Quiet down everybody.
Hey. Hey! HEY!
Don’t make me get the restraints out, Cheryl.
Today, at the Reluctant Cat Owner Psychiatric Ward, we have a very special guest. Her name is Leah, and she is the caretaker/owner of a polydactyl, deaf cat named Debbie. Leah (who I estimate is 15 or 16 years old – I don’t think I ever asked because when is it not appropriate to ask a woman’s age?) was the assistance stage manager of a show in which I recently performed. During a conversation about cats, I learned about her handicat, Debbie, and begged her for a story to share.
Linda, get that out of your mouth. Put it down, Linda. Linda!
So now that we have all taken our meds and gathered in the rec room, I’m going to turn you over to Leah. Be nice or it’s solitary for all of you. If you’re all good, you’ll be treated to cherry Kool-Aid and Jackson’s Jumble Lemon Cookies during group therapy this afternoon.
My cat, Debbie, has had a big impact on my life. Her mother, Mille, was found on the streets in the early 2000’s and was brought home by my aunt’s friend.
When Debbie was born, she was given to an elderly couple who kept her for almost five years. When the old woman passed away, her husband moved into a nursing home. Since we got Mille (our other cat) a couple years before, we took Debbie in.
Once I found out that Debbie was born deaf, I fell in love with her and wanted her to fall in love with me. I thought she was the cutest cat I had ever seen: white fur, yellow-greenish eyes, extra toes (in total, she’s got twenty-seven toes). I was SO excited to get her.
She wouldn’t come out from under my dad’s tools for quite some time. By the end of the week, I had coaxed her out with treats.
I loved her so much, I decided to add onto her name, so right now, her full name is Princess Debra La Von Meow Barrett Jr., The First.
My favorite memory with her was giving her first bath. I had gotten four towels, her body wash, and a tub filled halfway with water. I kneeled down in front of the tub and set her inside. I will never forget how wide her eyes got. She started meowing so loud everyone at home came into the bathroom, wondering why there was a baby in the house.
It was very funny watching her. She would climb out of the bathtub and run around the bathroom, trying to escape. After a lot of struggling, I wrapped her in two towels and dried her off, but she was so scared I would put her back in the tub, she wouldn’t let go of me. To comfort her, I held her like you would a baby and rocked her. It was the best feeling in the world knowing that she trusted me and let me hold her so closely.
We’re very close. she sleeps next to me every night, and when I’m not home for a night or two, she will whine and whine. I’m able to tell her to come to me using my own version of sign language. Also, she knows when to come and comfort me when I’m having a bad day.
I love her so much, and I don’t know what I’d do without her. She’s become like my very own baby that I take care of. She’s also my best friend.