ANOTHER DAY IN JUNE - CLEO IS CHANGING



Cleo, my cat, is changing before my eyes. Where once, she was a shy creature, reluctant to be held and who would never climb to my lap to be petted, she has changed like black to white. Since the Racoon bit her on her jaw and her wound became infected, and I had the Vet take care of the operation, she is a different creature. What happened? I think I know. Cleo has learned to trust me. When I found her at the Local SPCA, she was the last cat left. Nobody wanted her because she was gangly; somewhere between a kitten and a raunchy teen animal. When I put my hand in the cage and she gave may hand a kitty kiss, I said, “You shall be my cat.” The new Cleo tells me what she wants. When she asks to go outside, I let her out. When she asks to play the hide-and-seek game, I throw the blanket over her so she thinks I don’t know where she has hidden. I call, ‘Cleo, Cleo, where did you go?’ I find her by touching the lump of her head under the blanket, which is her head. That is what she has been waiting for. Like a cat gone mad with joy, she attacks my hand, biting and scratching through the blanket, all the while knowing she will not bite my hand with any force. When she is free of the blanket, she continues to bite and scratch but makes certain never to bite, or scratch, too hard. That is when she expects me to rub her belly, scratch her back and pet her head. Cleo will jump to my lap at the drop of the hat. She knows she can expect a reward for any good deed. The reward is three, or four, bean-sized Special Kitty Bits, which she dearly loves. Cleo lays on my arm like my arm is her own special resting place. She does it when she sees me typing a story on my computer, which makes it difficult to Capitalize some of the words with my left hand. I think Cleo has learned to be my editor and only does this when I have written something that needs rewriting. Cleo gave me a problem yesterday afternoon. I opened the sliding glass window to let her out. Big Leon, my outdoor cat, a stray, which I do not allow to come inside and be an indoor cat (one cat is all I can handle), came to the door. He came to inquire if his dinner of Kitty Bits was ready. His bowl was empty so I filed the bowl with kitty bits. Feeding Big Leon helps make sure he will not eat Cleo. Cleo does not like him a penny’s worth. Big Leon is twice Cleo’s size and pays her no attention, so I ws pretty sure, after eating full bowl of Kitty Bits, he would not wish to have Cleo for dessert. This time, two hours later, when I called her, Cleo did not appear. A half hour later I called her again. No Cleo. I walked to the far end of the front porch and called. I repeated the exercise to the other end of the porch. Still, no Cleo came running. I got busy and made my breakfast, planning that Cleo would soon appear on her own. Big Leo had finished his diner and was gone back to his own pursuits, probably, in the garage. Two more hours passed with neither hide nor hair of my cat. Did she have a fight with big Leon? Was her mangled body lying outside somewhere in the darkness and she was too injured to crawl home? In the past, there were three times when I was convinced, my cat was dead and gone for good. I bit the bullet and accepted that Cleo was, at last, really gone for good. My daughter called just then. While we were talking and I was telling her my sad tale, who should appear at my glass sliding door… but Cleo. Wherever she had been, however far something had chased her, she escaped with no cuts, bites or bruises an come home. Now all was better. I had Cleo back.

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