My Dearest Cleo,
Ah, ma petite, I was devastated to learn of your latest medical adventure. Delicately put, it sounds really, really gross. But at least you got to go to the Really Outrageously Expensive Emergency Hospital. Like I always say, if the mommies make us sick, the very least they must do is pay for it. So you're okay now, yes? And fully up to snuff? You'd better be, 'cause I've got important, and very serious news.
Let us review: We live (or lived, as it will soon become apparent), in this rather oversized abode atop the hill. The location, far away from everything, had it's good points: a long ride to the vet's, lot's of birds upon which to gawk and therefore stalk, and so on. The bad points: coyotes. Dozens, perhaps even millions, of them. These, brazen, mangy creatures even had the audacity to come up on our deck and gaze at us in our playroom (i.e., the entire house) via the French doors. I can hear their tiny little brains now: kitty a l'orange, Kentucky Fried Kitty, a Big McCat, etc.
Anyway, Mommy has recently been complaining about running up and down the hill in that baby-size truck of hers. What an embarrassment that vehicle is. A Trooper, I could see. A Blazer, even. A Land Cruiser or Humvee would be best, but I could even accept a Mercedes SUV. This little four-cylinder bright-red excuse for a four-wheel drive? Please. She even has to turn off the air conditioner and the radio to make it up the hill. But I digress. She also griped about being so far from everything and the cost of maintaining a huge house, etc., etc., etc., as if I didn't hold up my end at all. Who does she think yanks down all that toilet paper for her off the roll so she cal ball it up and wipe down the toilet area? (Granted, from the water I splash from the bowl, but are we getting picky or what?)
So, suddenly our house was filled with empty boxes. Dozens, maybe even thousands, of them. And bit by bit, items began to disappear. Into the boxes, I presumed. And then the boxes would be taped shut and removed from the house.
Each and every morning I would arise to discover yet more items missing. I would frantically race into the kitchen and find only a modicum of comfort to discover that my water bowl and food dish were still on the eating rug, but it was a modicum.
Curtains and drapes came down and disappeared; rugs vanished; whole pieces of furniture (the entire office comes to mind!) just up and turned to dust! (Which explains, if not excuses, the fact I haven't written for so very long. The entire computer, fax, printer disappeared. What was I to do? It's not as if I'm any good at cursive writing, you know. It's this paw thing?)
Not only that, but soon Mommy herself began to disappear for long periods of time during the day, only to return dirty and tired. She would feed us first thing (thank goodness she did not shirk her responsibilities due to vague excuses such as exhaustion or whatever) and then collapse into a deep sleep from which she would not arise until the next morning, no matter how much I harassed her.
And for what, I ask you? Imagine this: The old place was a box of sorts. It was divided into smaller boxes by things called "walls." The walls were all painted white, the floors were all covered with a sort of mauve-beige carpet, with the exception of the bathrooms and kitchen, upon which some sort of smooth covering was upon the floor. There were windows consisting of small panes of glass, and all the rooms were filled with furniture, decorative items (not all in the best of taste, but they seemed to appeal to Mommy for some strange reason), clothes, food, dishes, etc. In effect, the usual. So what happens? Mommy supervises the removal from our home, the only home I have ever known, I repeat, of everything. Yes, everything. All that is left is us. In carriers. And then even we are removed. And where do we end up? Now get this.
It is a large box, divided by smaller boxes by "walls." The number of smaller boxes appears to be roughly the same as before, if you don't count those areas in the old place that were always "off limits." The walls are white, and the carpets are mauve-beige. Except for the kitchen and bathrooms, upon which some sort of smooth covering exists. And all the rooms are filled up with exactly the same furniture and decorations that were in the old house. And in the exact same configuration! Now, I ask you: does this make any sense? Even the windows are the same, all with screens keeping us in even when the windows are open.
People have pieces missing. First, would a proper feline ever do such a thing? No. When we leave, we leave everything behind. If one is to make a proper new start, why encumber oneself with old furniture and dishes? No, we simply hit the road and start anew. We are, in fact, the Kerouacs of the nonhuman world. Second, and let's face it, this is the important item here: we would NEVER LEAVE in the first place. Why? Oh, sure, sure, I can understand taking off in a fit of pique or retaliation for our mommy's switching to discount cat food, but just for the sake of leaving? No. We need a good reason, a life-changing reason, or we stay put. Period.
But there is good news. I happened to take notice of Mommy's name, address, and date book (it is, sadly, so often empty. She leads such a dull life, poor thing. I suggested pottery or rock collecting, but does she listen?) and discovered that my new home is not very far from you. In fact, I heard my mommy say she is about to switch all of us to the same vet you go to. Is he or she any good? I hate changing vets without a proper recommendation.
Okay, so things seem under control. Or seemed. Just this morning, what do I see? Mommy's suitcases. The good Lark suitcases. Out on the bedroom floor.
With much love, fear, and trepidation,
Tyrone the Temblor
Copyright 2000 by Virginia L. Browne and Linda Hamner
From LETTERS FROM CLEO AND TYRONE
By Virginia L. Browne and Linda Hamner
Reprinted by permission of St. Martin's Press, LLC