Cat-gardening with the Market Kitten!
Summer loomed hungrily over the house and the garden today. As I sipped coffee, I wiped the dust off the television, the kitchen ledges, the windows, and most guiltily the books!
Then I made lemon juice. It always soothes me when I am overwhelmed by so much dust from the road so close it sticks to my house like an unpleasant stalker. Then the garden petrified me: it sat under small hillocks of muddy mess: that old bandicoot had again made tunnels through it to pile up huge pillows for himself during the night!
It took me half an hour to repair and arrange and comfort the soil to bring back some order to the creepy strangled ruins. Someone had stolen the large Spider Plant that had begun to grow nicely outside the garden gate with its small cheering babies surrounding it. I must buy one today. The cats gobble it up hungrily, like salad for felines.
I picked up 30 old pots, many filled with fresh home made soil, which comforted me against the rat’s malevolent massacre as I gladly poured it over the old soil. Then I slit the plastic bags holding the green and white polka dots, the dark red and spinach green ones, lifted them out and put them in seven empty pots.
The little kitten who had arrived from the market sat between the ivies and tucked her paws under her chest, getting that instant stunningly serene look cats manage to get with that pose. It calmed me at once and made me recover from the bandicoot’s battering of the garden. Then she peered nosily inside the neighbour’s small backyard, and looked up too greedily over the mesh as she heard birds and squealed horridly!
When she realized sadly that the mesh would keep the birds and squirrels safe from her, she began to watch me as I slogged, the way cats always watch us, especially when we are working hard. And they get that look which says “what is the point of all this? When you can get all your thrills inside sleep?” To prove it she immediately fell into a nap as the sun warmed her.
The garden began its daily nattering with that part of our heart only it has access to – making me put the pretty yellow and green ivy inside the small antique silver sugar jar a friend had given me on a long ago Christmas. Then I put the always reliable philodendron inside the ceramic pot with a cat on its side, that the friend had also given me and which had maddened her with this sacrilege as it was meant for lemon juice or tea or something she had yelled!
Maska, or Butter, the chubbiest orange cat, began to squall furiously as I lifted the watering can to water the plants. She thought I was again squeezing that lemon rinse on her for getting rid of her fleas! I told her “Maska I was right in thinking that cats have absolutely no brains!”
Not mollified, still suspicious, she glared at me, hissed and squalled again and vanished.
The little kitten, still new and wet, had allowed me to wash her several times with the lemon rinse but somehow it hadn’t worked so well this time. It had made the fleas come out of hiding, but they did not vanish as they had before, two years ago, when I had tried it on all the cats. So I began to pick them off her but it took time. Maybe I would need to get the chemical flea spray after all….
Meanwhile the garden began to gleam as the washed plants got a new look and sudden freedom from all the cats vanishing, dreading the lemon rinse! Only the new kitten stayed on to help with the last gardening chores, by blinking adoringly, praising the labor and allowing me yet again to sponge her with the lemony flea killer! Those horrible hillocks of mutilated soil had left the plants alive and well. Perhaps that huge, eerily unseen rat was kept there by heaven or hell even, for surreal garden-scented lessons to teach me how to survive life’s cruelest enemies or atrophy!
Even if the fleas remained maddeningly on the tiny cat’s fur, defying the lemon war machine, the garden washed my spirits with its natter and all was well with the world! Before coffee I had discovered a small lost book of Emily Dickinson’s letters to her friends and family, and it waited for me to vanish into, as quickly as the cats had vanished from lemon rinse!