Saturday, December 11, 2010


Jump was given to me by a veterinarian. They told me they had received her from people that had found her in their back yard. Actually their dogs found her, who then reported the fact to their people. I forget the exact circumstance described to me but I can imagine two very large dogs with very perplexed looks on their faces attested to by their crinkled brows, confused by their desires to eat but constrained by their parental urges to care for the young, as the kitten stumbled between the forest of their legs. The kit was “rescued” from being trampled beneath the nervous paws and delivered to the vet who delivered her to me.

She was a tortoiseshell cat, a torti. Small then, she never grew to the full size of a feline, but took advantage of her miniature status to confuse the other adult cats into believing she was just a kitten even after a year old. And so, she could eat the better food from under the jowls of the adults. I named her Jump after the startling habit she had of jumping on to my shoulders. Her favorite time for this activity was when her man was deep in thought and very still i.e. when I was standing in front of the opened refrigerator and deep in contemplation of the goodies within. Jump, having understood my desire, would have placed herself on a nearby table a mere ten feet or so from my frozen circumstance and seeing her opportunity, would launch herself.

This happened to me with regularity but I never, ever learned to anticipate the heart stopping fright it would give me. I would hear a subtle sound from slightly behind me and to my left. I would startle and turn my head rapidly but only in time to see what appeared to be a cat’s head looming large, with eyes as big as an owl’s. Though she was on a collision course with my head, I didn’t have time to duck, dodge, or weave. My heart would leap into my mouth, I was sure it, the cat’s head, was about to collide with mine!! But in the next instant Jump would land neatly on my shoulder. There she would be, on my shoulder, and landed without use of a single claw, just as she had many times before, and as if in a mockery would proceed to rubbing her body against mine.

Now let’s back this scene up in time and rotate ninety degrees, so as to see her in profile. By the time I turned my head she would he halfway along her trajectory. From this perspective she would be stretched out perfectly along the streamlines of the air and her small sleek body would be hidden behind the looming orb of her fast approaching head. Her front limbs, foreshortened from my perspective would be unnoticeable. From my startled view, all I would see would be her head and in particular her very large eyes, locked onto mine, apparently intent on a kamikaze strike! My heart would nearly stop at the sight.

But, she meant no harm. It was just a special game that she liked to play with me. She had done it many times before and I never learned to anticipate it. I must say, sometimes I can be very slow to pick up on the games females play. But more on Jump later.

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