Sweet Squeaker Grooming Herself at One of Her Birthday Parties!
She was seven when she came to live with me, and we made up a time for her birthdays.
Squeaker was the most amazing and magical cat girl I've ever seen.
I was blessed and privilaged to be in Her sweet presence for over three years, far too scant, but years so filled with tender love and devotion that they were truly transformative in my life. I hope I was able to give her the love she had so craved and the safety she needed so deeply.
Squeaker, by the time she'd come into my life, could not speak.
Perhaps she'd been born that way. I"m not sure, and probably never will be, but she made a tiny sound that was like a squeak, and so...her nickname.
But her real name, owing to her glamorous looks and reddish hair was Rita Mae Catworth, in honor of the great movie star, Rita Haworth.
Squeak Toy, as I also called her, was a young mother when I met her.
She lived with a neighbor with several other cats and a parrot and a nice person, but she did have to go outside, which in our area meant coyotes and large hawks - ever-present dangers to cats, especially to smallish, dainty girl cats like she.
Her original person, the mother of the neighbor who'd simply dropped her off one day, for an undisclosed reason, had named her Charlotte.
Disliking this name as a prudish and wimpy moniker for the girl I'd babysit with when her person would go out of town, I started calling her Squeaker or Squeak, and she loved it.
She had at that time a full nursey of two adorable, rolly-polly youngsters, one of whom I nicknamed Tubby, since he was the chubbier of the two.
When I'd visit her, I would see her beautiful, shining fur blazing in the sun, her sweet form trotting in the yard toward me in abandoned love. I've never known anyone capable of such freely-shared love and tenderness in my life.
In the happy daytimes, the cats next door reveled in their freedom, but, alas, and probably inevitably for Southern California, the outside cats, the two kittens, as they grew, fell prey one night to most likely, coyotes or even wild dogs.
Squeaker was visibly traumatized, and began to visit me, sitting outside the backdoor, on the door, at the window where she could look for me and ask me to let her in.
We'd visit, and then I would take her home, since she was not, after all, mine to keep.
She got pregnant again, despite my offering to take her in to get spayed for her own health reasons, and because the kittens had had such a tragic end before, but the neighbor declined.
So, when, one night, the neighbor gone out - actually, out of town, and he'd neglected to tell me to watch Squeaker - I thought I heard a very faint and tiny "mew" on the Santa Ana winds, and opened my window to listen again...nothing.
I quelled the urge to wander next door and to investigate, secure in the fact that my neighbor was a good person and would make sure of everything.
The next morning, having gone over to see about her, I found Squeaker, hiding under the house, and all six kittens she'd apparently had during the night dead. Dehydration had set in since they'd crawled too far under the house for Squeak to reach them, and since she had no voice, they could not hear her frantic efforts to call them to her.
After this tragedy, I asked the neighbor to please let her live with me, and he, this time, agreed
Her need for security was, therefore, great, and I kept her on my shoulder for much of the days following, while she grieved and tried to get over her traumas.
The oddest thing was this: some of the male neighbors assumed she was a "bad mother", and one of them was actually prejudiced against her!
Humans can be so judgemental, and with so little empathetic thought as to the true circumstances of things!
Despite my explanations, and my protestations since I'd seen her be a great mother all along, I realized what distorted values and ideas some people keep despite evidence to the contrary.
She never again had to be an outside cat, in continual danger.
Do you know that the average outdoor cat only lives two years?
And that cats can live for over thirty years, if kept safely indoors?
So, my glamorous girl came to live with me, and to become my best friend, my closest confidante, and the most passionately loyal pal anyone could ever have.
I already had a rescued black cat, named Junior, and Squeaker and he became the closest of companions, and so often I'd see them, napping in the afternoons together, on a satin coverlet in the sunlight of our skylight.
Squeaker never failed to say "Thank you." with her gloriously beuatiful yellow-gold eyes, when she'd gaze at me in purest love.
She had a wonderful way of hugging my shoulder when I'd hold her, and burying her head in my hair.
I see her in my mind's eye now, Sitting amid silver objects at the back window, the view filled with blazes of new nesturtiums, and Squeaker never missed a sunset. She'd sit at the balcony every late afternoon and stare in awe at the beautiful pastels coloring the heavens.
We had several love-filled years together, when I went to Europe for a time, asking another neighbor to stay with them and I begged them to be sure to keep them indoors, no matter what.
And yet, somehow, that person decided to leave the terrace door ajar, and Squaker was last seen on the steep hillside above the sea, walking in the sunshine.
I walked around the areas on my return for many days, searching for some trace, fliering, and asking people.
I still believe that maybe, just maybe, someone took her in, and she, hearing my voice calling out for her, of course, could not answer me.
This was the saddest part, and the mystery remains.
And yet, we're all in God's hands, aren't we?
And God is good.
We'll meet in Heaven no matter what.
AND THEN I SAW THE SEABIRDS, THEIR TAILFEATHERS SWERVING THEM ALMOST OFF THEIR PERCHES ON A SNOWY HILLSIDE, THEIR SILHOUETTES OUTLINED IN THE GLAZIEST ,COLORFUL SUNSET I’VE SEEN- A VARIETY RESERVED SOLELY FOR THE BRAVEST SOULS WHO VENTURE TO THESE EXTREME NORTHERN LANDS, LIKE THE WHALES AND THE SEAGULLS THERE. THEY, BOTH, WERE GAZING AT THE SETTING SUN, REMINDING ME OF MY CAT, SQUEAKER, A WONDROUSLY EVOLVED BEING WHO’D ADOPTED ME. SHE USED TO SIT, AS DO SEABIRDS, AND WATCH THE SUNSET EVERY DAY, FROM HER OWN PERCH ON THE BACK VERANDA IN MALIBU, OVERLOOKING THE SEA. SHE, AS THEY, BECAME MESMERIZED AND OFTEN SIGHED, AND I KNEW SHE WAS ADORING THE COLORS, THE SHAPES, THE LUXURIANT DISPLAY THE UNIVERSE PUTS ON FOR THOSE WHO WAIT, THE FINEST GOD HAS TO OFFER. I KNEW SHE WAS IN AWE, PONDERING.
I KNEW BECAUSE SHE OFTEN WOULD WATCH ME AT WHAT WE WOULD PERCEIVE AS MUNDANE CHORES, BUT HAVING TO DO WITH PRIMATE DIGITAL DEXTERIFY.
WE PRIMATES ARE A PUZZLING LOT TO OTHER SPECIES, WITH OUR MONKEY-SCRAMBLING, OUR QUICK FINGERS, OUR WITTY APPLICATIONS TO PROBLEM-SOLVING.
SHE USED TO WATCH, HYPNOTIZED BUT WHAT MY LITTLE FINGERS COULD DO, AND OFTEN WOULD ATTEMPT THE VERY SAME THINGS, AS IF , BY WATCHING ME, SHE COULD, WOULD, ONE DAY BE ABLE TO DUPLICATE THESE TASKS IN HER OWN LITTLE WORLD,WITH HER OWN LITTLE VALUES.
EVERYTHING IS SIMPLY A MINOR SHIFT OF CIRCUMSTANCE. RELATIVITY.
TO HER, BEING ABLE TO OPEN A CAN WOULD HAVE SEEMED MIRACULOUS. BEING ABLE TO OPEN A DOOR, A WINDOW.
JUST LITTLE THINGS WE TAKE FOR GRANTED.
Remember - keep your cats indoors.
Outdoor cats only live an average of two years, and each cat is responsible for over 250 deaths of songbirds alone each year, and ingesting the parasites from outside shortens a cat's life considerably and destroys their quality of life.
Our Teddy - Our Cats >