Raining Cats and Dogs
Our Thanksgiving three years ago is a holiday we will remember for a long time. Instead of counting our blessings that Thanksgiving, we were counting our unexpected holiday guests. That’s the year that it really did rain ‘cats and dogs’ – well, at least cats.
November 2015 was the wettest November on record for North Texas. We received 9.86” of rain, breaking the record of 7.94” set in 1918. And a torrential 4.78” of that amount fell in a 24-hour period on November 26th.
After a year or two of drought conditions, I was happy to see all the rainfall and had set a 5-gallon bucket under the eaves to collect a little extra I could use for watering plants in a few weeks when the lake we used to call our yard dried up.
My better half was working the night shift during this period and was getting off at 7 am, needing to arrive back to work at 10 pm. I’d put a turkey in the oven on low overnight so we could have our turkey for Thanksgiving breakfast so they could get to bed and sleep before returning to work. So there I was Thanksgiving morning, sleeping peacefully with the aroma of roasting turkey filling the house when the clatter of running footsteps and a shouting voice rudely awakened me earlier than I desired.
“It’s a kitten! It was drowning!”
Here came the kitten rescuer, interrupting my sleep to thrust a soaking wet little black mass of fur bundled in a towel towards me. All thoughts of future sleep went dashing out the window as we set about trying to get it dry and warm as quickly as possible.
The little thing, probably about four to five weeks old, evidently hadn’t mastered the art of walking gracefully along the 4’ brick wall that edges the house and had fallen…right into my bucket halfway filled with rainwater. It was frantically fighting for its life, trying to keep its head above water and not drown when my better half walked up the steps and heard the commotion.
It wasn’t hard to find a name for this new arrival. Lucky. And although we didn’t share our turkey, mashed potatoes or cranberry sauce with her, we did fill her up with ample meals of warm kitten formula, so she was happy.
The next morning, the kitten rescuer arrived home to find another small, furry black surprise – but this one was sitting in the middle of the dish of crunchies we keep out for the feral cats. Pluck. That one was picked up before he knew what happened and Shadow joined our household.
Later that afternoon my better half just about got fired from the job of cat rescuer when they walked in holding a spitting mad gray tabby. This little spitfire had run, but got trapped between two fence panels and didn’t know how to get away. The rescuer received a battle wound this time, with blood running down a hand from a hard chomp. Thus, Nipper’s received his name. In the years since he’s turned into a gigantic cuddle bug, but we still let him think he deserves his fierce name received in the heat of the fight against the ogre.
I was glad that three new kittens had a new life in a safe, warm house with lots of food to eat. But…the house was filling up quickly. “No more cats! Not until we get a bigger house.”
Laughter was not the response I expected. I put on my stern face. “I’m not joking. We’re too full right now. No more!”
And the rain continued to fall.
Sunday night, with the cat rescuer safely tucked into bed, worn out from their horrendous Black Friday duties at a popular retail giant, I knew they wouldn’t be adding to our kitten population. Before heading to bed myself, I let the dogs out for one last venture into the soggy backyard world. When I let them in, I heard a strange noise. Grabbing a flashlight, I went to explore. I kicked off my slippers and rolled up my pajama bottoms before stepping out into the mess that used to be a backyard. I followed the noises and discovered two little kittens navigating the puddles across the back of the house, out hollering for their Mama at 11:00 at night. The one in the lead (soon to be named Marbles) was faring better than his much smaller sister who was almost chest high in the puddle. Despite how high the water was, she was keeping up with him. She wasn’t going to be left behind and she aptly was named Puddles. Grabbing them both up, I wrapped them up in the bottom of my sweatshirt and headed back in the house.
I had to eat crow for this meal, instead of tasty turkey. It was my turn to burst into the bedroom and wake someone up while holding a sodden wet mess in my arms. “Um…honey…about that ‘no more cats’ rule…”