05:18:38 pm on
Thursday 18 Jul 2024

Cat Man Cometh
Matt Seinberg

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Dakota in repose Dakota at work

A year ago, I wrote of losing Daphne, the cat we had for 14 years; how devastating it was. I cried for a week and it was even hard to work. This past year has been tough, even though we adopted Daisy, the black cat, and Scarlett, the gray cat.

Alas, neither new cat likes me.

The problem for me was that these two little girls were very shy when we got them; we knew it would take time for them to "come around." It's a year later and neither one likes me. They won't let me touch them, much less near them. Even when I feed them, they are very standoffish.

Daisy likes my daughter, Melissa. Scarlett likes my other daughter, Michelle. That left me without a cat for a year. I wasn't happy and felt stressed because these cats didn't like me.

Back in May, Melissa and I applied to be volunteers, on Tuesdays, for the local shelter. It was my last hope. I wanted to find a male kitten that would be mine. It took until July to finally call me and schedule use for an orientation at the shelter. We met a lot of nice people and even more cats.

We started the following week and we had to do a few tasks, first. As we were the newest members of the team, we got a couple of the dirtiest jobs. Our first job was to pack up all the dirty towels and cat beds; man, did those stink. Then we had to scoop the litter boxes, in the free roaming rooms; this is where the older cats live.

After that, we "socialized" with the kittens. As I'm sitting in a chair holding Gwen, I see this little black kitten standing on her hind legs, with a front paw sticking out of the cage towards me; meowing like crazy! She was saying, "I'm next! I want you to hold me!"

Her name was Tiny and is she. Her listed birthday is 30 April 2016; she looks to be eight weeks old, not 16 weeks. As soon as I picked her up, she looked me straight in my eyes and started purring like a little racecar!

Her eyes are gold, just like Daphne.

The resemblance to Daphne and Daisy, too, is amazing. The biggest difference is that her fur has some subtle striping, which will probably go away. She also has four white markings. The first is on her chest, the second is just below her chest and the third is a vertical strip just below the middle one. The last one is on her belly between her hind legs.

This was the little kitten Daphne and Domino, my first cat, sent me. All summer, as I sat in the backyard reading, I talked to them. I buried Daphne in the backyard; Domino's ashes are in the garden, too. I asked my girls to please talk to Daisy and Scarlett; explain to them how lucky they are to be with us.

Although that didn't work, they did put me together with Tiny. She has the best attributes of both. She may be tiny, but her personality is huge. She loves head petting and to have her belly rubbed. We renamed her Dakota Violet, using the "D" for the first name, as we did for all four black cats. It's keeping a connection from the first to this one.

Violet came about because Melissa found a stray about three years ago; Marcy and I didn't think that having another cat in the house would be good for Daphne, as she was the Queen. That cat was gray with violet eyes and either Graycie or Violet fit her well. We didn't keep her.

Yes, I see my dead cats. They are always around me. I often see them in my basement. There was even one time six years ago, when I in Portland, OR, for my aunt’s funeral, I saw Domino in the hotel room.

Cat people will get this, others not so much. Michelle even told me she has seen Daphne in the house. That was very reassuring to me, since I wasn't just seeing things.

When we adopted the two cats last year, the gray one became Scarlett Rose, which is a very pretty name, just like a colorful flower, and not Graycie.

Dakota has responded to her name.

All she wants right now is to be with us. We're keeping her in our room, for the first week, before we introduce her to the other cats, which may be difficult, as they spend most of their time under Michelle's bed. They used to spend all day under my bed, but I blocked it off with plywood strips around the frame so they and Dakota couldn't get under there anymore.


Now, Michelle has to keep her door open all the time. Melissa has to, as well, since Daisy wants to sleep with her at night. Otherwise, she will sit outside Melissa's door and cry to get in; that can get annoying, at midnight.

Now my mood is better, I'm happier and feel much less stress. The question is who saved whom. Happiness is a warm pussycat.


Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.

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