Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Family Pet (05/15/08)
By Sunny Loomis
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This small tortoiseshell kitten cost me all of six dollars at a pet shop. I
already had a name just waiting for a pet to tag it on. Her coloring was
mainly black with splashes of tan here and there. An evenly divided run
of the two colors descended the length of her nose. Not until I got her
home did I notice she had a few quirks. The vet confirmed she had brain
damage usually caused by the mother having a disease while pregnant.
It became obvious as Bali got older that her depth perception was off.
I’d wave a toy in front of her face and she’d bat at it and miss. She
learned when she wanted a drink of water to start lapping a couple of
inches above the water level, and then slowly lower her face until
her tongue hit water. Without this strategy her nose would submerge
and she’d come up sputtering.
Her eyesight would also prevent her from jumping onto the couch.
Oh, she’d try, but she usually bounced off the front. She couldn’t
climb easily or safely jump off things.
Once or twice I planted grass seed in the bottom of a cardboard milk
carton just for her. Bali didn’t quite get the concept of breaking off
blades of grass to chew. She liked the grass and would grab onto a
blade or two. Then she would proceed to carry the whole thing, the
grass clutched in her teeth, attached to the dirt in the carton, and the
carton itself, banging against her chest as she walked. I’d end up
tearing off a few blades for her. She could mange that.
I decided to have Bali spayed when she was young as I didn’t think she
would make a good mother. It was a rare event when she spent a night
away from home . The day after she was spayed my friend and I
picked her up at the vet’s office. The assistant brought Bali to me
who immediately wrapped her front legs around my neck as a child
would do, and loud purrs emanated from her throat. That was the
loudest I ever heard Bali purr.
Occasionally there were mice in the house. In this one area, Bali had
the patience of Job. She’d sit waiting for half an hour or more for
her chance. Life went on around her, but she was focused. It paid
off, as eventually I saw her with a mouse in her mouth. I always
wondered, with her eyesight how many mice she thought she saw,
and how she caught it. I’d get her to let go of it, but then she’d
go looking for it.
Bali was a runner of sorts, especially down the hallway in the house.
She’d get a burst of energy and take off. It was interesting to watch
her from behind. Her back end bounced at the same time she fishtailed
all the way down the hall. Sometimes her tail would whap the walls
on either side as she ran.
Once in awhile I’d take Bali outside. She was an indoor cat but she liked
the outdoors. I’d show her the harness and she’d lie on her back so I
could buckle it around her belly. She’d show interest in all sorts of things.
She sniffed rocks and jumped at grasshoppers. Once in awhile she’d
stalk a nearby bird.
Bali lived happily for thirteen years, and was very loving and the most
unique cat I ever had. She left a sweet lasting impression. It was the best
six dollars I ever spent.
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