Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Antique cat and bird postcard

I'm not sure who is talking to who. The cat or the canary? I know that my cat Violet has no real affection for Stella. But Stella definitely has an affection for cats-although they've never been able to figure that out.

When Stella was a baby, she lived with two cats-Natalie and Natalie's son Bert. Natalie was transfixed with Stella. She would sit beneath Stella's cage and stare and stare and stare from the time I left for work until the time I got home. Natalie would have jumped to get closer to Stella but Natalie was not an athletic cat. Two feet up was as high as that cat could jump. So Stella and Natalie were permanently separated by Natalie's physical limitations but they spent every day staring at each other. 

Natalie eventually passed away from old age and Stella became grief-stricken when Natalie was no longer there to witness every minute of her life. Stella refused to eat. Stella refused to move. I took Stella to the vet to have her examined because I did not know what to do or what was causing this very withdrawn behavior. The vet held her on her back in his hand and drew some blood. Stella was confused and helpless. Her little feet reached and reached for something to grab onto but when she couldn't find anything, each foot grabbed for the other one. It was heartbreaking. The vet said she had a small head for her size and that she was a basket case. Well, great. Thanks. How much do I owe you? That was the first and last time I saw that particular vet. Good thing Stella is a tough chick and eventually rebounded. I figured out that she was in grief and just let her go through what she had to go through. She missed her cat who stared at her all day. 

I remember one time going through a picture book with Stella (probably something I had lying around as research for an illustration). When we looked at a big photograph of a bird, she would jump to its eyes and try to peck them out. When we looked at a big photograph of a cat, she would jump down and carefully try to groom the whiskers.

I like to think that the bird in the postcard (the "Stella") is the one doing the talking in this postcard. I'm sure she has feelings for Violet but Violet will never figure that out because for all of her life, Stella has won every confrontation. The two of them are horrible. Violet will wait for Stella to come out of her cage at night and then the two of them will chase each other and have some significant final stare downs on the fireplace mantle. Like I said, nobody can compete with Stella. And like I said before, Stella is a very tough chick but she does have a surprising sensitive side. It just requires extraordinary patience and sensitivity to perceive and for Violet, those are two words which will never be used to describe her. It's also a little difficult for Violet to see Stella's sensitive side when Stella  is actively chasing and tormenting her every chance she gets. But I know, way way way down deep inside, she has feelings for the cats in her life. :-)

When you look at antique postcards, it's always so surprising to find that the postcard reached its destination with just the scrawled name of the person and the city and the state. Sometimes you find an actual message written on the reverse side. This one I think is kind of funny........oh Joe, what was your problem?

Friend Joe:- You will forgive me this time won't you but I was so busy I just couldn't think of everyone you know and then besides you never ask me to write. Laura

1 comment:

Q said...

Dear Mari,
Stella is a fine bird! Such a charming story. She does seem to have hardned her heart so as not to grieve again! Losing one's adoring cat is difficult. I lost mine in 1993 and I am still grieving.