The move from Posey Lake in Lenawee County that I consider hallowed ground, near my hometown of magnificent Adrian, is not easy. That may be why I have let it drag out for several months.
I have many excuses for my lack of progress: I ran out of boxes, what if they break the big mirror, the dresser was too heavy for the movers, there isn’t enough room for my clothes in the new house, and what do you mean leave grandma’s sideboard behind?
Those are all valid, but the biggest reason I am in no rush to take up residency in Grand Rapids, Ohio, where the community is welcoming and the Maumee River is beckoning, is not about moving material goods.
It’s the cats. Yes, all of them.
And, wouldn’t you know, there’s a new one. Just what I don’t need.
What would I do without the indoor and outdoor felines? More important, what would they do without the lady with the can opener?
The three house cats — Geranium, Hemingway, and Lydia — will certainly be packed up and moved, but not easily. I worry that it might be too much for 18-year-old Geranium, whose chiropractic treatments from veterinarian Pat Dougherty in Archbold are becoming more frequent. I do take her to Grand Rapids occasionally to practice being in a different house. While we are there she follows me like a puppy, limping from room to room.
Hemingway and Lydia spend many hours outdoors in the two-acre yard where they have roamed since they were kittens. The Grand Rapids house is on a busy highway and has a small yard. I can’t let them outdoors unless I can figure out a huge safety enclosure.
Enter Dove, Callie Cat, and the mean cat that until the kitten’s arrival two weeks ago I assumed was an aggressive tomcat.
Dove and Callie are inseparable. They eat together on the porch, live in the garage in winter, and like to be petted, but only by the can opener lady. They first came to the porch to eat as kittens five years ago.
It would be a relief to find a nice home for them, but only if they can stay together. Please don’t say that if I would leave them they would just go to houses in the neighborhood until someone took pity and fed them. That’s what everyone says, but I don’t believe it. I know they would wait on the front porch for the cookie sheet piled with dry and wet food to be served and eventually would become skin and bones from hunger and grief. I hate to think of such an ending because with years of care, good food, and plenty of water they are happy and healthy.
I prefer to put food on a cookie sheet rather than in bowls. By spreading the food over the sheet, each cat, raccoon, possum, or whatever, can line up at the four sides. Think of it as buffet service and don’t limit the choices to commercial cat foods.
When the appraiser was inspecting the house he said, “You don’t have a disposal?” No, but I have cats and goodness knows how many other kinds of animals that like leftover variety and get it.
Doggie bag contents also work for cats. This week the cookie sheet topping was green beans and dabs of mashed potatoes brought home from a restaurant. In the never-ending moving challenge, goodies gleaned from the pantry included smoked oysters and caviar.
Both were used for the gourmet pleasure of the cats. The black kitten is, of course, adorable. Aren’t they all? I refuse to name it and must find a home for it. In the meantime its arrival has done wonders to alter the attitude of the hateful cat that even 20-pound Hemingway is scared of.
I sometimes wonder if my assumption that it is a territorial tomcat may be wrong because its attention to the kitten that includes bathing it is almost maternal.
Or does the change in the mean cat’s temperament simply prove that in every animal, human or otherwise, there is a streak of tenderness that surfaces for the right reasons at the right time?
The other day over lunch I confided the cat dilemma to a friend, hoping for sympathy and an offer that he would adopt one or two cats before I move.
His response was: “Get a life.”
And, I said, “This is my life.”
Mary Alice Powell is a retired Blade food editor. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org