Fate lends Stormy a hand - Empty Nest by Curt Swarm


Thursday, December 31, New Year's Eve Day: The Vintage Raven in Mt. Pleasant posted on its Facebook page a video of a three legged cat, Doodle Bug, that was up for adoption. Doodle Bug looked a lot like our long lost Barney: gray tiger with white chest and paws. I looked up a couple of pictures of Barney, and Doodle Bug was not Barney—close, but not Barney. Dang. Ginnie and I really missed Barney. He had unfairly disappeared after all that love (and money) we put into him.
Still, Doodle Bug needed a home, and we were catless. I text Ginnie at work with a picture of Doodle Bug. She said it was fine with her if we adopted him.
I called the Vintage Raven and had a little chat about Doodle Bug. Doodle Bug was a good cat, young, friendly, and in need of a home. He got along fine on three legs, which was a birth defect. It was New Year's Eve and the Vintage Raven would close at 2:00 pm.
What to do? I did what I always do when faced with a difficult decision: I flipped my sobriety coin. I'll be darned, the sobriety coin said no to Doodle Bug. What? God doesn't want us adopting a stray cat? Well, OK. I know better than to defy my sobriety coin. One time I did and there were drastic consequences.
The next day, New Year's, believing that what you do on New Year's Day predicts how the rest of your year will go, I busied myself doing honey do's: hang the winter bird feeder our kids gave us for Christmas, fix Ginnie's treadmill, install the new doorbell Ginnie gave me for Christmas. It was snowing like crazy—I knew I'd better get the honey do's done before football bowl games started.
I pushed the front door open against the snow, trying to determine how I was going to mount this wi-fi doorbell. I heard a yowling. Over in the corner of the porch, almost buried in snow, was a little gray kitten. I hollered at Ginnie to come and look while I coaxed the stray toward me. It inched slowly forward. When it was near I grabbed it up and paid dearly with a sliced-and-diced hand. But I had it in the house. Ginnie scurried around getting a saucer of milk and dry blanket. The kitten was a little gaunt, and one of its eyes was matted shut. It didn't want anything to do with the milk but, when Ginnie put some tuna in front of its nose, it knew what to do with that. I inspected it and determined it was a boy. It spent the next few hours hiding inside a couch.
Short story even shorter: we now have “Stormy,” and he has adapted quite well. Within a short time of being in the warm house his matted eye opened up. We washed it out with a mild solution of warm salt water. Buddy our dog is a little up tight about the new member of the household, but is adapting also. There was a major confrontation at Buddy's food dish, but that's getting worked out also.
Ginnie and I marveled over the “coincidences” of finding Stormy. Just the day before my sobriety coin had directed me to stay away from Doodle Bug. We can see why, now. If I hadn't been installing that doorbell, I would never have seen Stormy, because we hardly ever use the front porch door. How did this little kitten find its way to our house in the snow?
Fortunately, Stormy started using a litter box almost immediately. Whew. He has all the makings of a great house cat: instant purrs and kneading, quite affectionate, and full of mischief. We've scheduled him at the vet for shots and neutering.
Outside of politics and the pandemic, 2021 is starting off well for us. If only we could train ourselves to call our new kitten Stormy, rather than Barney.

Have a good story? Call or text Curt Swarm in Mt. Pleasant at 319-217-0526, email him at curtswarm@yahoo.com or visit his website at www.empty-nest-words-photos-and-frames.com.

cat, Curt Swarm, editorial, Empty Nest, farm, guest column, Mt. Pleasant, opinion, Pen City Current


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