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Distemper and Tika Marika Thunderpaws

by Marijo Phelps  
9/04/2009 / Short Stories

Our eighteen year old kitty had just died a peaceful death at home. She was peaceful and we were sobbing. Even Mick, my husband who had said "the only good cat is a dead cat" shortly after we married cried.

We got Mitzi on our second anniversary but that is a whole different story. I called our vet to tell them to pull Mitzi's chart, that she was no longer with us.

Elizabeth answered "Marijo, we have kittens and there's a CALICO!"

Now how Elizabeth knew calicos were my very favorite is a mystery to me because we had never talked about calicos.

I mentioned that Mick had said "read my lips, no more cats" as he left the house that morning. Yes, besides Mitzi we already had 3 other kitties, which were very much alive and well. Never mind.

Within a few minutes I was in the truck heading the 65 miles to our cat specialist to see "the calico".

I got to the vet's and what Elizabeth didn't tell me was that they had nine kittens. Oh, but that calico! She was mostly black and cinnamon and had a big black stripe right down the middle of her cinnamon nose. Her face looked like that of a tiny lion. She was the smallest of the kittens but was taking on all of them she could grab at once.

None of the little ones were old enough to leave yet. I left and decided to hush and pray. I surely didn't know if she would fit in with our other kitties or not. If she was healthy. If she would be the one who made all the others turn up their noses at the litter box or make Mick's kitty scale register "tilt".

Several days went by ( Mick knew I had seen THE CALICO and I really managed to hush) and I was in town again. My cell phone rang and there was my hubby. "Ah, what are you doing?"

"Just did the Wal-Mart run and am headed to grab a taco, why?"

"Well, would you like to meet me at the vet's, JUST TO LOOK." I could hear the strength and resolve in his voice.

YAHOO.. "Sure honey, what time is good"
About twenty minutes later, we were in the kitten room. Our vet has a very droll sense of humor. He watched Mick peering into the kitten cages. Walked over, picked up THE CALICO and another kitten who looked just like our Mitzi who had died. He plunked one kitten on each of my husband's shoulders and walked out of the room saying "I think you need TWO."

I was smitten. Mick? Well, he placed both kittens safely back in their cages and turned to me "We looked, let's go"

My adrenalin was flowing but I knew to HUSH. We said goodbye and I went back to running errands and praying again.

Later that afternoon I got a call. "Did you really like those kittens?"

No brainer. "No kidding!"

"Well, I guess we could get one if you really think we need another cat."

"Mick! That's wonderful!!! What one do you like?" I was fully expecting him to pick the one that looked like Mitzi.

"Well, I guess you could get that monkey faced calico if you want"

I called in to place her on "reserve" and picked her up a week and a half later when she was old enough to come home.

No name came to mind we sure weren't going to call her Monkey Face if I had anything to do with choosing! She was so tiny when she chased a ball she fit under the toe kick in the kitchen. And chase she did. She totally overwhelmed our 17 pound orange tabby, biting, jumping and attacking him more than our Birman girl or Siamese. Our Siamese, Stormy, was the smartest. He'd play with her and when he'd had enough simply place both paws over her and hold her down, that worked!

The next morning she had slowed down a bit and had thrown up twice and had some blood in her stool.

I called the vets and the tech and I decided she must have gotten into the "big kitty" food and it didn't agree with her. Back to kitten food and watching her more closely.

We had had her for a week (still no name fit) and the phone rang. "Marijo, one of the kittens died from distemper, doctor wants you to bring the calico back, at our expense, for observation and so we can get right on it if she gets distemper."

I hung up thinking maybe that's why she vomited and had the blood the nurse in me was going nuts. Not this precious little fire ball who thundered across wood floors and gave the older cats "what for"!

I got her back to the vets and asked friends to pray for this little bit of fluff. The God I know was interested in the tiniest parts of our lives, even newly adopted kittens.

They wanted to keep her for a week. Mom and I went in to visit and play with her. I think even Mick said a prayer or two.

Although 2 of the other kittens got sick, THE CALICO was fine on her expense paid vacation. We finally got her back and got the hissing and growling routine from the older cats all over again.

Our little one was running and chasing and we thought about calling her Kitty Katika but that didn't quite fit.

"She has thunder paws, doesn't she?" asked Mick with a big grin on his face.

"Kitty Katika? Naw, I knew a gal once named Marika." Somehow I didn't think I wanted to hear that story but turned out she was a missionary from Sweden

"Hey, how about Tika Marika Thunderpaws?"

We finally had a name for our little distemper survivor and were incredibly relieved this little wild one had made it through.

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About Self

Saved by His grace in 1974, from 9 years of professing atheism into His loving arms. RN for 23 years, missionary with YWAM then statistical analyst for Every Home for Christ over 9 years. Living with my husband in the middle of a mountain meadow. GRIN! Wanting to spread the good news

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