Dear reader, I’m sure you recall a post from December, called One Year. It was written about a cat that I raised from a kitten into old age.
Currently, there is another cat on my knee as I type this. She’s black, with long fur and pretty eyes that are golden. She met Quazi, and my best friend thinks Quazi stuck around to train her before he left, because he knew I would need support.
Honestly, I’m inclined to agree. Without Quazi lasting those few months of overlap, I would have had so many doubts. Was I pre-emptively replacing him? Was he just a breaking toy from my childhood? Because he stayed as long as he did after I picked up a little kitten from the street, I have very few doubts. Velvet is not a replacement, but the next step in Quazi’s curriculum.
Quazi taught me the hard lessons. Velvet, and her father, Special Fred, are teaching me that I can take on Quazi’s role. I can give love patiently.
Allow me to start at the beginning of Velvet’s story– with her father.
Special Fred arrived in the arms of a tween-aged foster child, sent to my family by the state. He was born with a funny-looking tusk, and grew into a muscular creature who raced around often. He left with the child, only to return when she couldn’t take care of him any longer.
Fred slept with my mother and Quazi at night, up on my mom’s big, warm bed. There was room for both of them, even though they weren’t fond of each other.
Fred loved to go outside– always against our wishes as his people. He would run away, only to either return on his own, or to be hunted down and found at the local cat lady’s home, to be lured back to our arms with Quazi’s special tuna.
One of those times he escaped, he met a lady cat named Two-Tone, and the usual happened between the two. Two-Tone gave birth to several kittens. There were five, but I recall the names of two black kittens– Thelma and Louise. Both took after their mother, save one had a kink in her tail. I asked Two-Tone’s owner if I could take one home, and she said yes. I did, and lied to my mother about her origins, and why I brought her into the house.
The little one was covered in fleas. I gave her a bath, kept her isolated for a few days while I fed her garlic-infused cat food as a home remedy, in case she had worms.
Finally, I let her out. She stayed in my room for a time. House training wasn’t difficult– until she got fleas, Two-Tone’s owner kept the kittens in the house.
Velvet respected Quazi, and often defeated Fred in play-combat. Out of sheer giddiness, I named her Atana Velvet Ashaba [lastname] after two book characters from Eddings stories and a location.
The little kitten grew and matured. She stuck to me like glue, though when I left, she forgot who I was. Gentle reassurance (and a bit of insane chasing) always brought her back around in a few days. She came to learn that sometimes, I leave home for weeks at a time, and sometimes, I have strangers live in my bedroom for weeks at a time.
She’s now a very laid back kitty– until I pull out any type of spray bottle. I think she remembers all too clearly the lessons about ‘where not to pee and swat things.’
As for Fred, who used to flee at the sight of me, I have been patient. I pay attention to what kind of attention he enjoys, and I give it to him gently and slowly. If he runs, I only sometimes chase him (it’s a habit, I blame Quazi). He’s come to enjoy my attention, and lets me hold him longer than anyone else before he becomes irate.
I think Quazi taught me well, and I hope to continue to do him proud.