Anne Horrigan Geary: A tale of two kitties

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DALTON — "It was the best of times; it was the worst of times." Yes, Charles Dickens had that right, and it is definitely true in the dark days of COVID -19. The worst is easy to see. For the best we have to look a little closer, but we have plenty of time to do that.

For some, the best of times can be spending more time with family members, especially children now required to be schooled at home. For others, it is time to work remotely, which means no commute time and lunchtime can be spent in the garden. Friday casual dress has given way to sweats and pajamas.

There is time to read more, reflect more, and reach out to others via many virtual means. Good people have found innumerable ways to help each other. For every problem, many hands are working hard to find solutions. Unfortunately, there are more than enough problems to go around.

For those of us in the higher risk categories, self-quarantine is getting old. Being stuck at home, afraid to venture out, is messing with my head. Some days I am morbidly preoccupied with death.

Luckily, I have the best of antidepressants close at hand. They are called Frannie and Pork Chop. They are our cats-in-residence, having moved from their birthplace of Indianapolis to Massachusetts via a brief sojourn in Manchester, New Hampshire. They are here temporarily with our son and his wife, whose relocation plans have been upended by the pandemic. Bad for them, good for us. We are grateful to have them here to do our shopping and help with gardening and other chores.

I have always been a cat person, and the passing of our 17- and 18-year-old cats left a huge void in my life. Now, I have the joy of watching feline frolicking each and every day with no ownership responsibilities (litterbox-cleaning topping the list).

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Because I didn't spend time with these fluffy friends from kittenhood, I have been learning their likes and dislikes every day. Frannie is the gray and white short-hair, who is the dedicated sentry. She makes her rounds of the property almost hourly, checking the windows for bird and chipmunk activity, and inspecting every new box and bag which arrives on the premises. As with most cats I have known, she loves to sleep in the sun and follows puddles of sunshine around the house.

When it's feeding time, she jumps up on one of the kitchen stools, curls up in a ball, and waits patiently for someone to fill the dish with her wet food. Judging by the different brands of cat food that have appeared on the shelves, she and her sibling could be known as picky eaters.

In my sewing room, she likes to play with spools of thread. Because of her discriminating taste, she prefers the one being used on the sewing machine to the row of extras I line up for her. Of course, we play the age-old game of "you pick it up and I'll knock it down" for hours on end. With so many piles of fabric scattered around the room, there is no lack of sleeping spots, but her paws-down favorite is the wide sunny windowsill. Frequently, I have to stop sewing because a certain striped tail keeps flicking itself dangerously close to the needle. I stop sewing, she stops flicking, and so on and so on.

Pork Chop is another story. The handsome, dark gray long-hair keeps himself to himself. He is easily spooked by loud noises, including voices, so he is not often found anywhere where the two "strangers" reside. An enigmatic fellow, his mysterious musings are done in the privacy of the space behind the basket chair in the guest bedroom. On a good day, I might glimpse him creeping down the hall and into the living room. It's easy to spot his toilet-brush tail, held straight up, as he looks for one of his "parents." If I sit perfectly still, he might pass by me without reacting, or else he will see me and scoot away.

I won't miss the end of quarantine, but I will certainly miss the companionship of my kitty friends when they have to move away.

Anne Horrigan Geary is a regular Eagle contributor.


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