My first cat


When my mother and stepfather recently moved from a farmhouse to an apartment in downtown Ottawa, one of their two cats had to be left behind with the house’s new inhabitants, it being a little too feral to be suited to city life. She was telling me that things are quieter now that they’re down to just the one lazy housecat. But at least they have the one. “Can you remember us ever not having a cat?” she said.

“I can, actually,” I said. “Before Catnip.” Catnip was the name of the kitten who wandered over from the barn next door when I was around five. (Ironically, she couldn’t tolerate the actual catnip herb.) We took her in, and for about three decades afterward, my mom has pretty much continuously had at least one cat in the house.

I didn’t remember us having one before Catnip, but my mom says we had at least one in my lifetime. We had an orange tabby when I was about two. She doesn’t remember the name.

She says that when we first got it, my older sister monopolized it, and I was pretty put out. “Just watch,” my mom told me. “She’ll lose interest in it after a week.” My mom was right, and from then on, the orange tabby and I were inseparable.

My mom had a potted fern, and I’d run by and grab it, and the cat would come racing after me and swing by its fronds. “You killed the poor fern,” my mom says.

That cat and I were always together, she says. That is, except the time that it was in the field out back when it got run over by the hay baler and had its back legs cut off, and the dying cat came dragging itself home by its front legs in a trail of blood to our back step.

It’s probably best that I wasn’t with it then. And it’s probably best that I don’t remember that cat’s name.

7 Responses to “My first cat”

  1. I think I hate you a little for writing this post.

  2. 2 Scott

    This must be where the phrase “Some days you’re the hay baler and some days you’re the two legged cat” came from.

  3. Things I Shouldn’t Have Read #1.

    (Ah, who am I kidding? #1?)

  4. 4 hilly

    Holy Christ, that was worse than Old Yeller.

  5. 5 Eric

    Do I have two be the first two point out your typo? Sigh. Well I won’t (directly), but I left some pretty strong hints (two so far) that should help you two find it. So there.

  6. My God, Lynn. This is sad. I come here to be entertained, Mr. Bald and Depressing.

    Eric: Maybe it’s not a typo. Maybe the cat was little, but doubly feral.

  7. 7 Peter Lynn

    Ah. Typo fixed. Dumb Peter

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