Norm: The friend, The foe, The Legend pt.1

Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted an orange cat.  One spring day, when the weather was warming up I ventured into the garage to uncover my big wheel and take it out for a spin.  When I tried to move the dust covered trike from on top of the wheel barrow, I noticed wriggling shadows underneath inside the rusty basin.  I screamed and ran into the backyard to tell my dad of the discovery.

“Dad, Dad!  There’s squirrels in the wheel barrow!”  I yelped.

I pulled him by the pointer finger into the garage to show him the furry shadows wriggling in the darkness.  He laughed when he got closer and moved the big wheel off the top of the wheel barrow.  A few minutes later, my dad had the wriggling furballs situated in a laundry hamper with some old towels.  Turns out it was a litter of kittens!

The mom-cat was a short haired multi-colored cat.  She had dark chocolate tones, with carmel spots and she always “had her motor running.”  If you could convert her purring into energy, we’d no longer have to invent alternate fuel.  We gave many of the kittens away, we kept mom-cat and one little long haired orange kitten, Mugsy.  This cat obviously took after the father of the litter, Puff.  Our neighbor had a fat, orange, long haired cat who often hung out at the far corner of our yard.  Mugsy was the spitting image of his old man.  It was only a week later that Mugsy escaped through the back door, never to return.

Mom-cat stuck around though.  She was the neighborhood mascot.  She never told us, but we found out that she went around to all the other neighbors to get scraps.  She got milk from Wayne, tuna from Mickey, and friskies from us.  She was a fierce hunter as well.  Brought us birds, rabbits, and one time got in a scuffle with a ground hog that was trying to take over the neighborhood.  Never lost a fight.  She loved to be outside.  Winters were hardest for her, because we made her stay indoors.  She could never stay for more than a couple days without letting the air brush her whiskers, even if it meant treading through snow.  She hated using the litter box too.  Wasn’t natural, like the backsides of flower beds, or the sediment at the end of the block by the railroad.  She was one of a kind.  She stayed with us for 13 years.  I think we took her to the vet twice in those years, once for neutering, and another for a sprained paw.  On the 13th summer, she stopped coming home.  She wasn’t at the neighbors, not in the garage.  I had a dream about her that night and woke up the next morning to tell dad.  He said he had one too, it was then we knew she wouldn’t be coming back.  That feeling set in, that it was over.

A few years passed.  Discussion of another pet was brought up by me and my sister, but my dad was not on board.  On a trip to Michigan, my aunt told me she just had a new litter of barn cats, and there was a real good candidate for us.  She brought him in a little cardboard box with an old sweater inside.  He was tiny, not bigger than my fist.  He mewed tirelessly the entire car ride home.  He only quieted down when I held him up to look out the window.  He was like a dog, watching the scenery pass out the glass.  When I got him home, he took to dad right away.  He slept on dad’s lap while he was napping in the recliner.  He was rough and tough, loved to scrap and fight and scratch til he drew blood.  He was fierce.  We spent over a week trying to decide what to name our little long haired warrior, until one day it was chosen, Norm.

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Published in: on March 25, 2011 at 2:07 am  Leave a Comment  

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