In 2007, we were informed that we'd have to move from the house we'd been renting since 1990 because the landlord was selling it. While looking for a new place to live, my youngest son's cat graced us with a litter of kittens. When they had just opened their eyes, we moved to the house we'd found to buy. My son was in Marine boot camp -- soon after, he was medicaled out for chronic injuires.
Not long after he got home, one of the kittens, a yellow-and-white boy, got his right eye scratched -- probably while fighting over titty with his littermates. The next day, his eye had swollen up and popped out of its socket, with the cornea and lens dried and split. My son found the kitten like that and, very upset, brought him to me, begging me to do something about it. The kitten was purring, snuggled into his hand in complete trust. All I could say was that we'd have to put the poor baby down. Having had to do that for one with infectious peritonitis, even that much money would be a stretch on our budget. My son got more upset, insisting that there had to be something else we could do. "Do you have four-hundred dollars for vet bills?!" I burst out, SWAGing an amount. "I don't!"
My son still had some pay from boot camp in his bank account. He firmed his expression and said, "Yes, I do have four-hundred dollars." That was most of what he had left. So we took the kitten to the vet.
The vet dropped his jaw and exclaimed, "Oh my god, the poor thing! What happened?!" We told him what must have happened, and my son told him how much money he had and where it was from. The vet got a notepad and started figuring. Waiving the office visit fee, charging us only his cost for all the supplies and his time for the surgery, including tax, it came out to almost exactly what I had wild-guessed.
My son brought home his four-hundred dollar kitten and asked for names of one-eyed men. We came up with Nick Fury, Snake Plisken, Odin, Rooster Cogburn and Xander. He chose Odin. Well-chosen, as the kitten grew up to be the biggest cat we had.
One morning, my husband left for work and forgot about the eggs he had put on the stove to boil. The burner was on high. The pot boiled dry. The eggs burned, then caught on fire, filling the house with thick black smoke. (Nice way to find out that the testing circuit on the smoke detector worked, but the detector actually didn't!)
My sons woke up with Odin yowling at them, biting their noses and chins, kneading his claws into their chests and smacking their faces with his paws. He had opened their bedroom door to wake them up. Not all that strange for a cat to open a door, but they had locked
the door when they went to bed!
However it was he managed to open that door, Odin more than repaid my son's compassion, saving us from a house fire, or worse.
Even when he'd grown to be the boss thomas-tat of the household and took no guff from any cat in the neighborhood, he remained the epitome of the mellow yellow fellow he'd been as a kitten. My oldest son called him Sweetie-pie, which morphed into Odin Pie and just Pie. My husband said it was more like "pai" in Chinese, meaning style or family, because Odin was the protector of our other pets.
My husband was adopted by a dog. He had always been afraid of dogs. We were told she's a pit bull (although later told she isn't), and he had always been most afraid of them. But this became his dog. One day he went out to call her inside because it had gotten cold and she has thin fur. He move the wind curtain on the igloo-type doghouse and looked inside. There she was, laying with her nose on her paws.
Laying on top of her head like a coonskin cap and stretched out down the length of her back was Odin. It wasn't unusual for one of us to wake up on a cold morning with an Odin-hat. The dog got the whole cat-blanket. He was keeping her warm.
We never had Odin neutered. He was at risk when he went out tomcatting around, but when a cat saves your house from burning down, you don't reward him by taking his nuts. One of his kittens might save some other family. Even the animal control officer who was once standing in our living room and threatening to take Odin to the pound because he didn't have a city pet license couldn't argue that.
Yesterday, I chopped some weeds in the backyard and then stretched out to catch some rays. While I was laying in the sun, Odin was laying in the sun. A block away. In the bike lane of a busy street. He had been run over.
This morning, a woman named Sue called to tell us. She had seen him laying there yesterday, and when he was still there this morning, she couldn't just leave him there to be squished. He looked just like her kitty, Puss-puss, that she'd had to put down because her back had been broken. She moved him onto the grass and saw his collar, so she copied the information on his tag and started calling. She also put a red artificial flower beside him; it matched his collar.
We buried the flower with Odin. My son put him near the rose bushes, so his body will feed the roses. Then he got a stone from the yard and put it over the grave, and marked the stone.
Our Hero Kitty
Sue, thank you so very much for your kindness. May it return to you with all the blessings you need. Odin and Puss-puss are together in The Summer Country.
Labels: blessings, hero cat, hero kitty, kindness, pet