offended that I would let another cat into our world. Certainly she, the magnificent Jinx, was splendid enough to fulfill anyone’s need for a cat! Even this Milo character was merely an “extra” on the set of her life. Him, she’d grown to tolerate, but this… this ZOEY. Just, no.

It will all work out, I thought. It’ll just take time. But three is my limit!

It’s funny, when I had just the two, I’d always joked that I was “one cat short of crazy.” Now, with the addition of Zoey, what did that make me???

 

jinx zoey staredown
Zoey looking up at Jinx. Jinx keeps her distance.

 

Before I could figure out the answer to that question, there was a knock at my door. I opened it to see Jake and Clarissa*, my neighbors. I’d only exchanged “hellos” in passing with them, yet I knew what they were here for.

They were Zoey’s original human parents. And Jake looked very unhappy.

 

*Names of humans have been changed