December 6 - What was your favourite gift given and/or received in 2012? (Thanks again, Hope, for the prompt.)
The biggest gift? Cats.
One I thought was found dead in the street. Cassie and I were rushing out the door to catch a flight to Washington, DC, to meet her sisters and clean out her late mother's apartment. We saw whom we thought was Pegasus, dead and bleeding from the mouth. We wrapped the dead cat up and put him in a cooler and let our friends know what happened. All weekend we thought we'd lost Pegasus and dreaded our return. When we got home Monday morning, all four of our cats appeared, including Pegasus. It was miraculous. So who was the cat that we found two days before? We'll never know. I brought the dead cat to the veterinary and asked them to give the animal a proper burial. However, I will never forget the gift of realizing that Pegasus, whom we thought was dead, is alive.
One night in September, Cassie informed me that our friend Michel had appeared in tears with a cat cage bearing Sabrina, his late father's cat. Another black cat, a longhair (we have had all shorthairs,) who had been abandoned since Michel's father's passing. He couldn't keep her as Ralph, their dachsund, wouldn't have it. Sabrina was clearly traumatized and spent most of the first two weeks with us in the cellar, though occasionally we would catch "Sabrina sightings," as she ventured upstairs for food. She had one eye which looked like it had cataracts but the vet later determined to be scar tissue (he also cleaned her teeth.) Gradually, she became more and more acclimatized and now Sabrina is our only lap cat. I haven't had one like this in years. She still mostly keeps to her living room sofa, but every day makes some sort of friendly appearance and explores a little more each day it seems.
This week it looked like we might lose Tibbs, who is Cassie's favorite. He is something of a fighter, somewhat aggressive and with a heart. He sleeps under the bushes along the driveway and yowls at us when one of us pulls up in a car. He likes to get into cars too. I thought I would be writing his obituary as he is diagnosed with feline leukemia and has been low energy with an undetermined infection, however, he is spending the night at the veterinary hospital and we are optimistic about his feeling better in the days ahead. Another gift. Nevertheless, I believe we have enough cats. ;)
Pegasus and Tibbs know what they want:
Aldous Huxley famously wrote, describing his advice to an aspiring novelist: "“My young friend,” I said, “if you want to be a psychological novelist and write about human beings, the best thing you can do is to keep a pair of cats.” And with that I left him. I hope, for his own sake, that he took my advice. For it was good advice — the fruit of much experience and many meditations." However, what he goes on to say is the psychology cats reveal is not always so pleasurable; in fact, he describes many "sermons of cats" as "depressing." I suppose I've given up the novelistic aspirations, if I ever had any, though I do enjoy the privilege of these spiritual beings' care and company.