Her feline friends
“You have a cat,” she noted as she looked over my grocery cart as we stood in line at Walmart.
I told her that I had one senior fellow who had just turned 18.
“I have seven cats,” she said.
“That’s quite a lot of cats.”
“Yes, I know. My husband was allergic to cats and when he passed on, a tiny calico gal came to the door and begged to be let in. I did. She was ‘in the family way’ and produced three kittens. I fell in love with them.”
“That’s only four.”
She smiled at me.
“Well, before I knew it, the little girl was pregnant again and, she had three more. This time I found the money to get them altered. You know,” she said, “I can’t remember what the right terms are for the boy cats and the girl cats. For one its neutered. Is the other term spayed?”
“They are such company.”
“They all sleep on my bed, curled up right next to me. Good Lord, they like to be close. I really don’t need many blankets.”
Her cart was filled with basics, a carton of milk, some cans of vegetables, a loaf of bread which I could see was from the day old rack and one large bag of cat food along with three cans of cat food.
She was, well, to be honest, looking like someone who didn’t have many earthly possessions. Her coat was very worn. The puffiness was leaking out at the elbows and along the bottom border. She wore a denim skirt that touched the top of her socks. The skirt was, as the coat, well used. I wasn’t sure, but it looked like she was wearing bedroom slippers.
We had more waiting to do since the cashier had just turned the light over her register on, which meant that she needed someone to help with the transaction with which she was working.
“So what is the cats’ favorite food?” I asked. “I notice that you have quite a bit of the dried food. My cat eats dried food and wet food. Which kind varies from minute to minute. I spoil him because he is 90 in cat years.”
‘Well,” she pulled herself up a bit to answer, “I really don’t know what they like the best. This is what I can afford. I pour the dried food into a bowl, add a little of the wet food from a can and some hot water and mix it up. They eat it.”
She thought a bit. “Maybe it’s the fact that there are seven of them. You eat what it there or you don’t. That’s the way it was in my house when I was a kid.”
Finally it was her turn at the cash register. She paid for her food with money she had in her purse, but she told the cashier to put the cats’ food on a separate bill. Then she took a gift card out and handed it to the cashier to find out how much was left on it.
She looked at me.
“Someone sends me this card every year at Christmas. I think it may be from my church. I use it for the most important things in my life.”
She paid for the cat’s food with the gift card.
To no one in particular she said, “I guess I could spend it on myself, but those little creatures don’t judge me, don’t give me any grief, only love and that is about all I want out of life.”
She looked at me, “I have a son but…” she paused… “he’s somewhere. He has his own life.”
Emotion filled her eyes.
She pulled up her shoulders, smiled again, “I do have my kitties”
Then it was my turn at the cashier.