Sunday, May 4, 2014

Snowcone and Me

This is the story of Snowcone, a 12-year-old white cat with a gray smudge on the top of his head. As for me, my story will come out in the telling of his. In July 2001, someone dropped off a white kitten on the doorstep of a suburban Virginia home in which the owner operated a shelter for cats in her basement. This kitten, named Snowcone for obvious reasons, would spend more than seven years there. He had a disorder in which his immune system attacked the bacteria in the cavities of his teeth. His gums and throat were inflamed, as were his eyes from a blocked tear duct. The only cure was to remove his teeth, which the shelter owner was reluctant to do. In the way of living things, the other cats would pick on him because he was sickly. I started to volunteer at the shelter with my friend Kristi, who had a soft spot for Snowcone, but we both already had cats at home. Time passed and Kristi moved to Seattle. My older cat ZsaSu, who was Supreme Ruler at our house, died of cancer and I decided to adopt Snowcone, in part to keep my giant tuxedo cat, Floyd, company. In February 2009, Snow came to live with us. I did have his teeth removed and his health returned. It took more than a year for Floyd to accept him, although I suspect this may have been a performance staged for my benefit. One day I returned home early to find them eating from the same bowl and looking faintly embarrassed to see me. Cats are complicated creatures. My beloved Floyd passed away in July 2011 and now it's just me and Snow. He's a remarkable cat in many ways and has an expression that indicates he's giving careful consideration to the issue at hand. Considering that he spent all those years in a shelter, he's a gentleman and a gentle soul. At the risk of sounding like a crazy cat lady, I think there's a lot to be learned from cats. ZsaSu taught me about setting boundaries, which she did quite well. Floyd showed me that there is no way of showing love that's too goofy. And this white cat personifies courage and the ability to survive.

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