Artemis and the Unexpected Pounce Into my Life.
(Grand Haven, Michigan)
Arty's first day home
It all started with a coworker receiving a cat from a friend. The friend had two small children, and the kitten didn't tolerate it's tail getting pulled.
So the coworker took her in, even though she had a young child also. You can see where that's going from the start. But it seemed to be working out, and for a good three months everything was going well.
Then one morning, my coworker came in, looking tired and annoyed. Some digging resulted in finding out that her son had been scratched rather severely, resulting in a late-night emergency room trip and several stitches. She complained about the cat, now roughly eight months old, constantly attacking her son whenever he wanted to "play."
Now, I feel for the kid, but I'd seen him interact with animals before, and his idea of "playing" seemed to exclusively feature tail and ear pulling, chasing, and bone-crushing squeezes, along with several open-handed swats when the animal didn't cooperate. So while I nodded and offered my sympathies to my coworker, I silently thought that she should teach her kid to be more gentle and that the experience was probably a valuable learning opportunity for the six year-old.
That seemed to be that. Then two weeks later, she announced she was going to take the cat to be put down because it was too "aggressive." I was, naturally, horrified. I suggested that I might take a look at it, to see just for myself how aggressive the cat was.
So when we got off work, I headed
over to her house. Upon first entering, there was no sign of the feline. But as soon as the door closed, a crash from the back room, followed by the high-pitched shriek of an excited child were heard, and a mostly white blur streaked down the hallway, onto the back of the couch, and straight into me, where it promptly dug its' claws in, trying to climb over me and onto the bookcase.
In some pain due to the unexpected cat-to-shoulder, I gently grabbed it by the scruff, extracted the claws, and looked her over. And I don't know if it was the adrenaline from the minor pain, but it was love at first sight.
A beautiful, if somewhat scrawny, shorthair calico, was looking at me, green eyes huge and tail all puffed in fear. Without any hesitation I said I'd take her, and my coworker sighed in relief.
Upon getting her home, I watched in amusement as not even an hour after she first arrived she claimed the space as hers, chirped at the ducks that frequent my backyard, and stalked moths with a singlemindedness that led directly to her name. Artemis, the Greek goddess of the hunt.
It's been almost a year since that day, and each day she cements herself even further into my life. Her leaps onto my shoulders as I walk about doing chores, how she marches over my keyboard as I'm working on my novel, her "ambushes" of my legs from behind something smaller than her. I don't know how I lived without her.