Friday, June 03, 2005

Of Cats, Story and Bunnies

Chris over at Woolybuns has her hands full with a litter of kittens rescued from a shopping mall, while my own cats, tired of the rains, have been begging for attention. I led a parade down through the wet grass to the bunny house this morning. Missy, the grand old girl, picked her way carefully down the path behind me, trying to keep her feet dry. Mani, the plump tabby, dodged through the seedheads that dangled into the path, beaten down by wind and rain. But Malachi, the black cat that is little more than a kitten, bolted out from the long grass, his fur soaked and his eyes witch-cat bright, with a tail fuzzed bottle brush full. He scampered before me leading the parade, dislodging showers of water as he ran.

All of my cats for years have come here after being abandoned by other people. Missy was a barn cat in New Jersey, so pretty that she was rescued before being maimed by a careless horse or treated cruelly by a stable boy. Mani showed up as a kitten at the store where I worked, squalling in pain and fear with one eye matted shut. It turned out that the eye was punctured, by accident or design I never knew. With care the eye healed completely. Malachi was another kitten abandoned at the store. My cousin caught him and brought him down to me. The frightened kitten spent three days behind the dryer in the bathroom before I finally went in and got him out. He was so happy to see me and he's been a joy since.

These three are some of the lucky ones. There have been cats abandoned here that are too wild to make friends, and eventually they are killed by cars or die of sickness or starvation. So many kittens are born that they cannot find enough food to feed themselves. We can only feed so many, and when there are too many unvaccinated cats in an area they seem to fall prey to disease. I've heard people justify abandoning cats (they call it dropping them here) by saying that a cat is independent and can take care of itself. I wonder what those same people say to themselves when they drop unwanted dogs.

On a brighter note, Sandra at Thistle Cove Farm shared an interesting family tale on her blog, carrying on the mountain tradition of story in fine style. Cathy is also thinking of family and stories with the coming of Memorial Day, and I've seen others write of memories as they spin, weave and create during this week of remembering. Jan and Valerie wrote wonderful answers to the interview questions, which by their nature kindled memory.

As for the future, cheerful bunnies are bouncing around the cages, crowding to the front when I come in. I like to flatter myself that it is petting that they want and they don't seem to mind my attentions. But really they are far more interested in the rustle of hay and the clatter of the feed bucket! Mom patiently endures games of king-of-the-mountain across her head and back and acts as home base for hide and seek. I tend my bunnies and wonder about the future of the German angora breed. Disturbing incidents (see Elaine's blog for an example) recently have led me to think that some people are putting their egos before the good of their own rabbits as well as failing to have an appreciation of the many wonderful qualities of the German Angora breed. Sad to see.

But it is still raining. The viburnum sags under the weight of wind and wet, with shattered flower heads tumbled across the lawn. Rhododendron has shed trumpets of pink across the broad green leaves to drop into deep puddles by the front door. The iris are making a brave stand, and I'm happy that the peonies remain tightly shut so that this rain will not drive the heavy flowers into the mud. A day of sunshine is promised for the weekend, with more rain following.

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