Mothers Day Essay Contest Submission

Dear Cat Practice,

My name is Maxi, but it wasn’t always Maxi…….

I used to live outside, in Little Ferry, New Jersey.  I was thin, lonely and hungry for food and affection.  One summer evening I heard the sounds of a family enjoying a barbecue with lights, music and laughter.  I timidly approached, hoping my new found friends would offer me a treat.  Did they ever??!!  That might have been some of the best chicken I’d ever tasted.  I didn’t get too close, so they put it on a paper plate several yards away from where they were sitting.  Feeling full, I wandered away again…

A couple of day later, I went back to that yard that had been so pretty with lights and spotted a potters bench in the sunlight.  Up I hopped, and settled on a shelf for a snooze.  Lady of the house spotted me and quietly left some food, pretty sure it was bologna, outside the basement door.  It was delicious!  I returned to my potter’s shelf day after day.  One day, to my surprise and joy, a fluffy pillow had been left where I’d been napping recently.  After making a few biscuits on top of it, I settled down for what was becoming a ritual.  I sleep in the sun, now on a pillow, eat outside the basement door, and then wander away, alone.  One day, after a bad rainstorm, I assumed my pillow would be all soggy and wet.  Imagine my delight when I discovered the pillow was warm and dry and smelled like dryer sheets!!

Winter was coming.  It gets cold in New Jersey right after summer ends, especially at night.  By November, it was blustery and December was no better.  I was so thankful for the warm pillow and the bowls of cat food and water.  I don’t know how to tell time so there were some days when I missed the Lady.  I didn’t know it, but she missed me, too.  She told me, some time later, that she once spent a frantic night worried about me during an ice storm.  She told me she didn’t like the idea of me searching for a warm, dry place to spend the night.

Little did I know that she was hatching a catnapping!!  She lived alone during the week, with family coming on the weekends.  She wanted me…and I wanted her!  Lady used to leave me food and water by the basement door.  She’d call out “max, come and eat” when she left the food.  Sometimes, my ugly brother, ‘faciabrute’ would get to the food before me, but I didn’t mind.  He may have had a face not as pretty as mine, but he was hungry, too.   One day, the basement door was left open while I ate.  I meant to tell the Lady this, but she was nowhere to be seen.  The next day, the door was left open, too; and my bowl was moved a few inches to the left.  Maybe the Lady is senile??   I mean, it’s winter, it’s 25 degrees out here!  She should close the door before she lets all the heat out!

The third day, the door was open again, and this time, my bowl was on a step inside the house!!  Boy, did it feel warm in there!   What could be the harm in eating in a warm room for a change???  It seemed like an invitation and it smelled like the Lady.  ( I know because I always rub against her leg when she’s outside)   So, I ate inside and then left for another night in the cold.  The next day was Saturday and that guy was there.  I saw him come in last night with his bags.   He didn’t scare me much and sometimes, he’d feed me, too!

Saturday afternoon, again, open door, dish inside.   This time, my dinner was on the very bottom step, pretty far away from the door.  But, my stomach was growling and I wanted to eat.  I never noticed the door closing, never heard it!  When I saw Lady behind me, I noticed the door had closed.  I was nervous for a moment, even scared.  I tried to open the door, but it was closed tight.  The Lady disappeared up another flight of stairs…  I didn’t know what to do, so I followed her.  The Guy was sitting in the parlour, and boy did he look surprised when I walked into the room.  Inside the house was a pillow, just like my outside pillow, and a big bowl of food and fresh, cool water.  There was some weird box that had some smelly rocky stuff in it.  Pretty sure I was supposed to poop in there, so I did!!

That Monday, I went for a car ride to see a nice doctor who looked me over and stuck some nasty things into me!  I weighed just a bit over 9# and the doctor guessed I was 5 years old.  He also told the Lady that I was a girl and she immediately changed my name to Max – I – Cat, Maxi for short.

We stayed in the house in Little Ferry until 2010.  Me and the Lady slept together on the big bed up even more stairs all week long.  On Fridays, the Guy would come, and I’d have to share the big bed with him, too, until Monday.

One day, the Lady and I went for a car ride to a big airport.  She must have been scared, because she was crying as she hugged her family, her son and daughter, her first ‘guy’.  They were telling her its okay to have an adventure and they’d be fine.  She seemed happy and sad at the same time.  We went inside and waited on a long line.  I didn’t like being in my box until a man in a uniform told Lady to take me out of the box.  I didn’t like the look of him, and suddenly wanted to go back in my box!!  She held me very tightly and we walked through a machine that took pictures of our insides!   Then, back in the box I went, relieved to be away from the man in the uniform.  Outside, I could see all the planes and one of them was for us!   The Lady must really love me, because we were the first ones on the plane, and we sat in First Class!!  Sure, she had champagne…all  got was a pink blanket over my box to keep me calm and quiet.  As if…I cried the whole way.  The New Jersey doctor gave Lady pills for the flight for me…but she didn’t want to give them to me.  We stayed up together.

When we landed on June 14, 2010 in New Orleans, it was 95 degrees.  We went to our new house and waited for the weekend Guy.  Funny thing, he came in our car!  We flew first class and traveled in 4 hours.  He had to drive and it took him 2 days.  HA HA!  Strangely, when Monday came, he didn’t leave.  He never left again.   Go figure.

So, that’s my story.   That’s how I went from being a skinny, lonely outside New Jersey cat to being a slightly overfed, blissfully happy New Orleans cat.  I met these cool people at a place called the Cat Practice.  There’s a painting of a real fat cat on the outside of their building.  I wish they would take a look at that cat the next time they tell Lady to put me on a diet again.  I love my treats, what can I tell you?

Roseann Rostoker

Red Gravy llc

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