Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Ariel the Ancient
Everyone who knows me knows that it's a Cat's World here at the Cottage. It all began over 2o years ago with Bela (Lugosi) my older son's cat that adopted us when we lived on Main Street in Chesterfield. Just after we moved out to the country, Bela being the sole cat in the family, Ariel came to live with us. Mac, having retired from the Navy and now bored with having time he never expected to weigh so heavy on his hands, took a job with the County Chain Gang overseeing the Prison Camp inmates that did not go out on the road. There was a mother cat there who had had her litter of kittens in an old abandoned car on the edge of the property. At about six weeks of age they started coming onto the back porch at the Camp Kitchen to get leftovers the inmate cooks would leave them. One day Mac found that four of the five kittens had been run over on the little dirt road and killed. There was one left, and he managed to capture her and kept her inside his coat for last hour of work. I had already gotten home from my own job with the Sheriff's Department when he came in. He walked into the dining room where I sat having coffee and opened his coat to reveal two huge green eyes attached to a ball of fur. I sort of groaned my disapproval, all the while reaching for the tiny furball. This was in the end weeks of 1999. I took her to our Vet and had her spayed, got all her shots and Bela took over the training of Ariel. I was afraid he was going to kill her, but he was very protective of her. We had just lost our Digby, the Old English Sheepdog, the month before and Bela had gone slightly crazy with grief. I say slightly, but that's being kind. Bela went totally round the bend, once hitting Mac with a balled up paw so hard it knocked his glasses off and left a red spot on the side of his face. Credit to Mac for not punching him back...but Bela took to the tiny Ariel like he was her father. The little black kitten grew, but not very much. She was and is tiny and slender, the only cat I've ever seen with such a pronounced profile, and rules this place with an iron paw. She will be 19 years old in September if our math is right. She sits with me at the computer when I blog, so picture me typing and looking over her Majesty as I try to make sure there are no typos. My girl is slowing down these days. She doesn't do much but eat and sleep . I know that she may be nearing the end and when it happens there will be no consoling Mac. She is such a central part of the family that it will take us a while to recover. I'm trying to prepare myself for the inevitable, but I know that when she goes she will be joining Digby ,Duffy and Ripley...Bela, I'm not so sure...God may have him in Purgatory for a bit, doing penance for smacking his master.