Friday, May 22, 2009


"I love cats because I love my home and after a while they become its visible soul."
- Jean Cocteau

"There is, incidentally, no way of talking about cats that enables one to come off as a sane person."
- Dan Greenberg

"You can't help that. We're all mad here."

- The Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland

This Week's Ten Word Challenge: albino, trench, marble, assistant, Indian, What's that supposed to mean?, sound first principles, the key thing, moat, curtain

The mini challenge: under the surface, doomed, grand design, temple, aspirin


It started out innocently enough. We received the photos as a jpeg email attachment from a reliable source. We opened it and inside, found: a white cat in a basket with orchids.

We suspected it from the start, but didn’t want to admit… that we were lost. In point of fact, doomed to reneg on our grand design of living free from care and responsibility. She was three years old and intolerant of other cats. The key thing was that this pretty much ruled out the klatch of gaga over kittens first timers and also the hopeless pool of fanatics– with their rife colonies of eccentrics. Sauvi came with stringent prenups (which it turns out became the only bulwark between us and our natural propensities). You know, one cat just leads to another… One cat is too few… It must be genetic, a dominant gene for crazy for cats fever which runs rampant on both sides of the family.

Natalie first noticed her wandering around the apartment complex. Sauvi looked nothing like she does in the fetching CV photo. Apparently, her pristine coat was sooty and pocked with blisters. The presumptive diagnosis was scabies.

Poor thing. All porcelain. Turns out she was sunburned.

Who could have done this? Set her loose in the noon flare of scorching Florida sun?

Natalie could not keep her because of conflicts of interest with her own burgeoning feline family. So it came to pass that Sauvi was carefully dispatched to a temporary shelter in the suburbs. Mike and Rita’s safe haven for displaced and misplaced kitties. Upon arrival, she had apparently tacked her nonnegotiable conditions onto the door in the fine tradition of rebels and renegades.

There were a dozen or so boarders poised on tables, crunching science diet, ears twitching with excitement at our arrival. Loquacious and happy to regal us with their rambling narratives. In the mean time, our girl had set up an impenetrable trench behind the water heater in the commodious garage. No cat’s land.

We waited. And waited. And waited. Enfin, the curtain rose and Sauvi made her debut. A baroque masterpiece. Disheveled but with a hint of faded elegance. We crossed the moat, gave her an aspirin for good measure, and lured her gently into her soft carrier.

It was all so understated. A cat needed a home. We happened to be passing through. Under the surface, and in retrospect, we recognize it for what it was, a finely crafted plot.

Sauvi. She is all white and pink, the dear one, An intrepid explorer, interloper of roofs, terrorist of chipmunks, ruffian, diva. Don’t be fooled by her albino persona. She is fierce. Curiosity trumps trauma every time. Daily, she crosses the moat of fear with her great Indian patas. We cannot imagine life without her.

Sound first principles. What’s that supposed to mean? Family is family.

Every good magic trick needs an assistant in the wings. Natalie. Who had the good sense to make marble crack.


Reston Friends! said...

Very nice 'how the cat came to own us' story. My sister also lives in FL with 2 cats who tolerate her and her husband, but not many others. Sauvi is beautiful, and obviously well loved.

Raven said...

A wonderful tale of a wonderful cat. She's really beautiful. After my Abby died at almost 23 years of age, I was going to live empty. That lasted for about 5 days when Angel was found half dead by a friend of mine... and then Tara Grace the fragile and half starved came after... Luckily they get along reasonably well. Wonderful use of the words.

ForestJane said...

Ahh, I like that... 'cept the part about giving her an aspirin... that'd be a good way to become catless again!

But nice pix and use of the words!

Kipling said...

A great story about a great cat, I think we have a cat that could be your cats shadow, but our's has not quite got such a nice name.

Akelamalu said...

Oh such a lovely tale and a beautiful cat! :)

My wordzzle is up too.

Dr.John said...

Very well written. I enjoyed both story and pictures.

gabrielle said...

ForestJane - The aspirin was metaphorical - it's the only way I could find to fit the word aspirin in. Thanks for noticing!

Finding Pam said...

Your real life story is wonderful as well as your pictures of Sauvi. She is a lovely cat and I enjoyed the usage of the words.

Fandango said...

We dragons are glad the cat in the story found a good home and a metaphorical aspirin. We dragons find cats to be tasty . I mean cute. Very good writing.

Richard said...

Well done. Though not a "cat person" I enjoyed your ode to your pet very much.dinult

Dianne said...

ahhhhh I remember Sauvi from her earlier works
and the warrior Natalie, always enabling a happy ending
and of course those whose hearts are always open

Anonymous said...

Ooh, she's gorgeous!! And what a fun use of the words. Nice job! Give that cat a big hug for me; I'm horribly allergic! :-(



bettygram said...

Sauvi story had a happy ending. Good use of the words.

Stephen said...

I enjoyed reading the story about your cat. She seems to be a very special cat. The pictures of her were nice, too.

Stephen from Scottsdale, Arizona, USA

Natalie said...

I'm still so tickled the way it worked out. She seemed so impossible - as you said - rescued by serial cat collectors, though intolerant of any others. And having her is a good way to keep those crazy cat instincts in check. ;) I love that there are Palm Lake kitties sprinkled all over the country!

Anonymous said...