Monday, February 9, 2009

Zebby The Cat

This is my cat called Zebra, but we call her Zebby for short - it's that nickname thing again. She is a sort of minature Bengali Tiger. But why call a cat Zebra ? I hear you ask. Well she is a tabby cat with lots of stripes so Zebra seemed appropriate at the time - although now I think it is a bit silly, sort of like calling a circus elephant 'Mouse' because of a colour similarity - but I am a human being, so what the hell do you expect? common sense?

She likes to sleep a lot. If I sit quietly while she is asleep with her eyes closed and I flick my fingers gently, her ears rotate in a sort of sleepy inquisitiveness to the sound. If I click loudly she opens her eyes. If I call her name she hops up, stretches lazily and pads across the floor to have her favourite therapy - chin and tummy rubbing. She is like a Zen Master, she has mindfulness down to a fine art.

Zebby is about 5 years old. I remember vividly the day we met. It was one of those days when I got chosen. I don't often get chosen. But when I do, it is something that I remember for a long time.

We went to the SPCA (Society for the Protection and Care of Animals) to get a cat. The cages with the cats were set out in a long row. The front of the cages which had the cosy sleeping part fronted one aisle. If you went around to the other side there was another aisle where the backs of the cages had their little play and walking around area.

As we walked along the first aisle we looked at lots of cats. Some were sleeping. Some were walking and miaowing. Many were active in one way or another. At the end of the aisle there was a little tabby kitten looking out through the bars of the cage. It looked a very intelligent little cat with shiny fur and bright eyes. The cat looked straight at me. I looked straight at the cat -
Was it love at first sight? I don't know about that, but I do remember this. When we went around to the back aisle, this was the only kitten in the whole row to run down the ramp to the play area of the cage and engage my eyes again. So I said to the SPCA lady - "let me have a look at that little kitten." - "Ok" she said and went and opened the little wire door. The moment she did that the little kitten leap out of the cage and started to climb up my jeans. It climbed as hard as it could past my jeans and up my jersey until it reached my shoulder.
"I think that cats got your cards marked" said the SPCA lady, "I think IT'S chosen you !
"I think you are right" I said. - and that was the end of that! - or rather a new beginning.

Zebby got a new home. She is still with us. She is an affectionate and very independent cat. (as cats are apt to be).

Sometimes she is Zen like - sometimes she just says "Please rub my tummy right now." But one thing I do know - This is the closest I will ever get to owning a Bengali Tiger!


janice said...

Alden, you big softie, I knew that tough-guy attitude was a cover for a marshmallow heart! A man who likes cats is a good man in my books, especially one who goes public with his affection for one of them. I don't, by the way, own one myself; had a lovely little gray persian kitten once that was killed right in front of my eyes by a friend's terrier, just couldn't bring myself to face that kind of heartache again. More of a chickenheart than anything, I GUESS.

Delwyn said...

So self contained aren't they - very zen! So you were chosen. Have you read Chaim Potok's book by the same name?

Alden said...

Well thank you for that Janice. The side of the story I didn't tell was that we got two cats that day, the other was a smokey grey cat. Very beautiful. It got killed by a car about six months later. It was a real shame because the two cats were great friends. It was a very sad thing to see. I buried it in our garden. Everyone cried - but that's life - living and loving risks losing doesn't it.
And you are not a Chickenheart at all -just a sensitive human being -perhaps you should risk again??

Alden said...

No Delwyn I haven't read Chaim Potok's book, but since you are recommending it I will certainly take a look at it. - Yes cats and dogs are the Yin and the Yang of domestic animals aren't they - the one so independent the other so dependent and devoted.

Mr. Kinder said...

Last December I lost a good friend, Frankie, a black cat who adopted our family some years ago when he decided to "move out" of the home nearby where he had been abused.

Frankie died of old age. I miss him and want to get another cat one of these days.

Thanks for posting about Zebby.

Alden said...

I like cats and dogs. Many years ago I had an Irish Setter called Mr Finnigan. He was big and beautiful and generally a bit loopy - not unlike his owner at the time. Cats are less work of course, being so independant - but on balance "a dog is really mans best friend" as they say.

Get another cat Dan. Animals are good to have around - research tells us that people with pets live longer and also as the cliche goes - a pet will never give you any backchat or disagree!

Janice said...

Alden - thought you might like this, given your last remarks.

Dear God: Is it on purpose our names are the same, only reversed?

Dear God: Why do humans smell the flowers, but seldom, if ever, smell one another?

Dear God: When we get to heaven, can we sit on your couch? Or is it still the same old story?

Dear God: If a Dog barks his head off in the forest and no human hears him, is he still a bad Dog?

Dear God: We Dogs can understand human verbal instructions, hand signals, whistles, horns, clickers, beepers, scent ID's, electromagnetic energy fields, and Frisbee flight paths. What do humans understand?

I wrote something about cats yesterday, but somehow made it disappear before it got posted!

Janice said...

PS - I did not write the dog thing.
And I don't know who did, although I presume it was some dog or other.

Alden said...

Thankyou very much Janice I enjoyed reading that very much.

It was obviously written by a deeply philosophical dog, a true seeker of the meaning of life - and I think that my last comment still stands. This dog you have introduced me to would never give any backchat - this dog would stand alongside, shoot the breeze, philosophise, chew the metaphorical cud and probably have a large repertoire of jokes about humans. - I love this dog already!

Janice said...

Good, I'm glad you liked it; if I come across more of his writing, I'll be sure to forward it to you!
One thing he forgot to mention about dogs is that they speak many different languages; I met one once that spoke Spanish, to my astonishment! And my cousin had a dog that could cry at will if it really wanted something. There is nothing more heart-rending than tears running down a furry little face. He was a clever little beast, God bless him!

Kathryn said...

Zebby looks like a very nice cat.
I recently acquired a cat too. His name is Spiffy. He really belongs to one of the girls that was living at my house but she has gone house-sitting now and Spiffy got left behind.
Spiffy and I are having a very lovely relationship now. We love each other very much. He shows it by waking me up and purring, cuddling up and kneading on my 'soft bits' and I show it by giving him food every time he makes a dash for the kitchen. He is very beautiful.
I love all animals but I especially like dogs and my plan was to get another dog when I moved back 'home'. However, Spiffy doesn't really like dogs very much and I don't want to upset him.