The Writer's Life

What Are You Looking Forward To This Year?

I have decided to participate in the blogging Challenge for 2011. The challenge is to write a blog daily or weekly for this year, and I have opted for the weekly blog. As I stare at this question, wondering about my own answer, I am interrupted by the hiss and growls of my cats at play. Chekotay, affectionately named after my favorite Star Trek character, is an orange and white tabby-stripped cat whose years are climbing, making him cranky and fussy during the cold winter months. Luckydust, a five-month-old gray and white tabby-stripped kitten, is full of pent-up energy and has found a way to harass my other kitties in endless torture. While Salem, once a spastic ball of energy, is currently resting his oversized three-year-old body contently in a cushioned rocking chair. 

As I look back on the history of my three darlings, I see rescued cats. Chekotay was born of my beloved white cat, Cuddles. He was a cat destined for another home. Upon his arrival as the firstborn of the litter, my heart took a spiraling nose-dive as I gazed into his tiny little face. My spirit soared the day he learned to climb into my bed and snuggle his petite little body under my arm, a tradition that continues to this day. He wasn’t supposed to stay with us, but he warmed my heart, and I demanded that we keep this precious animal.

When my current husband and I were engaged, we decided that he needed a cat, too. So one Friday evening in October, we drove by a farm with a “Free Kittens” sign in their front yard. The family of this farm graciously welcomed us into their home and introduced us to the mother and her brood of kittens. The mother cat was a gray and black stripped-tabby cat. She was wild with no home to call her own. The family rescued her with her newborns in hopes of giving each of the babies a home, and then they were to spay the mother before they sent her back to the wild. The entire pack of kittens shared their mother’s markings, except for one; shy and timid Salem. With Halloween so near and the horror stories about what people did to black cats during this time fresh on our minds, Richard scooped him up and decided to take him home. It took Salem a couple of days to finally venture out of the bathroom. When he did, we soon discovered that we would suffer sleepless nights due to his highly energetic nature.

Luckydust is a recent rescue. One that breaks my heart every time I think of the circumstances. It was a warm and dry late September afternoon. I drove to the country market on my way home from work. As I walked up to the door, I noticed a beer box sitting on the ground beside the door. Thinking nothing of it, I walked inside and waited in line for the cashier. Then, I heard it; a tiny mewing.

I immediately questioned the cashier, and she told me a kitten was in that beer box on the other side of the door. I ran outside to find a tiny five-week-old kitten that had squeezed himself out of the small hole in the box used for a handle. I picked up his malnourished frame, and he purred loudly in my ear as he showered his affection on my cheeks. I quickly learned that someone had thrown the cat and the box out of their car window while driving at highway speeds. I was determined to make sure that this cat would never see the inside of a shelter. After bathing, feeding, and bringing him back to optimal health, he introduced himself to the other living beings in our home. He loved everyone fearlessly, even the big chocolate lab we call Bear.

As I look forward to this year, I see another year full of activity. Luckydust has a neutering appointment in two weeks, Chekotay will turn 13 in March, and Salem needs some cheering up since Luckydust has stolen his spotlight. My stepdaughter wants to exercise her rights and move from Tenessee to live with her father in Michigan. We must find a home to accommodate an extra body by the next school year. My husband will still attend college as he focuses on obtaining his RN degree, and I will continue writing while searching for a paying job.

I see struggles, but I also see the joys throughout the coming year. Most of which will be with my nephews; another season of football with Devon, Guitar Hero with Joey, Chuck E Cheese with Nathan, and cuddling baby Scotty. Then there are the girls as I rejoice with them in their accomplishments and encourage them to continue to improve themselves while loving and supporting them in their decisions. 

Through all this, my cats will still be there as I awake in the morning hours to push them aside so that I can climb out of bed for a mad dash to the bathroom and watch them scurry to their dish as I give them fresh food and water. I look forward to their countless purrs and hilarious antics as we watch television. Then, at the end of each day, as I curl up in bed with a good book, Chekotay will nestle under my arm, Salem will snuggle by my feet, and Luckydust will nudge my book out of my hands; for it is their constant love and affection that I seek each day, and it is my love, shelter, and warmth that they seek each night.