Friday, February 22, 2008
This is Little Bear. She is old and fairly cranky but we put up with a lot from Little Bear. She is the much-loved pet of youngest son. He picked her out from a litter of kittens, most of whom were much cuter. Little Bear turned out to be the Ugly Duckling who turned into a Swan.
Youngest daughter selected a pretty little kitten which she named Cappy. We have always taken care of neutering or spaying our animals, but Cappy got in "a family way" when she was still a kitten herself. Cappy had 6 little kittens before we even realized what was happening and was so young herself, that nursing those kittens depleted her strength. The first evening that Cappy ventured out onto the porch after having the kittens, Little Bear promptly presented Cappy with a freshly caught mouse--laid it right at Cappy's feet. That's just the kind of cat that Little Bear is, thoughtful.
A few years later, during a sad and tumultuous move, I was transferring Little Bear from my car to our new house. She escaped into the July night. I searched, I called until my voice was gone, I laid in the grass behind the house and cried until I thought I would drown.
For months after that night, I spent every afternoon and weekend driving the back roads calling for her. We put pictures up in our little town and would get tantalizing calls from people who had just seen her farther and farther north. After each call, we would put signs up in the community from which the call came. Eventually, the calls stopped, Fall was slipping into Winter and night came on too early for afternoon searches, but still occasionally, I ventured on weekend drives north to drive down fire roads and call for Little Bear.
One day, I came in from work and there was a note from oldest son that said "Search the house for a long lost friend" and there was Little Bear, dusty and dirty, curled up asleep on youngest son's bed. We never knew where she had been.
For a while after that, she had terrible manners. She would jump up on the counter and tear into bags to get to food , but eventually she returned to her former elegance. I guess we'll never know where she was for those months, but we all feel like we would give a kidney to Little Bear if she needed it.