Thursday, March 15, 2012


Maybe I've told this story before, but I'm sitting in Paneras, having wrestled with writing and not quite willing to get up and leave and thinking about how I so rarely have time to blog, so I thought of the cats.

We had an exciting time this summer and late fall when K. rescued cats. She'd already found a home for a scrappy white cat that probably belonged to an old lady in a house several streets over. Either she died or the house was condemned because that creature took up in the back yard...which was fine. He'd come out to eat and I picked him up once. But he got more and more fierce as he took possession of the porch. But, K's belief in the power of Craig's list was accurate and she found a woman who picked him up, nice as could be, put him in a carrier and took him home with her to live in a big house with two other cats.

Then came the kittens that were deposited by their mother on the porch next door. They spent a good deal of time on my upstairs porch before Gina took two and I kept Sherlock, an extremely handsome fellow who looks just like his father who we see walking the street at odd times. Gina's cat Ariel looks very much like the mother who was, perhaps, living up the street, or at least perching in a driveway.

Then, when they were placed, another cat came along who turned out to be pregnant. That's a whole different kettle of worms. She had two orange kittens in her litter box in the basement. Because I wanted to photograph them, my obsessive need to record the development of....she got spooked and...

we thought she ate them, the idea of which caused a considerable amount of worrying and noise.

But she hadn't.

She'd hidden them under and around boxes in the dirtiest part of a very dirty basement, cinders and ash and dust, where I found them after sitting down there, listening for an hour, until I heard the tiniest peep. K. was enormously relieved and I was forbidden from photographing for a week.

She hid them one more time, for good measure, but this time K found them, again in a lot of dust and dirt.

It was an exciting time and I miss all the fussing, though I like waking up to Sherlock's purring as he peers into my face, waiting for a spoonful of wet food. He's definitely smart enough to be brain surgeon and has only broken three or four things. He's started to terrorize Bogie as the dog goes through his anxious hesitation about jumping up on the bed. Bogie is the sort of fellow who is an easy victim, a cross-look can send him into shudders. I often identify with his personality, though I try to bluff my way into appearing sturdier.

The man I was in love with when I was teaching at MIT used to sit on the couch with me and unexpectedly yell, "Boo." I screamed and nearly cried every time.

Clemente comes up behind me at the racetrack and grabs my neck and I scream every time. No matter how quietly I creep behind him, and how fast I grab him, he never flinches. Nerves of steel. I guess that's what it takes to have been a jockey.


  1. Hi Melissa. It's good to read your posts agin. as a child I remember the thought of a mother cat eating her kittens. i don't know now whether it really happened but it certainly left a deep lasting and awful impression, as awful as my ability like yours to be shocked by sudden and loud noises.

    1. i used to be a cat-lover, and there are still occasions, when, like your own individual experiences, that i remember some of them with love. but having gone through the horror of living with a cat-hoarder, i no longer have much affection for them. nowadays, it's just me and an old geezer pom, and we go through each new day with constant wonder and gratitude.

  2. Hi James, I think that you and an old geezer pom are perfect and apologize for not having read your poems in so long...they truly inspire me...
    and thanks Elisabeth...I am so terribly behind in reading blogs...