Pet Spotlight: Daisy and JazzBy Sharon Brown (Sharon) on April 11, 2011
|My grandmothers taught me to make do with what I had and that's what happened with this week's Spotlight article. I simply had to make do with what I had. Join me for a Spotlight that's just a little furry around the edges.|
Sometimes best laid plans have to be set aside for a while, and that’s what happened this week. Spring has sprung and several Spotlight interviews got tangled up in gardening chores and family events (which of course must come first to all of us), so I was left with unfinished articles. I’m not one to leave a tale untold and it was my turn to write. I found myself in a dilemma with a blank page and no words. I thought for a while I was going to have to make up a story about one of you.
I was also afraid Nancy was going to fire me and I’d never be able to hold my head up in Cubits again. Oh but wait!! Nancy and I had been talking about our cats and by coincidence, we both have cats named Daisy. A Cmail was definitely in order.
“Dear, dear, sweet Nancy,” I wrote.
“I’m sadly lacking in finished Spotlight interviews this week, BUT I have a marvelous idea! Why don’t we occasionally interview the pets of our Cubit members and they can tell their stories when their owners are busy? People love reading about pets. And by the way, dear sweet Nancy, I will start with my own two cats, Jazz and Daisy. How about that, my friend? Great idea, don’t you think? And you don’t have a thing to worry about; I’ll meet the deadline. Promise.”
Nancy: “I wonder.”
Huh? She wonders? That’s it?? Well, OK, so she didn’t jump at this amazing chance to delve into the deep psyche of our pets and at the same time rescue me from the dilemma of a blank Spotlight, but I decided to write about my cats anyway. And besides, she and I had been talking about our cats earlier, about their different personalities, about how they came to live with us, and she had already told me that I should turn what I wrote into an article, so it’s all her fault.
(Take note, my friends, this is what happens when our regularly scheduled articles get all tangled up with real life. You just never know who or what you might find in the Sunday night Spotlight!)
In the words of our luvly Dahlianut:
It was summer 2004, a lovely day in June, and I had stepped outside to have my morning coffee. I heard a cry, a continuous cry, coming from somewhere close by in the neighborhood. It sounded much like a baby, but we are a neighborhood of mostly retired folks and there were no babies anywhere around. I wandered through our adjoining back yards but I couldn’t find anything. As I walked the cries stopped.
That evening, I was again in my back yard when I heard the cries once more. I looked up to see my neighbor chasing a tiny black kitten out of the bushes in his front yard.
“I’ve been hearing the kitten crying all day,” I called, “is it yours?”
“I hate cats,” yelled the neighbor, “do something about it before I do!”
By this time the tiny black kitten was climbing up the leg of my jeans and quite quickly ended up buried somewhere between my ear and my shoulder, shivering and gasping. I could feel and hear its rapid heartbeat in my ear.
“Go ahead, take it. Do something with it. I hate cats, that one is all yours, “ yelled the neighbor again as he turned to go back inside his house.
And with that, Daisy entered my life. To reach me she had tumbled down the hill through a cluster of white daisies in my garden, so I didn’t have to look far for her name. We later learned she had been part of a litter that had been dumped in the park a few blocks from my house. Sadly most of the others didn’t survive, but Daisy not only survived, she bloomed, just as daisies are meant to do.
At the end of summer, I returned to teaching but my husband was already retired, so he was at home with Daisy most of every day. She became his cat, wherever he was, there was Daisy. He didn’t even like cats very much, but he sure liked Daisy, probably because she wouldn’t let him ignore her. When he had to be away from the house, she sat in his favorite seat and waited for him to return. When he left a room, she followed him. I might as well have been invisible except when either of them was hungry.
Life went on and two years later I retired from teaching and joined Daisy and her best friend at home. They truly didn’t seem to notice. Their habits never changed, where one was so was the other.
In April, 2007, my husband thought he might have some kind of flu. He wasn’t sick enough to go to the doctor he decided, so I made soups and juices for him and he rested a lot. So did Daisy, right beside him. One morning he woke to find that he could not walk and things didn’t get any better as the day progressed. I soon realized I couldn’t get him to the hospital alone, though I had tried; I had to call for help. Daisy sat quietly watching every move throughout the day and as the paramedics wheeled him out of the house he whispered, “Be a good little cat, Daisy.” I saw her watching through the window as we left.
I returned…alone…two days later. Daisy came to greet me briefly then began her search for her best friend who would never again be coming home. Through my own grief, I remember catching glimpses of her through the following days and I know I kept food available for her, but I don’t remember that she ever came near me.
More weeks and more grief clouded days passed. Daisy and I existed inside the same house, she hidden in her own dark corner somewhere, and I in mine. We rarely saw each other. I could tell she nibbled from her food bowl, but she ate in silence in the dark of night and I never saw her.
It occurred to me that she might be grieving herself to death but those thoughts were fleeting since I could hardly bear the weight of my own grief. I wondered how long a cat could live hidden away in her dark corner. I wondered how long I could survive hidden away in a dark corner of my own. Two months passed, exactly two months.
My neighbor came knocking on my back door one morning with her hands full of a tiny orange ball of fluff.
“My granddaughter found this kitten and I think it needs you,” she said.
“I don’t think so,” I said. “I can’t even take care of Daisy; I can’t even find her. I don’t need another cat.”
“My granddaughter was at the ballpark about 10 miles away last night. She saw the kitten in the parking lot. It looked a little lost, but they didn’t pay much attention as they loaded the vehicle and started home. They came by interstate and about half way home they heard the cries of a kitten. They stopped by the side of the interstate and looked through the car, thinking it might have jumped in with them, but no cat and no more cries. It was dark and they didn’t have a light so they came on home. When they pulled into their driveway and stopped the car, they heard the cries again.
After another search, they found this little cat tucked up under the SUV, hanging on to the wheel well for dear life. I think you need this kitten.”
A kitten had clung to the undercarriage of an SUV for 10 speeding miles down the interstate? It must have used up most of its nine lives in that one trip! Little cat looked up at me with big golden eyes. The block of ice that covered my heart began to crack.
I took the kitten immediately to the vet. I didn’t dare take it inside without checking first for disease. I knew Daisy must be in a weakened state anyway, so I didn’t want to take chances. My vet pronounced this tiny kitten alive and well, covered in fleas and starving. He weighed 14 ounces. I brought him home after a flea bath. He had a deep hoarse cry and the vet said he must have cried a lot clinging to the underside of the car. Broke my heart to think of it. He continued to sing his croaky song all the way home, until I brought him inside. Then he stopped crying, lifted his head, looked all around and sniffed the air. I talked to him, told him about Daisy, told him he might not like it here, told him I wasn’t sure I wanted another cat when I couldn’t help the one I already had. He didn’t say another word, but he seemed quite happy with his new home. Daisy stayed in her dark corner somewhere in the house.
The first night baby cat slept quietly in a basket beside my bed. I wasn’t sleeping well and I thought I’d surely hear a cat fight if it occurred. I was secretly hoping baby cat would lure Daisy out of hiding. It didn’t happen till the third night. I heard one little hiss, then one more a little louder. I reached for the light. About the same time, I felt a lump land right on top of my legs. The heavy lump was Daisy and I could tell little cat was frantically struggling to climb up the covers after her. I turned the lamp on, jerked the covers up, ready for the battle that would no doubt happen right on top of me. Daisy rapidly tucked herself behind me and peeped out at little cat from beneath my elbow.
Little cat, who had till then been afraid of his own shadow, lunged forward against Daisy’s chin, rubbing and purring just like he’d found his very best friend. Daisy leaned back, surprised, her eyes big round green O’s. She tried to creep away, but little cat was rubbing himself all over her and finally she sat very still, a little startled. Little cat purred louder and kept right on rubbing.
I don’t know what happened that night, but they’ve been glued together ever since. When I saw how devoted baby cat was to Daisy, how determined he was to be loved, I named him Jazz. The name comes from the Robert Duvall and Michael Caine movie: Secondhand Lions, one of my favorites. The lion in the movie has no purpose except to bring a young boy out of his rejected life and give him reason to grow and to love. Jazz did that and more, perhaps for me as much as for Daisy.
Daisy became a kitten again, playing chase and hide and seek with Jazz. Even now, years later, one will wake from a sound sleep, look at the other and the chase is on. They have a basket of shared toys, they eat side by side, and usually where one is, so is the other.
As for me, well, their antics are still fun to watch. Daisy reigns as Queen of our house, and Jazz, though much bigger than Daisy, is still her underling. When Jazz tears through the house like a wild yellow fox, Daisy plants herself right in front of him, raises one paw and Jazz comes to a screeching halt every time.
Neither of them will go outside, they are terrified of an open door. I wonder how much of their kittenhood they remember. I hope they’ve forgotten that once they were throwaways, two beautiful cats that no one wanted. They are way beyond that now. Daisy is a regal queen, no longer hiding in her dark corner and Jazz is the class clown, entertaining his audience with his silly antics. To me they are priceless.
We will never know how much understanding our pets have of our emotions, our day to day traumas. I watch Daisy sometimes as she sits and stares out the window and I wonder how much she remembers. And Jazz, poor baby, simply freaks when he hears the sound of a motor starting. It’s a little difficult when I need to vacuum.
When I wake in the middle of the darkest night, I listen for their purrs. They seem to know when I’m a bit unsettled and their soft purring melodies begin. When I hear them, I can rest again. They are telling me that all’s right in our world.
And now you know Jazz and Daisy. Thank you for reading their story. If you have a special story about your pets, please let us know. From time to time when you are too busy to be in the Spotlight, maybe your pets have a story they’d like to share with us.
Our pets are one of the common threads that binds us here on Cubits. We hear often about Charley, the mule who lives down south; Inky, the poodle in Wisconsin; Tramp, the puppy in eastern Kentucky, Phoenix, the London cat as well as the Crazy Old Cat who lives in Canada and Andre the demon child in Florida! I know they have stories to tell, too. Let us know, and when life complicates our busy days, we’ll let our pets chat for awhile.
Thanks for joining us. Maybe next week life will get back to normal and Nancy will have another wonderful real live person here to meet you. Until then, let’s talk to our animals, let them know how special they truly are.
In the meantime, visit Lee Anne's Pets Cubit and the one Lance and Elena share about Dogs. Other cubits might take you to pets of a different kind, here you'll find fine feathered fun. If you are interested in adoption, look for information about Greyhounds here. And of course, we mustn't forget the chickens.
Thanks to DebbiesDaisy for the shadow portrait of Daisy. The rest of the photos are my own.
|interview, pets, spotlight|
|I am a retired Art and Humanities teacher living in western Kentucky. I love writing and art with equal measure, but I also have a passion for nature and plants.|
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Comments and discussion:
|Subject||Thread Starter||Last Reply||Replies|
|Id Tags||tags1079||Nov 30, 2015 1:20 AM||0|
|Your article||kevin51||May 6, 2011 7:49 AM||18|
|I Love Cats!||nap||May 2, 2011 7:25 PM||33|
|Great Story!||Kizmo1||Apr 18, 2011 7:36 PM||12|
|Made my heart sing, this story did.||weeds||Apr 18, 2011 6:27 PM||7|
|Emotions||valleylynn||Apr 14, 2011 9:29 AM||49|
|Wishing you were here in Ead'sville||akschip||Apr 13, 2011 8:40 AM||1|
|Great||kareoke||Apr 11, 2011 7:38 PM||9|
|Daisy and Jazz||lizh||Apr 11, 2011 6:37 PM||2|
|Wonderful!!!||Ridesredmule||Apr 11, 2011 9:02 AM||2|