Saturday, November 28, 2015

Black is the New Black - Part I

While discussing possible dance costume choices, I remember a dance instructor telling me that the color black is one of the hardest colors to match. He went on to say that people think "black is black" but he said there are so many shades of black that it is nearly impossible to find a perfect match.

I thought of this statement as I marvelled and enjoyed the distinct differences between our three black cats. Not only is/was their hair texture slightly different, the way the light reflects off them is different as well. The tones, the shades, the hues are all quite unique. And that is just their hair.

Their personalities are so very different and uniquely special unto themselves. The one thing I love best about all three of them is their "beta cat" quality. No one pushed hard to be the leader of the pack but each one of them has/had their own personal limits.

It is hard to pick a tense to write in because I am referring to Andre, our "original black cat"; as well as Ray, formerly known as "Junior Cat"; and Jet, basically known as "Jet" who is the newest black cat to pick us as his family.

Andre - Our Original Black Cat - Cat I of a III Cat Series

We noticed the title of the chapter this book is turned to, long after the fact. Recently, we were sorting through and organizing our cat photos when we noticed the caption "To Be Chosen". I was simply taking a picture of our most cuddly black cat, snuggled up on my lap, half covering the page I was reading. He had the most unique way of getting our attention. For him to choose to settle on my lap on that exact page, then for us not to even notice until after he had died, felt like an omen of some sort.
Andre was the original. He set the bar and broke the mold. He wasn't even supposed to be our cat. Some kids threw him into our yard during a lunch break at school and my second son rescued him and tucked him away safely in his room. As my son left to go back to school, he told me there was a cat in his room. "Just leave him until I get back home..." Well, as they say, the rest is history.

I have written so many Andre Tales within the contents of this blog, I suddenly want to go back and read them. His evolution of being the youngest and newest of a three cat family to becoming our "one and only cat". He was our original Daycare Kitty. He was the trail blazer, an adventure seeker and a friend to one and all. His purr was the best purr I've ever heard in my life. You could hear him across a room. It seemed like he delighted himself by making us smile and he performed on so very many different levels for us.

My youngest son and I spent so much time loving our little black cat, marvelling at his ways, savoring his love, laughing at his antics and simply watching him at play. Andre followed him to bed so when I popped in to say good night, Andre would become the centre of our conversation and this is quite likely when our daily "Cat Chat" originated.

It was a sad day when I realized Andre wasn't eating much and started to lose weight. I was terrified this was the beginning of the end of his story. Looking back, it quite likely was. But I bought soft cat food, found his favorite brand and flavor and slowly, but surely he regained his appetite so by the time he went for his annual vet visit, he was almost back at the weight from the previous year.

I never quite recovered from the scare and I knew how devastated my son (not to mention myself) would be if "anything ever happened" to Andre. So after Andre seemed to be doing much better and eating well again, we went cat shopping. I wasn't ready to commit but I thought we could look into the idea of fostering a cat. And that is the beginning of Ray's story and how his original title, only known to me at the time, was that of a "back up cat".

All we knew for sure when we went looking for cats was that we wanted a male cat. There were only two male cats at the time and one of them was a definite "Alpha" male, so that immediately put him out of the running. Our quiet and respectful Beta cat at home would surely shrivel up and die if some Alpha male walked in and took over. So our attention was drawn to the only other male available. We heard his story and how docile he was among the other cats. Despite the fact that he was one stinky mess (he had a case of diarrhea that resulted in an "accident" of the smelly kind, enroute to this Alley Cat Open House), we went for a drive to think on it. Like I said before, the rest is history.

This picture, with Ray showing his "trusting side" while Andre looks on from a distance makes me think of the present. Ray is still here, trusting us to look out for his best interests even after his original black buddy is gone but still very present in our hearts and memories.
My story does not end here but my window of time has closed and I must go put in a day's work. I will continue on with our Cat Saga - "Black is the New Black  - Part II" tomorrow.

To be continued...

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