Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The cat who loved baths

When we moved into our house in 1987, I soon discovered that it came with a cat.

She came up from the woods one day as I was looking at the back yard. Since she was orange, I chose to call her "OJ". (Not very original, but she didn't seem to mind.)

As she became less wary of me, she would allow me to approach more closely. What I saw was a scruffy stray cat with cataract clouded eyes. I didn't think she'd be around very long. Luckily, I was proved wrong.

She had several litters in our flower beds and while I made sure all of the kittens were "fixed", I could never get close enough to put her in a carrier.

Her last two kittens were born just before Hurricane Erin. She and the kittens rode out the storm in our garage. After that she allowed me to put her in the carrier and take her to the vet. When she came home, she decided staying in the garage instead of outside wasn't such a bad thing.

One winter morning I opened the garage door and she was just sitting there. Her back legs didn't seem to work. She didn't fuss when we brought her in the house. As she warmed up, her legs began to work again and we decided she was staying in the house.

The longer she stayed in the house the more she loved to interact with us. She would talk and dance when she heard the cat food, and she thought being brushed was terrific. It was a joy to have her with us.

When she could no longer bathe herself, I decided to risk life and limb and give her a bath in our shower stall. The warm water must have felt wonderful to her, because she never struggled or protested.

One day I decided to try bathing her in the bathroom sink. She was a tiny cat and easliy fit in a sink full of warm, soapy water. She loved being in her own little hot tub! This is what she looked like:

While OJ is no longer with us, she lives on in our memories and through the offspring* she left in our care.

*George (see my 1st post) was one of OJ's boys.

PS: I just learned of a "big" cat who loves the water: Odin , a Bengal tiger, lives in California.

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