Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Counting, singing and tears

Peep looked at the number of scratches for today. There was one cat, three paws and two scratches. In another two days she’d have two full cats of scratches. The Mommy had been gone a long time. She’d used up almost half the scratchable space in her secret location, since she kept crossing out and re-scratching every time she got to a new paw. Otherwise it was just too complicated. Peep sighed. It seemed like the Mommy would never get home.

She crept out of her secret place as she heard the Daddy in the kitchen. He was singing! The Daddy almost never sang. She walked in and looked at him. He was smiling and singing to Miss Rudy – some silly song about her. The Daddy was like that. He made up songs for each of the cats and sang them to them every now and again. She was glad he was happy enough to sing, but wished he’d sing to her and not Rudy. Now Rudy would be insufferable for the rest of the day.

Which she was, insufferable, that is. After the Daddy left, Rudy swaggered over to Peep and bragged about how the Daddy had sung to her and her along. “He saw you but he didn’t sing to you, Peep. I’m his special favorite cat! My own song, made up just for me. How many cats can say that?”

“Well, LT and I can at least,” said Peep sulkily. “Daddy made up songs for LT and me too. You’ve probably just never been around when he sings them to us. And the Mommy likes to dance with me to the Monk song. You know ‘It’s a jungle out there’. She thinks it’s fun to dance with me. She’s never danced with you, has she, Rudy?”

“Of course not!” Rudy replied indignantly, her fur puffing out just a little. “Cat’s don’t dance. We slink, swagger, skulk and occasionally slither, but we never dance. Most cats have too much dignity to dance, but I guess you don’t, Peep.” With that, Miss Rudy swaggered out the door.
Miss Rudy was feeling quite important, so she looked for LT, to brag to him about the Daddy singing to her. He was nowhere to be found, so Rudy decided to prowl the woods to see if she could find Fuzzy or Ginger. It was nice under the trees. The ground smelled of pine and warmth, and the hot sun didn’t get down to the ground where she was. It could be a disadvantage to have a black coat, in the summer it got very hot when the sun shone on it.
As Rudy worked her way towards Ginger’s house, she stopped to nibble some lovely fiddleheads. There was a damp patch under the trees where the ferns grew. Cats normally don’t eat greens, but Miss Rudy couldn’t resist tender fiddleheads. They tasted delicious and didn’t make her throw up like grass did.

She thought she saw Ginger through the trees and she called out her name. As she did, Rudy thought she saw another cat streak away into dense brush, but since she was looking to brag to Ginger she didn’t care.

Ginger sat where she was and waiting for Rudy to approach. “Hi Rudy, what are you doing all the way over here? I don’t usually see you out of your yard, unless it’s to harass Fuzzy.”
“Oh, I was just lonely for someone to talk to and couldn’t find LT, so I thought I’d come to visit. Did I just see someone leave?” Rudy tried to be conversational, although she was bursting with her own news.

“Nope, I was just enjoying the day. I think I saw a squirrel run by, though.” Ginger turned to groom her tail.

“Not important. Don’t you just love how silly your people can be?” Rudy was sly. With an opener like that, Ginger would have to ask her what her people had done, and she could tell her about the song and it wouldn’t seem like bragging.

“My people aren’t very silly right now, Rudy. They’re worrying about how we’re going to move within the next month. I’m so sad to be going. There are so many cats around here that I just love….” Ginger looked as though she might cry.

Looking suitably abashed, Rudy said “Ginger, it doesn’t matter where you go, as long as you have your family around you.”

“But some of these cats, well at least one, is more than family!” With that Ginger did start crying, big cat wails.

Rudy sat down next to Ginger and nuzzled her face. There seemed to be nothing she could say that would help, and to be honest, Rudy wasn’t big in the sympathy department. Gradually, Ginger stopped crying and just sat there, head hanging down.

“Well, here’s something that might make you laugh, Ginger. Listen to the silly song the Daddy made up about me,” and Rudy started to caterwaul the tune. She didn’t have a very good singing voice, even for a cat, and no one ever said that a cat could carry a tune.

“Rudy, you are so self-centered. I am miserable and you are bragging on your people. You’re not trying to distract me - you’re just showing off. Go away!” Her voice got louder with each sentence. She even took a swipe at Rudy.

“You need to get a grip, Ginger. It’s not like the world is coming to an end!” Rudy said this over her shoulder as she ran back towards her own yard. She saw LT as she came to the edge of the trees and ran over to him.

“Ginger’s losing her mind, LT. She just yelled at me and took a swipe at me.” Rudy loved talking about other cats.

“She’d just having a bad time. Remember she told us a ways back that her people needed to move? They need to move really soon, and she’s way upset.” LT looked a bit sad himself, so Rudy decided to cheer him up with her song. Before she could say anything, though, LT said, ”Rudy, if you don’t mind, I’m quite tired and need to sleep now. I’m not a young cat, you know.”

Rudy sighed and settled down on the deck. She decided that if no one else wanted to listen, she’d just sing the song to herself, which she did. Five times in a row. Without stopping.

Photo courtesy of Sage - http://www.flickr.com/photos/vickispix/853813239/

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