When I started this blog, I said I would not tell personal stories but keep it simply to creative writing. However, today I am completely out of creativity, so I will tell you a story about my cat.
Today is Friday and my day off. I spent the morning cleaning the office as it will be a safe room for a new kitten scheduled to arrive on Monday evening. With the office now clean, my desk clear and all the papers filed away I can sit in here and write. It’s been a long time since I was able to do this. I hope I can keep it nice. I am a very messy person and my new husband is as well. When you put two messy people into a small two-bedroom duplex you run into problems.
Later today I hope to clean out the living room and then move on to the dreaded kitchen. But for now, I am sitting in my office, the Den as we call it, enjoying the empty floor. There are two bankers’ boxes full of Trade Publications next to my small desk. Before today they were scattered along the floor in magazine boxes. We both subscribe to Live Design, Lighting and Sound America and Stage Directions. Once a month two copies of the same magazine will arrive in our mailbox. This year when I subscription comes expired I will not renew. There is no need for duplicate copies.
On Monday I will be traveling an hour south to my hometown. I will see my parents for a while and when my friend Jesy comes home from work I will go visit her to pick up my new “child.” He’s only a few months old now and all black like his big brother, Rufus. Rufus remains oblivious to the new addition. Rufus is a five-year-old rescue from my college days. He is a rather large cat, at 14.6 pounds. He has a good personality, not aggressive at all. When I took him to the vet for his yearly boosters he sat calmly on the metal table, allowing the strange man to roll him over and poke at his belly, look at his teeth and give him three separate shots without a fuss.
When I was first adopted by this tiny two-year-old skinny cat I purchased a small carrier and fought with him the entire way to the vets. This simple cat broke out of his carrier twice and mangled my hand in the process. This sort of behavior had never happened to me before. I have had cats all my life. Usually they would fight to get in the carrier, howl the entire way to the vets and then fight to get out of the carrier at the vets. Never had one actually broken out. Perhaps the poor baby thought I was getting rid of him? When I arrived at the vet, my hand bloodied, they were prepared for a fight. I pulled the freighted boy out of his box and he sat on the table nice and calm. The vet was a female. She and I shared similar features and she had a black cat of her own. She was sweet and pet him softly. I think that without this interaction, poor Rufus might be very different at the vets. Afterwards, I put him back in his carrier. He was well-behaved from that point forward.
As we got back in the car, I decided to conduct an experiment. My mother had told me that she never let her cats roam freely in the car for fear they would get under her feet, but since Rufus was trying to get out anyway, I figured, why not? Our apartment was only a five minute drive up the road, what harm could he do in five minutes? So I opened the door to the carried and let him out. He sat in the passenger seat and looked out the window the entire time. When we got home I carried him into the apartment and have never used the carrier since.
When Rufus, myself and my husband (who was only a boyfriend at the time) moved from our college home in Kent to Cleveland we would face an hour drive north. It was a long week of moving, while attempting to open a show. I was the Lighting Designer and my husband was the Stage Manager. We went through the entire Tech Week experience living between two duplexes. On the final day of moving only a few things were left. We determined that Rufus would adjust much better if he saw all of “his stuff” move first. He would be the last trip up and upon arrival he would see his new home with all of “his stuff” already laid out for him. Finally, after the show was open and all the big stuff had been moved, it was Rufus’ turn. As my husband went to work, I set off to get Rufus. I placed his litter box in the backseat; his food next to it with a little bit of water and jammed my truck full of the last few bits of our lives.
I left the passenger seat open for my little man and carried him to the car. Since becoming an indoor cat, Rufus has developed a slight case of agoraphobia. Anytime I take him outside of our home he begins to shake with fear and cling to me. If I put him down in the grass he will keep his belly to the ground and crawl along as if the Earths gravitational pull will reject him.
It was very late at night, probably close to ten or eleven when we finally disembarked for the last time. Our third roommate was left to finish packing the last of her life. We returned several times to clean the house wash the walls, steam the carpet. We wanted that deposit back!! But this was the last time that we would call this house “home.” Rufus had never driven in a car for an extended period of time, but he had been my son for almost two years at this point and I knew he would behave himself in the car. He sat in the passenger seat for a little while as we made our way to the highway.
There is nothing like driving away from your college town with the last of your stuff for the last time in the middle of the night. The road from Kent to the highway was a solid ten minutes of state route. Ohio can be rather beautiful when it is allowed, the trees line the street and only the amber glow of the occasional street lamp illuminates the way. Rufus was fascinated by the scenery. He looked out the window like a dog, one foot on the arm rest, the other on the sill of the window. When we reached the town of Streetsboro, commercialism opened up through the trees. Lights from the gas stations rattle the peaceful country drive zone you were in.
There’s one final turn through this small commercial town that sprouted up around an off ramp. This was a rather massive place, not only was Interstate I-480 beginning and ending here, but the toll road I-80 came through here. There was a Wal-Mart, dozens of hotels, restaurants, possibly a movie theatre and at least six different gas stations. As we hopped from the main drag onto 480 Westbound Rufus grew tired of the outside world. He climbed into my lap, curled up and went to sleep. He purred the entire way. Gentle reader, if you are a cat person and you ever get the chance to experience a night drive with a purring cat, do it.
Rufus does not like to be treated as luggage, or as a toy. He is not here for our enjoyment and he is not here to be carted around like an accessory. Rufus wants to be treated as a living being. When he goes to the vet, he rides in the passenger seat or in my lap.
I hope that this new kitten can be the same relaxed and lovely personality as Rufus. He will undoubtedly be curious about his new environment and his new people. There will be a period of adjustment for Rufus as well. Until the little one, we are calling him Ezio (for now), sees the vet at the end of next week the two will remain separated. It will give them time to get the scent of each other. When Ezio is cleared for launch I will allow them to make visual contact, hopefully through a baby gate. Perhaps my Rufus will fall in love and want to be friends with the little kitten. Or Perhaps Rufus will be rather threatened by its presence.
I can only postulate based on experience from dog sitting. But that is another story and worthy of its own blog.