Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Barn Kittens and Backyard Spirits

I have had many cats as pets through the years. My first was King Tut, Anne’s cat, which became part of my family when Anne and I married. Glancing through some old pictures today, I found images of the second and third cat members of my family.

Anne and I were in the oil business. A drilling contractor named John was dating Sheryl, a young woman that worked for Anne and me. He had a little ranch on the west side of Oklahoma City, several horses and a barn. Blessed by many barn cats, he gave two kitties, Buster and Squeaky, to Sheryl. Sheryl kept Buster and gave Squeaky to Anne and me.

Squeaky was the first female cat Anne or I ever owned and neither of us realized how fast cats mature. Because of our oversight, Squeaky became pregnant and soon had a litter of beautiful kittens. We soon found good homes for all the kittens except for one, a calico we kept and named Chani after a character in the Dune series that Anne loved. Squeaky and Chani soon became inseparable.

The oil business soon busted. Anne and I lost our home and moved to a rent house, Chani, Squeaky and Tut moving with us. During the difficult years that ensued, we moved five times. Some of the cats didn’t live that long but Chani made all five moves.

Calicos are three-colored cats and they are always females. Chani was a gorgeous, three-colored cat with a distinctive voice. She always let you know when she was around. She loved affection and would live on your lap, if you would let her. She also liked to drink water from the tap.

Chani died at the age of nineteen, still the queen bee of our cat family until the time of her death. I buried her in the flower bed where she liked to lie, among the flowers, in the spring and summer. Spirits abound around the Wilder household and I’m sure she still holds sway over her departed brothers and sisters. I’m also sure Squeaky is also around and that she and Chani are again inseparable.

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