Monday, March 06, 2006


The problem wasn’t the new cat. It was a pretty cat, black and white, what his wife called a “tuxedo.” The problem was that it was the thirty-seventh cat.

Bill’s wife Cora had always brought home stray cats. Some stayed, but never more than eight or nine at a time. Five years ago, when Bill finished his and Cora’s dream house at the lake, he helped Cora move the cats that shared their apartment in Vancouver. They were part of the family.

But now there were cats on the sofas and beds, cats on tables and chairs, cats on the sideboard and dressers. Tigers, tabbies, calicos, tuxedos… The screen porch facing the lake, where for the first year Bill and Cora shared breakfast, was now filled with litter boxes.

Oh, Cora took good care of the cats. She bathed the new arrivals in the deep sink Bill had installed for her and treated them for fleas and worms. She kept records of shots and vet visits. She made meals that met their special dietary needs. Regularly she scooped their boxes, so that Bill and Cora’s house, while it smelled of cat, never smelled of cat litter.

But with the arrival of the thirty-seventh cat, Bill had to face it. No matter what promises Cora made, nothing changed. Except the number of cats. There would be a thirty-eighth cat and a thirty-ninth. Someday there would be a hundredth cat, and every surface would be covered.

The day after the tuxedo cat arrived, Bill drove into the city to see Dr. Fulton, Cora’s physician. He described Cora’s obsession with cats. Dr. Fulton told him that thirty-seven cats were a lot, but they had a big house in the country. Besides, adopting strays demonstrated Cora’s kindness, and Bill wouldn’t want her any other way, would he?

Driving back to the lake, Bill realized cats weren’t hot flashes, and no doctor could cure Cora of them. But there was a solution: a house for the cats. All Bill had to do was build it.

When he brought up the idea to Cora, she said cats need a home, not a kennel. Bill told her it wouldn’t be like that. Just as he had built this dream house for Cora and himself, he would build a dream house for the cats.

Cora put her heart into planning the cats’ dream house. It would be built on a corner of their lot. The front would be a picture window facing the lake. There would be a small kitchen for preparing cat meals, even a bathroom, although Bill didn’t see why cats needed that.

Finally, the house was completed, and, of course, Cora wouldn’t move the cats over. A home is more than windows and beds and chairs, she told Bill.

Bill guessed it was also more than a microwave, a shower, and a toilet. A home required a television set and cable, too. He would see to those before he moved in.


Blogger StarWarrior Rie said...

Poor Bill.

Whatever gave you the idea for such a unique story?


StarWarrior Rie

7:53 PM  

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