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CATS I HAVE KNOWN essay
by Richard L. Provencher
3/11/2008 / Pets
A dictionary definition of cat, states, "a small flesh-eating animal, often kept as a household pet" I prefer the definition of friend, "a person bound to another by affection, esteem, and intimacy.
And JC, a member of our family for almost eighteen years easily related to those words. Our dear black and white had our affection, our esteem and intimacy lasting forever.
She is surely roaming a field right now, in the cat hereafter.
At the age of eight, I learned how useful cats were. My father garnered mine wood for a modest price, but accompanying this furnace-burning material was a harvest of mice. They scurried around our basement in plentiful supply.
"Somebody do something. Please," my mother intoned.
A solution presented itself, as I noticed a small army of strays in our neighborhood. One at a time, I introduced at least six cats to our home. In a short while squealing from fleeing victims, was in full crescendo.
Opening the basement window later, allowed a flight of fur into the full view of day. That was the end of our mice problem. No further mine wood was purchased.
Whiskers, a one-fanged abandoned cat hung around our home for a few years. He was a brute in the evening hours, but allowed my young sister to dress him in doll clothes. Pat merrily chatted, pushing the huge cat around in her baby carriage by day.
I began to discover the caring these felines had for humans.
Louise, my all-white cat helped this bachelor take better notice of a lovely lady. Esther, later my wife, was not really fond of cats at first. But she was the only lady friend who received the gift of four padded feet jumping into her lap, each visit.
After a tragic accident with a car fan belt, Louise departed from this world. I am sure a special place was reserved for such a loving friend.
Fluffy joined our family after our visit to the SPCA. Her angora hair, and calico colors made it easy to name her. She followed us everywhere in our walks around the neighborhood. And this little bundle of fur had the habit of chasing after the largest dogs that seemed to tolerate her.
She loved to lie tightly against my side each night, fearing to let me out of sight. And as she approached ten years with us, her health began to fail. We decided to get her a sister.
A later visit to the SPCA brought me into contact with JC, who repeatedly pawed at the cage door. She sensed her allotted time in care had run out. We named her JC, after the Jayco trailer we purchased the same day.
Now Fluffy and JC thoroughly enjoyed each other's company and then accompanied us in our move to Pictou, Nova Scotia.
Unfortunately, Fluffy passed away a short time after our arrival. Her remains were laid to rest in the rich red soil of Nova Scotia.
Due to the strangeness of living in a new neighborhood, JC got lost for several days. But her remarkable cat-chatter earned overnight attention from a couple nearby. Several months later, when we settled in our country home near Truro, JC was in her glory.
Three acres of woods were explored, trees scratched and a rich vein of mice available outside and in our earthen basement.
Then, Diane, our niece surprised us with a Christmas gift. "Boots was really a friend for Fluffy," she said. He was a one-year gray and the first male we had. Both cats became inseparable. They played as mother and child.
One day, JC came crying to the house and led us back to where Boots was 30 feet high in a tree, fearfully swaying in the wind. We rescued her. Unfortunately Boots was soon to be run over by a car.
It was a sad time for everyone, but more so for JC. In fact, she often lay on Boots' grave, located between two huge maples in our back yard. She truly lamented the loss of her adopted child.
We were disheartened when it came time for JC to go to sleep. Our friend lived with our family for almost twenty years. We had shared so much in the great adventure of growing older together. And years later, we still miss her so.
* * *
Richard L. Provencher 2006
Richard enjoys writing poems; many of which have been published in Print and Online. He and his wife, Esther are also co-authors of stories and a print novel. They are "born again" Christians and very busy in their church, Abundant Life Victory International, in Bible Hill, Nova Scotia.
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