Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Cat Club considers Pottawatomie

The Friday night meeting of the Cat Club was out of control before it even started.  LT, Rudy and Peep all came in talking about the guy who was heading to Pottawatomie, and there were at least four overlapping conversations going on when it was time to call the meeting to order.  LT finally went into the middle of the circle and looked each cat dead in the eye to shut him or her up so they could start. 

LT announced that the meeting tonight would be exclusively about the pros and cons of some or all of the cats going to Pottawatomie.  LT explained that the guy with the Fleetwood trailer seemed to really like cats, so he’d take probably along at least a few of the cats, providing they asked very nicely.  He then told the club with what he knew of Pottawatomie, its devotion to the wisdom of their cats and utter respect for them.  Rudy quickly followed with her descriptions of salons and hand-cooked food and cat beds everywhere you'd possibly want one.  Bunny said that she and Ladybug had heard the Pottawatomie story from their grandmother, but it was about how cats have their own houses that people come in only to clean or leave food, unless they are invited in to provide a lap or headscratch.  The cat houses were small houses, but people could get in if they just crouched a little bit at the doorways.  Snoogums had no information on Pottawatomie in particular, but his mother had told him that there was a town out west that took better care of their cats than their children.  He thought that might be Pottawatomie, or perhaps another town altogether.  Finally Peep shared what she knew to be fact about how the Potawatomi Indians had taken great care of their cats as they travelled from place to place and respected their cats.  No holidays, salons, consulting them for decisions in their lives, just kind care to a fellow species traveling with them. 

Predictably the cats focused on the attractive aspects of Pottawatomie, weaving the stories into a whole that included food, beds, salons and veneration of cat wisdom.  By the time they finished deciding what Pottawatomie must be like it was like ancient Egypt with modern conveniences.  Cats were worshipped, but treated to every possible luxury known to today’s cat.  All but Peep sat there sharing how it would be heaven on earth to live in or even visit a place like that.  Peep just sat and listened, occasionally shaking her head at their ideas.  It was a seductive idea, but not reality. 

When LT asked, “so, who’s up for a trip to Pottawatomie?” there was silence as the cats lowered their heads and looked at each other out of the corners of their eyes.  Finally Bunny spoke up.  “Well, as nice as that would be, I don’t think we could leave our human.  She needs us and wouldn’t understand that we were going just for a trip.  She’d think we were kittennapped or eaten by wild animals.”  Snoogums, Ladybug and Mr. Snuggles all nodded in agreement. 

Fuzzy snarled, “Yeah, I’d love to go, but who’d let a stray like me into their RV?  And anyway, I don’t like being that close to humans.  They’re unpredictable, you know.  With my luck I’d get dumped on the side of some interstate and be worse off than I am now, if that’s possible.” 

Rudy cocked her head and looked at LT.  “Looks like it might just be you and me, buddy.  I could do with a bit of travel – you know, broaden my horizons and all that.  So, do you think we can swing it?” 

The meeting broke up soon after and the cats drifted off to their homes.  Most sensed that LT was disappointed in them, but realistically, how many cats would this guy want to take on a trip across the country?  And who is to say that he’d bring them back to their home?  He might just go straight back to wherever he lived and none of them would see their humans again.  A trip to Pottawatomie was something a cat might dream of, but the negative possibilities made it just too scary to pursue that dream. 

Breaking his cardinal rule, LT followed Rudy into the house.  He usually didn’t go inside when there were strangers around, but if he was going to talk this David guy into taking them to Pottawatomie, he’d have to let his interest be known.  The two of them found the Daddy and David still sitting in the living room with their drawings and scribbles.  Thank the Great Cat they seemed to be about finished with that discussion. 

As the two cats walked into the room the Daddy said, “You know, my cats have always wanted to go to Pottawatomie.  Going there is like a pilgrimage to Mecca for cats.  I don’t know what they see in the place personally.” 

David laughed.  “And how do they communicate this desire?  I mean, I know what my cats want, but it’s usually things like treats or to be let outside.” 

The Daddy told about the times he’d found his computer’s web browser open to searches for Pottawatomie (in every possible spelling variation), that travel brochures for states with Pottawatomie counties showed up in the mail without his asking for them, and how he’d found Peep watching a documentary on the Potawatomi tribe when she was just a kitten.  David shook his head, but agreed that these cats seemed to be obsessed with the place.  Turning to the Daddy, David asked “So, could you spare one or two of them to take the trip with me?  It’s going to be pretty lonely for me, and I promise I’d take good care of them.” 

Rudy and LT sat with their eyes wide when they heard this.  Maybe they wouldn’t need to do any convincing.  The opportunity was here, right in front of them.  Rudy twined herself around David’s legs and he reached down to scratch her head.  LT stood stock still, trying to project a smile at David, as he wasn’t an overly affectionate cat.  The Daddy smiled and said he wasn’t sure, that he’d have to discuss it with the Mommy, as they were her cats too. 

The next hour was filled with David’s explanations of how he would accommodate the cats in his RV, which wasn’t too difficult since he’d already had it modified to be pet friendly.  There was a cat door with a very secure lock on it, so that it couldn’t open accidentally while on the road.  Once they reached their destination there was full electric service, so the air conditioning could be left on to keep the cats cool.  Ft. Riley would be providing a car for him to use, as getting the RV on base every day was too time consuming due to security concerns.  They could hang out at the RV park, and have the run of it every evening when he came back.  The two discussed the cats favorite foods and litter preferences, while Rudy and LT patiently listened. 

Peep wandered in and out during this discussion, but she made her disinterest known by keeping her head in the air, face averted and her tail flagged with the tip flicking.  After she’d done this several times, the Daddy pointed it out to David and joked that there was obviously one cat who was not interested in the trip.  David’s response was that he probably should leave at least one cat at home to keep the Daddy from getting too lonesome.  Rudy and LT shared a conspiratorial glance, and Rudy whispered that this was going better than she’d hoped.  Now, they’d just have to convince the Mommy to let them make the trip.  

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