In Other Media
The early Midwestern sun warmed the roof of the chicken coop next to the small brick house in the middle of a field. On it lay a small ball of orange marmalade tiger fluff in very great pain. Henry peered at it. Then he ran to get Dorothy. "Mother! It's Daffodil! She's hurt!" We called her Daffodil because she was born when the daffs were in bloom.
Dorothy ran to see. The kitten, a male of course, had argued with a passing car and lost. But it still lived, the pink tongue moving weakly as the only token of a mew. Ann and Leonard and the three year old materialized beside Dorothy. "Run," she said. "Get a cardboard box to carry her." Henry scampered with Leonard not too far behind. "Here," said Henry, offering a box only just bigger than the cat. Dorothy set it on the coop roof and gently lifted the kitten into the box. "Open the door for me," she said as she moved to the car. Ann was already there and opened the door and pushed the seat forward to give access to the back bench. Dorothy settled the box in back. "Ann you sit next to it and keep the box steady."
We piled into the car with a bit less of the normal pushing for position. Dorothy backed onto the quiet street and headed for the vet's.
Holding the box with the four of us variously attached to her, Dorothy faced the Vet. "Please take care of our kitty," she said.
We climbed back into the car and drove home.
Our attention quickly diverted to other concerns.
Seven weeks later the Vet called. "You're kitty is ready to come home." "you didn't put her to sleep?" said Dorothy who thought her statement's intent had been clear.
Back we piled into the black sedan and crowded round as the Vet placed a somewhat bigger orange tiger cat in Ann's arms while Dorothy wrote the check.
The accident damaged the cat's head. The Vet wired the jaw back together in seven places. Most of the cat's teeth were gone. The few stumps remaining were not able to hold her saliva. She drooled excessively and developed a champion case of halitosis. Her left eye had been on her cheek. The Vet placed it back in its socket, but it was sightless. She had the equivalent of a lobotomy. This removed all the normal predator aggressivity of a cat. It left her a most placid animal. No matter how often she was brushed she shed enormous bales of short orange hairs.
We shortened her name to Daffy. Naturally.
As an adult Daffy construed her life purpose to be an ambassador to those benighted humans who did not like cats. She had an unerring sense for the cat hater in the room. She would jump into the unwary guest's lap, compose herself with forepaws on their chest, shedding, and gaze fondly into their horror struck face. She exhaled a loud purr, a cloud of atrocious breath, and a river of drool as if to say: 'There, don't you just really love cats?'
Daffy loved to be in warm places. The freshly stopped and emptied dryer was her favorite. Inevitably one day Dorothy was in a hurry and threw the next load of wash in without looking. The dryer began turning and emitting incredible yodels, yowls, and yells. Dorothy stopped the dryer and opened the door. Placing one paw before the other with the dignity of a Third Dynasty Pharoah Daffy strode forth. Thereafter the rule was to look before filling.
For some reason Dorothy fed Daffy pork kidneys. She purchased them whole from the butcher shop. We cut them up into small pieces Daffy could gum and swallow. I am certain this contributed mightily to her stench-e-licious breath.
They all too frequently returned from Daffy's delicate digestive system. Pork kidneys are not a pleasant sight straight from the butcher's. They do not gain by liberal slatherings of feline digestive juices. The other problem with pork kidneys is that they go off in no time at all.
To the revulsion of my own digestion.
Once Daffy was minding her own business in the front yard when a large airedale interloped by and challenged Daffy with a belligerent 'Woof!' Daffy ascended a nearby elm. The dog woofed again and Daffy went out on a limb over the dog on the sidewalk below. Daffy looked at the airedale who gruffly woofed a third time. Daffy stepped further out on the limb past its ability to support her. It bent and Daffy slid. With grace she landed, on her paws, on the dog's back. She dug her claws in. The dog slowly (14/15ths of a nanosecond) comprehended that the tide had more than turned. He started running to evade the searing pain. Daffy, who was just regaining her bearings, declined to continue this passage, released her claws, and stepped to the ground.
Every summer we moved some hundred and seventy five miles north to the family cottage for the summer. This involved packing the needful into the car including us kids and Daffy. After much fuss and feathers we would finally set off down Main Street to the highway. This was not an expressway but a two lane road with grass verges. At about mile ten every time, going or returning, Daffy would begin to heave. On the first heave everyone began to shout. Everyone pushed Daffy to the floor near the door. The driver was in a race to pull off the road and get the door open before the inevitable. Sometimes they were fast enough. Daffy would stagger out and barf. Then, her motion sickness dealt with, she would climb back into the car to enjoy the balance of the journey undiscommoded.
If the driver was slow, the noise increased and, once the car did stop, much opening and closing of doors, exiting and entering of cars ensued as Dorothy cleaned the vomit out of the car and everyone changed seats in hopes of evading the smell.
One morning Daffy attempted to scale the kitchen counter top and failed bringing a certain amount of crockery after her. From amidst the shattered remains Daffy looked with great embarrassment up to Dorothy.
Alone Dorothy took Daffy, full of years, to the Vet to consult. The Vet agreed and Daffy was put to sleep.
The Vet did an autopsy and found the largest kidneys he had ever heard of, or seen, in a cat. He pickled them and displayed them thereafter.
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