Friday, June 29, 2012

The Cat Club Reconsiders Pottawatomie

LT and Rudy had decided that rather than tell everycat they knew about Pottawatomie individually they would hold a special meeting of the Cat Club rather than wait until Friday.  LT delivered the message to Greymalkin, and Rudy ran over to Bunny’s house to tell the crew there to come tonight at sunset.  Then Rudy and LT sat down to decide exactly what to tell everyone.  There would be some disappointment, they were sure, when it was revealed that Pottawatomie was not the idyllic place they all thought it would be.  They were sure Peep had told the cats some of their adventures, but probably thought the two travelers were holding out about all their discoveries. 

Well before sunset cats began arriving.  Greymalkin was first, explaining that her human had gone out to play bingo, and she’d taken the opportunity to come early.  LT was feigning sleep on top of his summer house and Rudy had decided to stay inside until it was time for the meeting.  Neither wanted to repeat the same information over and over and over.  Bunny, Snoogums, Mr. Snuggles and Ladybug arrived next.  Snoogums tried to get LT’s attention by clearing his throat near the summer house, but LT continued his ruse of sleeping.  So, the five cats tried to get information out of Peep.  Well, Peep had agreed not to say anything about the trip until Rudy and LT could tell it themselves, and in fact they hadn’t told her much more than what she’d read in the emails she’d received.  Anyway, David had been around and Peep liked to spend time with him, so she hadn’t tried very hard to get the scoop from the cats.  David had lots of his own stories to tell, and plenty of them involved LT and Rudy. 

When the sun had dropped below the horizon Rudy regally made her way out of the house.  The Daddy had given her an extra special grooming this afternoon, and she knew she looked marvelous.  She stopped at the top of the stairs on the deck and posed for the assembled cats.  Fuzzy, who had decided to come, whether or not he was still a club member, made a rude noise and Mr. Snuggles cuffed him.  LT walked leisurely toward the group and when seated called the meeting to order. 

He asked Greymalkin to read the minutes of the last meeting, as per procedure, and everycat protested.  This wasn’t a regular meeting, they didn’t want to follow protocol and would they just get on with what they found in Kansas.  LT gave everyone a level look and again asked for the minutes of the last meeting.  Greymalkin rolled her eyes and gave a very condensed version of the minutes, which were instantly approved by the group.  Then LT asked for reports on old business – bee patrol, bear sightings (although there hadn’t been one in more than a year) and several other very old business items.  Finally he recognized Rudy to speak and asked her to make her report about the trip to Pottawatomie. 

Rudy began with the news about the reunion with Ginger and her kittens.  Loaf Cat and Greymalkin had never met Ginger, and weren’t awfully interested in hearing how well the kittens had turned out.  Bunny and Ladybug were delighted to hear that she’d be coming east later in the summer, but the cats wanted to hear about the special stuff – the beauty salons, the special cat houses and the delicious meals. 

Rudy took a deep breath and told them about meeting Maggie, Chauncey and Fiona. That they had their own house that was big enough to hold a human family and that yes, they had special meals cooked just for them.  None of the cats except Peep had heard this information, as Rudy had asked Peep not to tell them much about this.  The eyes of the cats grew bigger as Rudy told of the crystal and porcelain dishes and the incredible food.  When she described the climbing structures and the sumptuous cat beds she heard soft oohs and ahs from the group.  Then she took a deep breath and told them about how the trainer and the other humans treated them.  Snoogums said he didn’t believe her.  Those cats had told her that to keep Rudy from feeling jealous – humans couldn’t be that insensitive to the cats.  Rudy shook her head and said she’d seen part of it herself, and believed every word they’d said.  The disappointment on the faces of the Cat Club was hard for LT and Rudy to bear, but Rudy continued with her story. 

There was a salon in Pottawatomie that was called Kitty’s Beauty Shop they had passed one day, said Rudy.  Faces lit up again until she said that it was just a salon for humans run by a lady named Kitty.  Then she told of her experience with the policeman and her stay at the Wamego Pound.  The cats were furious that this indignity had been done to their friend, and but listened silently as she told the stories of cats that had no humans, were neglected or abandoned. 

LT took over the narrative and recounted the day he and Rudy had traveled with Ginger and Titus to visit some folks in Pottawatomie that did treat cats well.  There were tears in some eyes by the time he’d finished telling of Mandy, Mr. Jenkins and Harvey and no one spoke for a moment.  LT sighed and said that as far as they could tell, Pottawatomie was a place just like any other.  There were good people and not-so-good people and it was the same with the cats they’d met. 

“So, you’re telling us that the Pottawatomie we heard of when we were little doesn’t exist?  Maybe you were just in the wrong one, LT.  Rudy said she’d found others when she was researching it on the internet.  Maybe one of the others is the place our grandmother told us about.”  Bunny didn’t want to believe there wasn’t a special place called Pottawatomie for cats. 

Rudy and LT sighed.  They’d talked long into the night on the way home about this.  Was it a myth, a dream?  LT, being the more diplomatic of the two looked around the group.  “Well folks, I think that our mothers or grandmothers shared stories that had been passed down to them and had maybe been exaggerated over the generations.  Or maybe it’s like the humans telling children about Santa Claus; something to make them believe that there is some magic in the world, a marvelous place that is far away.  I personally think it’s a story cats tell to take their mind off their problems.  You know, ‘If only we lived in Pottawatomie it wouldn’t be like this.’  Perhaps it’s a dream cats could hold that maybe someday they could live there.  But you know, we did find some really special people in Pottawatomie.  They’re the same kind of incredible people we have around here, though.  Ginger said it – the Daddy was one of them when he didn’t make a fuss about her having kittens in his closet.  He’s also pretty incredible about making sure that any cats who come around here have food and water, even though it gets really expensive sometimes.  David was one of them, taking Rudy and I on the trip with him and treating us like travel companions instead of animals.  I bet each of us knows some people like that.  It’s just easier to take them for granted and dream about some faraway place where everything is perfect than to appreciate the ones we have.” 

None of the cats said anything for a moment, but they all looked thoughtful.  There were special people in their lives.  Loaf Cat thought of the little girl he’d grown up with.  Ladybug remembered a woman near their old home who’d taken in strays and found them homes.  Ginger recalled the receptionist at Tibet who had treats for every animal who came through the door.  And then they thought about the humans they lived with.  They shared their homes and their love with cats, and they didn’t have to do that.  It would be less expensive and certainly easier in many ways to live without cats around.  One by one the cats thanked Rudy and LT for telling them about their trip and headed home to show the humans how much they appreciated being the special people in their lives. 

Photo courtesy of Kettukusu -

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