Norman Knight: Introducing Zeb to Our Meowtastic Life

“A cute little cat has been following us for a while,” said Becky, returning from her morning run with neighbor Kelly.

“But when we ran alongside the dogs (Kelly keeps three to six dogs) he decided to take another path. Pity. It was friendly. “

That evening we saw an orange and white blur coming down the hill behind our house. It could have been this friendly cat. And the next day, when we heard meows and saw a feline face staring out the glass door from the deck, we wondered if maybe we weren’t at the start of a bigger shot. But, still, we hesitated. We remembered the saying, “Don’t feed stray animals. Nonetheless, we put a little bit of leftover turkey in a bowl and placed it outside the bridge door. The greatest plan, you don’t know.

These meow window appearances lasted another day and another night. Becky and I discussed the options. “Continue to feed or stop feeding?” Seemed to be moot, at this point. “Indoor cat or outdoor cat?” Well, if inside, he must not be allowed to sleep on our bed with us. We’ve read enough comics to know that cats always end up sleeping on the face of the hapless human as a punchline. Maybe we should ask the vet to check before we get too close. The meeting would be in two days.

Finally, after several deck door openings, the cat slipped between our feet and entered. We kept our eyes on him (he’s a him) as he explored the inner space, perhaps deciding if we were worthy. “Okay, he’s here, but he’ll be sleeping in the garage, at least for now.” We thought a shopping trip was in order. In the pet supplies section, we put food, a litter bag and two litter boxes, one for the house and one for the garages in our cart. Oh, and as we walked away we threw a toy in it.

Becky and I realized he needed a name, and we had both been thinking about it, waiting, I guess, for the right time to talk about it. Then Becky brought up the debate over the name of the grandchildren.

When we learned that our first grandchild, Atticus, would soon have a brother, Mum Rachel decided that the next name should contain, like “Atticus”, three syllables and seven letters. This was the cause of intense discussions. At first I suggested “Zebulon” because it matched Rachel’s parameters and besides, the initial Z would almost poetically balance with the A of “Atticus”. For some reason, everyone, Becky included, immediately rejected my suggestion. But now she wondered if “Zebulon” might be a good name. “Hmm,” I thought, “We could call him ‘Zeb’ or ‘Zebby’ or ‘Mr. Z ‘or simply’ Z. ‘ Yeah, I think I can live with ‘Zebulon’ if he can.

The first thing our vet did was scan Zeb for an ID chip. None signed up, so he did the physical exam and then gave three injections. His assistant took Zeb’s stool that we had brought for testing.

Zeb sleeps in the garage with no problem and he used the litter box from the start. He certainly enjoys his food that one would expect from a cat living alone. He likes to be rubbed and I hope he learns – fingers crossed – that the kitchen counter is off limits.

At least nine lifetimes ago, in the early 1970s I had a cat as a pet. It had been a long time since Becky had a cat in her life. I guess maybe now is the time.

Part of the bigger plan, you don’t know.

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