She sat crouched in the small duffel, mesh netting on most sides, solid canvas over the rest. A covering of simulated lamb’s will kept her feet comfy, but the sorrowful mews told an entirely different tale. Trips to the vet were no fun, and no amount of treats would convince her otherwise. Turkey was not a happy cat.
The canvas kennel had been a hasty purchase, when it was decided that a cat might make a decent addition to the house, the home, the family. The kids were older and theoretically more mature; the cat herself had a few years on her—most importantly already trained to use a litter box, though it still didn’t keep her from pooping on the bed’s coverings when loosed from the kennel after the initial trip to her new home. Indeed, Turkey was quite the turkey, and with Thanksgiving only two days away, her name, her arrival were both fitting. Since, there has been so much for which to be thankful.
Still, 2020 and much of 2021 had been no picnic for anyone, but, for this family, the years leading up to had been so trying, so much like the proverbial rollercoaster, though with more sudden, more intense drops, the likes of which would shatter those less attuned to such trials. The pandemic, however, allowed this family increased, improved family time, with the ability for all to be at home, functioning as a cohesive unit, rather than horses scattering in sundry directions, quartering its center until it was stretched beyond measure, like Silly Putty. But, like Silly Putty, a closeness of all parts allowed for an almost rebirth of all—or at least a reorganization. And, so it was, one day, while her hair was being washed, the question was posed as to whether or not getting a cat would be a good idea.
She had leaped to the query like a cat itself, pouncing on the notion, toying with it, teasing it, with critical consideration so common to her mind, as seemingly untouched as it was in comparison to the body ravaged by years of MS progression, forcing her into a wheelchair. So there was the concern of how a cat might react to the presence of a wheelchair in the house. The concerns were short-lived after the arrival of the cat, which would come roughly twenty-four hours after the question was spat out and expected to swirl down the drain with water and suds.
Only it didn’t and was, instead, put into plan. A fast one, too.
Though the “plan” had been to investigate would-be cats from the local animal shelter, but social media queries were initiated before the garage door could even be opened, and offers of cats from friends near and far began to float in, one right after another. One such was for a tabby named Sami; Monkey, previously.
As Monkey, the cat had a home but its military owners were being deployed overseas, and a quarantine for the animal would have proved too trying, so Monkey was given a new home with another family, only Monkey proved apparently too trying for the new family, and they abandoned her. She was found some time later, roaming an industrial park and taken in by a woman running a dog rescue and renamed Sami.
Pictures and video of Sami were forwarded along quickly enough and, within a few hours, a canvas and mesh kennel was procured, and Sami found herself en route to yet another home for a trial over the remains of the Thanksgiving break.
At one point during the trek from far north side of town to the entire opposite in the northeast, some fifty miles of twists and turns and straightaways of Texas highways, the cat stared at the vehicle’s driver through the mesh. Taking notice, the driver asked of the cat, “What are you looking at, you turkey?” And the cat mewed. And mewed again and again at the word “turkey.” And the name just kind of stuck.
Turkey’s first few days & nights in her newest of homes were spent in relative seclusion, unsure what to make of the smaller humans or the dog on the other side of the windows, which seemed relatively uninterested in her; this was much to Turkey’s liking in comparison to the dog rescue where she had been before. But, even on that first night, the concern over the wheelchair was put to rest as Turkey leapt into her lap, unending as it was in a seated position—a seat that went everywhere Turkey was interested in going around the house; Turkey had her very own Über driver at her very beck and call.
By Christmas, Turkey had made herself very much at home with her own routines and began the not-so-trying task of breaking in all of the humans to her own whims, a process being duplicated just a few houses down from Turkey’s new roost.
The house at the other end of the block had also found joy with a cat found at their doorstep, albeit several months prior to the arrival of Turkey. This other cat—christened by its people as Cody—was itself a very different cat than was Turkey. Where Turkey was cautious and apprehensive, Cody was adventurous and eager to explore. He enjoyed the freedom his people allowed him, venturing into the backyard—and occasionally the front—on his own. And occasionally, he would venture beyond the yard and scamper away for a day or two here, a day or two there. Doing so permitted Cody to eventually achieve what he would come to know as his purpose, which had much to do with typical cat practices—many lost to centuries of domestication—and would last for far longer than a day or two here or there. Cody’s peculiar habits—peculiar even for a cat—would permit him to achieve success in such a fashion that it would save so much that was important to him and to what he cared about, as well as to others. Because, contrary to popular opinion about cats and their quirks, cats genuinely do care.