By mourning Emmet

I hate cats.
The little monsters crawl in your lap, purr and fall asleep and their spell is complete. As they say, dogs have owners, cats have staff.
I buried so many cats in Martinsville (you would not believe it) that I swore I would never have another. Then Waldo Walt brought Bill The Cat over one day and I said “just this once.” Bill got hit by a car a few months later and there was one more cat in the garden.
That was it.
But I have no power over Blue Eyes who is a PETA member and whose mail is at least 60 percent animal rights magazines. She won’t even tell me how much she donates each year. She was on a similar “no more cats” pledge 10 years ago when she drove home from work one day.
It was raining but she caught a glimpse of something black and white under the bushes. Naturally she ran over to investigate. It was a tiny cat, shivering in the cold.
You could guess what happened. She ran the cat into the house and called the vet, one of many, many calls she would make on “Kiwi’s” behalf. The vet warned her that this was a sick, sick little cat. She could die from the fleas which infested her tiny little body. Some of us would have left her there, or brought her to the animal shelter.
Blue Eyes wrote the first of many, many checks to the vet and brought her home.
Lucky cat.
The cat staggered across the kitchen floor shedding dozens of dead fleas. This cat, although bedraggled and sickly, was born a gourmet. She would not eat just anything placed in her dish. She would walk across the kitchen, smell the offering, stop and return to her bed until a suitable replacement appeared.
And it did.
Blue Eyes would shop the very top shelf at the grocery store, even buying lamb and veal, a tough act for a confirmed vegan. Needless to say I never got lamb or veal in the Blue Eyes kitchen. Eventually, she would haunt the pet boutiques in Camden to keep Kiwi alive.
Blue Eyes is an Olympic cheapskate, but nothing was too good for Kiwi. For a five-pound animal, Kiwi could make more noise than a railroad train whistle. You would do anything to shut her up.
She was an “inside cat” too fragile to venture out alone. I took to walking the beast on a pink leash. The fireman who lives on the block used to drive by, stop and drink the scene in without a word, then drive off.
There was no question who ruled the roost. If Blue Eyes had the nerve to stay on the phone too long, Kiwi would walk across the piano keyboard until the phone was hung up and she was loved and patted. She always reminded me of the bunny-boiling character in the movie “Fatal Attraction” who vowed “I will NOT be ignored.”
She loved Blue Eyes, of course. She tolerated me as the holiday substitute feeder and the only one who ever brought real meat into the house. She could smell an Amato’s sandwich from the other end of the house. Naturally, I had to share. Once I brought a spaghetti and meatball dinner home from Rustica. She jumped in my lap and pulled the plate down to see what treasure it held. Naturally I had to share.
Despite the heroic (and expensive) efforts by Blue Eyes, Kiwi got sicker and sicker. Her front paw turned around backwards, making movement even more difficult.
She got weaker and weaker. Last week, she came downstairs and let out a blood-curdling scream. Even for a loud cat I never heard that before. Now, her back paws had given out. We knew even before we took her back to the vet. He said it was time. The night before Kiwi jumped in my lap, a rare occurance when I had no meat. I believe it was to say goodbye.
Even Blue Eyes couldn’t argue with the vet. Kiwi died in her arms. We buried her overlooking the ocean in Owls Head. Blue Eyes ordered me to read a poem because she was crying too much to read it.
I cried through the poem, hoping no one would drive by. The pink leash was bad enough. I tell you, once they fall asleep in your lap, they own you.
I hate cats.