Thursday, November 15, 2012
“This little Baby Bill . . . No, you’re not allowed . . . No, don’t scratch . . . ,” all said in sweet and cooing tones, the tones of a man in love with his young son. “No, Billy,” he says but doesn’t mean.
I’m familiar with every move, every gesture, every word in this oft-played scenario between my sweetheart Steve and our strawberry blonde rescue kitty Billy. I’ve stood many times outside the kitchen and watched as Billy tried to climb up Steve’s rock-hard leg, those sharp kitty claws piercing Steve’s oh-so-human flesh. From a cat’s point of view, why would he think of it as anything but a handy tree stump?
“Not now, not ever,” says Steve, his voice rising in pitch on the “now,” and descending on the “ever.” Even though I’m upstairs at my desk, I know what Steve is doing – he’s picking Billy up ass over teakettle, bringing the kitty wide-eyed joy. Steve’s is a musical voice, the one I fell in love with 13 years ago. The one I plan to listen to forever.
When I hear him murmuring to our Billy downstairs, I smile. “We’re going to have to chuck the Billster,” he says with a foolish laugh. More clinking, more clopping. “Just chuck him.” The dishwasher tray clunks along as it’s pushed back inside, rattling the cups and glassware.
For me, this is the true measure of a man – how much does he love cats? Not “like,” you understand, but LOVE them -- insane, irrational, do-anything-for-the-kitty-kind of love. Cuddle love. Putting a special pillow and towel on his lap so Billy can lie there as Steve works at his desk, the kitty batting at pens and papers. Steve turning on the heater under his desk. The kitty must stay warm, you know.
Like any relationship, however, where one party mostly gives and the other party mostly receives, Steve and Billy have their “issues.”
Billy likes to bite his Daddy, not hard enough to break the skin but with enough pressure to get Steve’s attention, usually after Steve has tried to stop Billy from messing about on the desk. “He doesn’t like it when I curtail his activities – he doesn’t think it’s right,” says Steve with more patience than, say, if I were the one who’d been doing the messing about.
“Could you please get something for me?” Steve will often call up to me from downstairs.
“Got the Billster in your lap again, do you?”
“Yes, I know . . . it’s not right that we let them run our lives, but . . . ”
“Why don’t you just chuck him onto the floor?” I say but don’t mean.
“Not now, not ever . . . ”
Rosie Sorenson, MA, MFT
Award-winning author of: They Had Me at Meow: Tails of Love from the Homeless Cats of Buster Hollow
www.zazzle.com/theyhadmeatmeow for t-shirts, mugs, greeting cards, etc. featuring the cats of Buster Hollow
This holiday season, here are 3 ways to help your favorite animal group:
1) Give the gift of time- dedicated volunteers are always needed to help, even with things as simple as cleaning and giving the animals extra attention
2) Give a home- fostering frees up resources so animals groups can save even more lives. You can foster on a short term or long term basis.
3) Give a donation or charitable gift- groups are always struggling for money, and more money means more lives can be saved. You can donate to Alley Cat Rescue through Network for Good.