Monday, September 5, 2011

Summer Storm

    This is Storm, she is a recent addition to our little family. She is called a “Tabby-Point Siamese", and as you can see, she is beautiful. She is also aptly named. She has come into our lives like a sudden squall, and shaken the status quo...

    Funny how these things work out...My daughter brought her home about two weeks ago, and said, “ I had to take her Mom, they were hurting her.” That's it, that is all the information she would share. I admit, I envision some wild party, the details of which I do not want to hear. I know my daughter is not safe all the time, and some of her chosen companions are questionable at best, and I also know there is nothing I can do about it, except love, forgive and pray. You see, my daughter, my youngest child, is 17, and as far as she is concerned, she is accountable to no one. She is fierce, feisty, fearless and free to go about her life, and make her own decisions. Which is fine, up to a certain point. She is right, I am done raising her, I have taught her everything I can and the rest she needs to figure out for herself, just like we all do. Doesn't make it any easier to accept. She is leaving for college soon, and will be free to make all her own choices, both good and bad. But for now, those choices still affect our lives, and we are the ones that live with the consequences. As consequences go, Storm isn't so bad. She has certainly changed the dynamics of our household.
    Storm is a special kitty, and it has taken some time to adjust to her personality quirks. I am not sure if her strange behavior is a result of her abuse as a kitten, or if she was just born with a predisposition, but she hates everyone she meets, human or cat... except for us. Storm had been in our household for less than a week, and the plan was to find her a home as soon as possible. We already have two cats in our home, both are older, crankier and set in their ways. They don't like anything new, and certainly had no interest in making room for a half wild, half grown kitten in their quiet world. My dear husband and I have been making plans to travel this winter, sort of a trial snowbird thing, so we felt adding to our responsibilities would be counter intuitive.
    I know a very kind lady who loves Siamese cats, and called her right away. She had just adopted a little Flame-Point kitten, and after some thought, decided, as they are so close in age, they might make perfect companions. When my friend arrived to pick up Storm, it looked like love at first sight. She was trilling and rubbing up against my friends legs. (I hadn't really noticed it before, but trilling is the only sound I had ever heard from Storm, she never meowed.) She generally gave the impression that this was an acceptable new mama as far as she was concerned. As I watched them drive away, I felt a sense of loss.
Right from the beginning, I had felt a connection to Storm. I had already gotten used to her playful antics and fierce spirit. Sure, she attacked and bit our hands, she is a kitten, after all. But always so gently, it never hurt or drew blood. I loved the way she fell head over heels in love with my self-admitted cat-hating husband, and followed him around the house and claimed a place on his lap at any given chance. But I told myself it was for the best. She would never have playmates in my cats, and the travel issue would be a huge problem. But the heart knows only what it wants, and I missed her.
   It did not last long. A couple hours later, I returned home after errands to find a phone message awaiting, begging me to come and get the cat. It seems that Storm was just fine so long as she was here, in my house, but once removed, she was a demon with a tail! I jumped into my car and hurried over, wondering what kind of devastation I would find. According to the shell shocked victims of the attack, she came out of her carrier, tail puffed and claws whirling, attacking anything alive and moving. It seems she had also found her voice and was howling and hissing at a terrifying decibel! The poor little Flame-Point was terrified and confused, and hiding under the couch, my friend was sporting deep lacerations all over her arms, and Storm was lounging on the sun porch, resting up for another go round.
    I made the mistake of thinking she would recognize me and allow me to put her back in her carrier, but she quickly let me know how naive that was. It was like grabbing hold of a food processor while it was running, (needless to say I DO NOT recommend this)... Thinking quickly, my friend threw me a cloth, I tossed it over Storm, scooped her up and slid her into the cage before she could respond. I was out of breath, hyped on adrenaline and bleeding from multiple wounds. My friend and I looked at each other in silent shock, I mumbled an apology and headed to my car.
    So Storm is back in our home, this time to stay. She did not hold a grudge and was back to her playful cuddly self before the evening was through. She has been home for a week now, and is getting used to being picked up, and sometimes lets me handle her ears and belly, something she did not allow when she first came to us. She shows all three humans in our home the same companionable affection, and divides her time amongst us equally, much to my husbands dismay. She is infatuated with my daughters fixed male cat, Edward, and follows him around like a Hollywood stalker. She mostly avoids the older girls, Angel and Bandit, and they do their best to act like she isn't there, which seems to suit them all.

    Today was the drama of a trip to the vet, for spaying, shots and a physical. Having learned my lesson from before, I wrapped her in a towel before attempting to put her in the carrier, and came away unscathed. Our vet is a truly amazing man, he really loves what he does. I watched him handle my prickly cat, Angel, when her leg was broken and in need of a pin, and she was melted butter in his presence. He is kind, gentle and competent. Unfortunately, Storm didn't know this, and slashed at him when he tried to examine her for the first time...she took a swipe at me as well. Good-natured man that he is, he shrugged off my apologies, gently closed up her cage and explained that he had to deal with feral cats frequently and would take good care of her. If he disbelieved my assurances that she was a sweet-heart at home, he was kind enough to hide it well. She gave me such a look of betrayal as I left the clinic, I was crushed. I wished I had a way to explain to her I would be back soon, and that this was for her health and safety. That I was not abandoning her, and she would always have a home with us. She will be back in the morning, and hopefully will not punish me too severely, then we can settle back into our new routine.
    As for me, well, Storm has become my companion on a self-validating journey I have begun recently. With my youngest child about to leave my home, I have been dealing with the typical issues that such a change brings out. Empty nest...who am I now...what were those dreams from so long ago?... I have a lot of questions and a lot of work to do, trying to find my voice again. I remember being fierce, feisty, free and mostly fearless, and am trying to find that again. Nothing special, we all go through it, at some time or another, and done right it can be amazing. The first step on my incredible journey has been schooling; creative writing, painting, collage and such... I have no idea where I am going, but am comfortable with that. The journey is the goal...

    But I did make a rather huge decision, and am slowly getting used to the idea. When my son came of age, just last year, it took months for me to finally face cleaning up his room and turning it into a guestroom. In fact, it still has many of his things, trophies and books and assorted personal items. I did not want him to feel like he didn't have a home anymore. As he has been floating around for a year now, not sure of his course, I have felt good about keeping it ready, just in case. Now my daughter is about to launch, and being who she is, her course is set, the waters charted and her plans made. So now I have her room to face. It is a beautiful room, full of light and spacious, perfect for a art studio...

    No, I can't do that...convert her room to something just for me. It should be a guestroom...except I have one already, actually two, if you count the twin bed in the computer room. I have space, in fact, to house another family, at least for a little while, and I rarely have guests. Just family now and again. My studio is, right now, in the basement, in the back, no windows and undersized for all my interests. I am not complaining, mind you. I have been blessed with enough space to actually call a whole room my own, not just a kitchen table or a closet. But my daughters room is really, really nice...did I mention the windows? The wonderful windows? After much thought, and a lot of agonizing, and many conversations with my daughter starting with , “are you sure you don't mind” and much eye rolling on her part, I am making plans to move my studio up into the light...

...and what has this to do with Storm? 

    Funny how these things work out... this little kitten is fascinated by my studio. She loves to follow me down there, in the wee hours when I can no longer sleep and must, must, must put paint to canvas, or write something brilliant, and she spends her time chasing scraps of paper, pulling brushes from their cups and making a mess of my well ordered supplies. And she chats with me, and I chat back... she occasionally steps on my work, gives me a chirp, or an affectionate bump with her head, (high praise indeed!) I tell her things, and share my fledgling art with her, and fierce as she is, she never judges. She is content to snoop and stalk, then curl up in the most unlikely places. We spend our time in the studio companionably pursuing our own passions, and for that time, I am not lonely, scared or sad. So perhaps my work will include a few paw prints that I hadn't intended, but, to me, it is worth it... I think she'll love the sunny windows in my new studio... that is the story of how this pretty little beast joined our family, when I felt there was no room for another. At a time of loss, self discovery, and change. Funny how these things work out...


  1. I loved your story and your honesty. My youngest finishes high school at the end of November and starts Uni in 6 months time. In Australia our kids stay at home and go to Uni/College but I have my eye on my son's room for a studio.

    Give yourself time to adjust to your daughter's leaving the nest and then turn the room into a studio - a room with a use and a purpose that will make you happy.

    All the best, Michelle from KRRFL.

  2. I loved your story about your home life and your new cat. I too have a young daughter, although mine is 16 and has returned to High School today, for the start of the next two years of her educational journey, then it will be off to University (College) for her. We adopted an old boy back in May, he had been living as a stray for over a year we have been told. Josephine felt sorry for him and insisted he was the cat she wanted to adopt. I too had a cat hating husband, but as he walked out last year never to return, we figured we would get a cat instead! Our old boy has turned out to be not the quiet and placid cat we thought he was, rather a nightmare on four legs that races around our house at top speed, and we wouldn't have it any other way. I found you via Flying Lessons, Beverley, UK