For a few years running, back before the grandchildren came along, Daddy used to bring home a little kitten on Christmas Eve. Whichever one had been left at the kennel after the cutest ones had been adopted. So what I’m trying to say–gently–is that these weren’t your most attractive kittens. They were the kinda wonky ones, that still deserved love.
Well, one year, we got the wonkiest of them all. His name was Little Red.
It was a few hours until Christmas Eve dinner and we kids were all hanging around in the kitchen watching Daddy and Gay cook. You know, like you do in big families with small kitchens. That’s when Daddy looked over his shoulder from the stove and said, “Oh, I almost forgot! I got us a Christmas kitten–Brett, run down to the clinic and get that little orange kitten and bring him home.” Brett DISSOLVED into laughter so we knew something had to be up.
Thirty minutes later, here comes Brett with a cardboard cat carrier that’s making little mewling noises. She sets the carrier down in the center of the library rug but won’t open it up until she has everyone’s attention. “Y’all just aren’t going to believe how beautiful this kitten is! Close your eyes!” So we do and she starts giggling again and there’s some rustling and mewling and…
…I wish I had a picture.
There in the middle of the rug stood a bright orange kitten, about the size of a coffee cup. He looked like he had been hit by a truck because, well he had been hit by a truck. This tiny fluff ball had his right front leg in a cast wrapped in red bandages. His left back leg was popped out of joint and still sitting crooked. His nose had been sewn back on with some stitches poking out. He looked like he had sideburns because of the dark greasy streaks from some earmite medicine. His whole backside had been shaved so Daddy could sew up a long laceration right by his hooty-hole. Which was all dabbed in some fluorescent chartreuse antibiotic cream.
“ISN’T HE ADORABLE???” Brett squealed. We were speechless. The kitten looked around at all of us staring at him–on top of his otherwise shitty couple of days–and said, “Mew?” Then he stalked around the room, inspecting his new kingdom. The cast made him swing his leg out in a big circle like a peg-legged pirate. With each step, it made a “bonk” sound on the hardwood floor.
Daddy said, “A lady from the Humane Society found him lying in the middle of the road and when she saw he was still alive, she brought him in for me to put him to sleep. I told her I would, but after she left I reached down to pat him and he started purring.” That was all the explanation we needed as to why Daddy had spent Christmas Eve gluing this orange kitten back together. Because my Daddy has a special place in his heart for “yella cats.”
Did you ever get a kitten for Christmas? A peg-legged, shaved-ass, pirate kitten with sideburns?