In our lifetime, many of us will experience things that have a profound and lasting effect on us, events so surreal that they test our ability to separate fact from fiction. I had such an experience when a cat named Lady Angel (April, as I originally called her) entered my life. I wrote of that experience in a previously published piece titled A Small Miracle Named Lady Angel. It is posted on this blog (check June 2007 archive)and I recommend you read it before continuing with the story of Punkin. For those of you who have read A Small Miracle Named Lady Angel and were touched and amazed by it read on…for the best is yet to come.
Time has passed since Lady Angel left this life. Her surviving four kittens are doing very well. Oreo, the black kitten found a home with a young girl that lives up the street. The two Tortie sisters, I call them the Fairy Slipper Sisters, Angel and Amber, and their ginger tabby brother, the Magic Leprechaun Cat, Finn McCool, remain with me. They are now a little over seven months old.
About a month ago, I was outside in my front yard serving the night meal to my feline friends. Scooter, the cat who brought me Lady Angel, was, as usual, supervising my efforts. Suddenly, Scooter became very alert, his attention drawn to a dark area in the garden.
I turned in the direction he was looking and I saw something move. Out of the high grass sprung a small kitten. The kitten ran off a few feet, stopped, then ran across the street. I followed close behind it and called to it. It stopped and faced me. I crouched down, so as not to frighten it, and called to it again. It straightway came back, and right to me.
I scooped it up in my arms, and held it close. It started purring and rubbing against me. I knew it had to be hungry and had come to eat, so I took it inside the house. There, I have a permanent set up for just such an occasion. It is a small crate, that contains a bed, a litter box and water and food dishes.
Once inside the house, I was able to get a good look at the kitten. To say I was surprised at what I saw was an understatement. The kitten in my arms was a perfect match for the Fairy Slipper Sisters, the same Tortie color, four white feet and a white bib and tummy. The fact that she had come from the place where I had buried their dead kitten sister only added to the mystery.
I put her in the crate and got her a meal that she promptly ate. Then, I let her rest for the night sleeping safely in her warm bed, and headed back outside to finish feeding Scooter and his friends.
The next morning, I took the new arrival upstairs to where Finn and the Sisters were staying.
There was absolutely no difference between the kitten that I held in my arms and the two female kittens, Angel and Amber, who met me at the top of the stairs. They had the same tortoiseshell color, the same amber eyes, the same white markings and were even the same size, an indication that they were probably about the same age. The lone difference between them was that the kitten in my arms had a long, silky coat and a very fluffy tail.
I did not set the new kitten down, as I wanted to have the vet examine her before I exposed the other kittens to her.
When I took her to the vet, everybody there was amazed by the similarity. In fact, they thought I had brought back one of the original kittens. She got a clean bill of health, save for some fleas and the fact she had not been neutered. The fleas were easily dealt with, and the neutering put off for another day.
Then, the important decision had to be made. Would she stay and become a member of the family? Finn McCool settled that by becoming totally enamored with the new arrival, fawning shamelessly over her to the exclusion of his two sisters. The next question was what to name our mystery lady.
It was a tradition when I was growing up for the youngest in the family to be called Punkin as a term of endearment. I was called Punkin, and so too, was my daughter, Elizabeth, and more recently, my granddaughter, Amy. So, since she was the newest arrival, I named her Punkin.
Punkin is now a full member of the McCool clan. But, I am sorry to report that Finn is no longer enamored with her. He was all for looking after her when he thought she was a helpless orphan. But, he soon learned that she was a wildcat in disguise, leaping and pouncing on everyone in turn. After he got his clocked cleaned a time of two, Finn decided he best be leaving her alone.
She has since mellowed and fits in perfectly. But, what does one make of the mystery of her sudden appearance from the exact spot where the kitten, which had perished at birth, was buried? From where did she come? How could it be that she is a perfect match in appearance and age for the Fairy Slipper Sisters? Cats are said to have nine lives. Could it be she still has eight left?