From the Archives: A June Morning, 2002

gray cat on bricks
Moses enjoys her thermonuclear arthritis treatment.

On sunny June mornings when I look out the basement door at the sun dappling the brick patio I’d built there, I always picture Moses reclining on the bricks, now and then rolling on her back and slowly rolling all the way over, soaking in the sun from above and its reflected heat from below. She rolled around on those bricks nearly every day of the year, even in winter, even when I had to clear snow. She was as stubborn as the bricks she rolled on, but I would have parted the clouds myself for her to have her daily sunny nap on the bricks. As one of my occasional Friday vintage photos, here is Moses enjoying a June morning just as I’ll always remember her.

Moses was 12 before she sat on my lap, and I could never pet her with both hands, only one at a time. Long before she trusted me enough to pet her, I was besotted with her shy and gentle personality, and as long as I didn’t make any attempt to pick her up or entrap her in any way, or any loud noises or fast moves, she would sit near me purring and blinking at me happily. I nearly cried with happiness when she did this. With her thick gray fur and sweet personality—”If she was any sweeter, she’d melt,” I always said—I called her The Velveteen Kitty.

When other people entered the house, she sidled off behind something and seemed to disappear. If she was frightened and couldn’t hide she rolled up in a ball and hid her face but never ran away. And she was absolutely silent, only after several years giving a little “silent meow” but talking happily to herself late at night when all other cats were in bed with me as I heard the sound of a bizzy ball downstairs.

I initially thought she was simply too wary or frightened to run and play like other kittens, but I also noticed that sometimes her hind legs wobbled. She could jump short distances but certainly not like the others, and she never ran but only trotted and went up and down the steps like a bunny. But when her hind legs didn’t seem to catch up to the rest of her body I asked the veterinarian about it and had her X-rayed. Her legs had seemed to quit developing at some point, the joint not completed and working properly, the bones smaller than they should be, the muscles undeveloped. Whether this was from prenatal or post-natal malnutrition, a genetic condition or all of the above no one could know. Though she couldn’t run and play but could only sit or lie down and only do a partial cat stretch, and this condition must have been quite painful, she never let this get in her way of enjoying her day, always ready with a soft purr and an eye blink for me.

When glucosamine/chondroitin supplements became available I gave her the pills for about a month. It made no difference in her ability and only served to make her wary of me, and while she tolerated the pill she gave me one of her very direct looks and headed for a spot of sunshine, or asked to be allowed into her outside areas so she could soak in the sunshine. This was her preferred therapy.

In her later years she was the spirit of my garden, her main goal to find the sunniest spot on some nice, warm bricks and have a really good nap as birds, voles and other creatures went about their daily habits to her sleepy disregard. She quit running when strangers arrived as her hearing and eyesight began to fail in her later teens and she simply wasn’t as aware of them. She made it to her nineteenth year, accepting all of her physical limitations but enjoying life no less than some other cats who race around the house, beg for attention and steal food.

Read more about Moses in My Favorite Feral, and My Enlightenment.

And a few other photos: Early, and Late, in the Year

And browse the archives for Moses

This was first published in June 2012.

. . . . . . .

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Bernadette

From health and welfare to rescue and adoption stories, advocacy and art, The Creative Cat offers both visual and verbal education and entertainment about cats for people who love cats. From catchy and creative headlines to factual articles and fictional stories, The Creative Cat provides constant entertainment and important information to people who love cats, pets and animals of all species.

5 thoughts on “From the Archives: A June Morning, 2002

  • June 29, 2013 at 1:34 pm
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    Moses sounds like a very special angel. I really wish there were no feral cats.
    All kittens should be born in a loving safe home!

    Reply
  • June 28, 2013 at 8:39 pm
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    What an exceptional cat. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Moses. We could all learn a thing or two from her.

    Reply
    • June 28, 2013 at 8:54 pm
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      Janet, she taught me so many lessons of patience and self-control. I will miss her forever.

      Reply
  • June 28, 2013 at 7:27 pm
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    Little individuals. 🙂 Li’s Yemaya (Ye-ye) has some similar quirks of personality. She didn’t let me pet her for years and years. 🙂

    Reply
    • June 28, 2013 at 7:46 pm
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      With Moses, it wasn’t a preference or a quirk, it’s a trait of a feral kitten and petting her was truly frightening to her. She’d been born in a feral colony in the woods and never had any contact with humans and learned that humans were a danger and never really lost that fear. It took her most of her life to learn to trust me enough to let me pet her like a regular kitty or to sit or my lap, and she enjoyed it, but the slightest thing could bring up her fears again. But she had such a hard time walking she couldn’t run away, so I was always aware of her fears–I never wanted her to learn to distrust me again. Other people, well, that only happened when she was so old, 19, it didn’t matter anymore.

      Reply

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