In the back of a carrier there was a small young cat, trying to be invisible. I felt sorry for her because in addition to being terrified, she was somewhat homely looking. The cats in the other carriers were pawing at passersby, trying to get attention and get that forever home. Not this one. She was a muted short-haired pastel grey tiger cat. That is my least favorite color but I asked to hold her just the same. (Do you ever wonder if cats up for adoption think to themselves, “oh no, I don’t want a blonde owner!”)
She stuck her head in my armpit hoping that I wouldn’t notice her. Her head was too small for her body and her ears stuck out. No one was going to take her so I told her, “looks like you won the lottery, Toots!” (Most of my pet friends want to come back in another life as my pet.) She will get attention, care, proper nourishment (probably too much of that), exercise and two feline friends to cavort with. That is how Hazel came to join our family.
She was shy around people – still is. We have some friends who have never seen her. But she and Mollie, our other female cat, were BFFs right out of the gate. I never worried about our old male cat, Jake. Hazel loved him too. Actually, she loves him too much. Four years later she still follows him around and smells his butt. God, why do cats do that, especially right before they cuddle up to your face? He occasionally cuffs her on the head (gently of course) but only when she is really pestering him.
Our cats have chores. Here are Hazel’s chores:
- Resident doily – You remember doilies, those lacy things that your grandmother put on tables and other furniture. Hazel drapes herself on tables and credenzas to add ambience.
- Food tester – She will eat any food first to determine if it is good enough for consumption. Occasionally she does get carried away and tastes just a bit too much.
- Upholsterer– She spends considerable time enhancing the furniture with soft fur. She strives to do it evenly and with taste.
She has one peculiarity — she emits distressing flatulence when she is frightened, much like a porcupine shoots quills. Yes, she is an A1 farter! She shoots them right out and the room requires fumigation for normal habitation. Even the other cats can’t stand it.
Hazel’s most terrifying moment happened early one morning. She was lying on the windowsill in the second floor bedroom. When she does this, she tends to throw her weight into the screen. All 17 pounds! Didn’t I tell you that she would get nourished? Something disconnected and the screen flew out the window, followed closely by a frightened cat. I was in the bathroom getting dressed. The beloved husband was on the screened porch, drinking coffee. He saw it happen – screen, follow by cat, followed by my screams. I raced down the stairs to the back door to find a slightly disoriented cat walking out of the lilac bush which broke her fall. She came in the door. We checked her and nothing seemed to be broken. She went right to her dish, had a bite to eat and ran back upstairs to lie on the windowsill. She was renamed Hazel the Flying Wallenda. I never said she was the smartest knife in the drawer, did I?