sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

September 5, 2011

happy anniversary!
posted by soe 11:44 pm

Dear Corey,

A year ago, on Sept. 5, 2010, as Rudi and I were about to head home after the lovely wedding of our friends Amani and Marcus, we encountered a kitten out in the parking lot. It was obvious to us that he was lost, as a banquet hall, mall, business park, and hotel do not normally house small cats, even ones who scamper up trees as quickly as this one did that night. A call to the police department referred us to animal control, who were off for the holiday weekend.

A wedding favor

Rudi and I, however, are lifelong cat people, and we do not deter easily. This kitten had a collar and clearly someone was looking for him. He would have to come home with us for a couple days.

So he did.

Really young Corey

But, of course, such stories rarely go the way you expect them to when you’re one of the participants. No one was missing a cat. None of our friends wanted a kitten. The kitten showed aggressive tendencies toward our own three cats. He would have to go to a shelter.

I’ll be honest. We cried. We felt terrible. But ours was not a large house where everyone could have their own space. There was nothing else to be done.

Corey and his hamster

So we did our research, found a local cat rescue that was a no-kill shelter, and bundled the kitten into the cat carrier and took him up there. We explained what had transpired to the triage desk folks and prepared to hand him over. And then they said no.



Corey on striped rocker

And so the kitten came back home.


Corey, since you are too smart for your own good, I’m guessing by now that you have guessed that that kitten was you. (This is not an episode of How I Met Your Mother after all….)


Frankly, Rudi and I were relieved. We’d made the decision to find you a new home, but we felt terrible about it, and this seemed like a message from the universe that your becoming a member of the household was meant to be. We got you to the vet, got you treated for ear mites, and started supervised interactions between you and the other felines of the Burrow.

We tried out a bunch of names on you, but it took a while until Corazon, or Corey for short, stuck.

Four cats, one bed

I’d love to say that things were all hunky dory after that.

Pippi and Her Pet

As you know, they were not.

Della, who had probably been sick for several years without our noticing (apparently we were not as good pet owners as we’d believed ourselves to be), got really sick and really quickly. She needed a lot of attention, and you needed a lot of attention, and honestly there were a number of days when I just wept bitterly because I had not signed up to have a two-year-old, which is what it felt like I suddenly had between the vomit and urine and poop that were in places they ought not to have been and the clinginess and the medicine and the fighting with Posey and Jeremiah and the eating things you shouldn’t and …


There were days (and not just a few of them) where I was convinced we had made a mistake in keeping you.

Sinister Corey

Time passed. We remembered that Posey and Jeremiah, and before them Della and Jacks, had all tried our patience too. I realized that in the past we’d always had two kittens at once so that they could help relieve each other’s excess energy, rather than foisting it all off on the older cats. (We did not get another kitten; it just helped to realize why it seemed so much harder this time…) Della died and the Burrow became the realm of three cats once again. You got older and stopped being quite as much of a handful.

Corey in the window

We had taken to referring to you as a thug, in part because you have a fireplug-like physique that reminds me of James Cagney. But you are not an irredeemable gangster; yours seems to be more of the role of tough with the soft heart just waiting for the right people to reach you.


You are not a perfect cat, not by a long stretch. You eat Rudi’s shoelaces and my yarn, and all the hamster toys are now missing their tails. You bit a circular needle in two just last week. You harass Jeremiah unduly. You chew through the bag of any carbs we leave within reach. (I had to pause in writing this to go take away a bag of rolls from you.) You are the messiest cat ever when leaving the litter box and when served wet food.


You are always on the move. And you get into everything. Part monkey, part cat, it seems like you play the same games we did as kids, feeling perhaps that if your feet touch the ground the lava monster will get you. You can cover the length of the apartment by leaping from window to chair to table to couch to bed. You climb the bikes as if they were a jungle gym. Half my photos of your are blurry not because of my skills but because you are in constant motion (at least until you are not).


However, you are a smart cat. You’re playful. The laser pointer is your favorite toy ever, and you try to get it down from the bureau when Rudi is slow in heading to bed. You like me to throw treats so you can chase them. A straw from Starbucks is a lot of fun to bat and toss. You haven’t quite gotten the hang of fetch yet, but you do carry balls around with you to play with elsewhere.


I knew we were in trouble when you found a box of packing peanuts I thought I had secured. I took the one you brought into the living room away from you. You gave me the equivalent of a cat’s shrug and went and got another one; after all you had a whole box full of them! You’ve gotten savvier since then. When you find multiples of things you like, you wait a while after I take one away from you before going to get another. Now when you get bored, you go and find one of Rudi’s sandals or bike shoes and carry it around with you so you can chew on the velcro. We take them away from you, but you may have caught us laughing at the scene. And we know that you’ll pull another one out when we leave the room.


You’re nearly always the first one at the door waiting to greet us when we come home. You wait on the bath mat for me to come out of the shower and if I’m in there too long you’re not against hopping in to say hello. You lie behind my heels when I’m washing dishes. You’re under our chairs when we’re at the computers.


You’ve got a funny, kitten-like mew that you don’t break out all that often and round eyes that Michael once aptly described as cartoon cat eyes. Your whole backbone is ticklish and rubbing it makes you lick the air (or, if they’re in reach, our fingers with your rough tongue). Your coat is not soft, but your belly is. Both your gleaming silver topside and your cocoa-hued undercarriage are lovely hues. And your nose and pads are such a lovely mahogany.


You love having your chin and ears scratched and you smile and look so satisfied when we do.


And late at night (and sometimes early in the morning for Rudi), like right now, you jump into my lap and curl up and nuzzle your nose under my hand and fall asleep, just like you did on that first car ride home.


Happy first anniversary, Corey. May there be many more.


Category: cats. There is/are 5 Comments.

Awww, happy anniversary, Corey!! Congrats to him, and to you and Rudi! 🙂 You’re all lucky to have each other!

Comment by jenn 09.06.11 @ 6:37 am

(also, I love the pic of him on the slippers – his face!!)

Comment by jenn 09.06.11 @ 7:47 am

I LOVE this post – give Corey an extra pat for me!

Comment by Bridget 09.06.11 @ 12:58 pm

Corey has been a wonderful addition to our household (if one in need of some guidance), that’s for sure!

Comment by Rudi 09.06.11 @ 6:12 pm

@Jenn: We are lucky. Did you notice in that shot that he’s under the couch. He used to hang out under there until he got too fat.

@Bridget: Thank you! And done!

@Rudi: Agreed.

Comment by soe 09.14.11 @ 1:19 am