Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Cat and Bunny

Well I didn't specify when I wanted them, and eventually I got both.  Although they looked nothing like the above pictures (the bunny could not stand on his hind legs, and the cat did not have a single mustache) they were both cute and fluffy, and stole my innocence.

The Bunny:  The bunny would arrive via a larger, human-sized bunny the following Easter.  He was a gift to the whole family, and in the spirit of the holiday, we named him Cadbury.  Cadbury loved hopping, eating rabbit food, and sipping from his little water bottle in his house.  He also loved napping.  A lot.

Which is why we didn't think anything of it when we found him napping at my sister's high school graduation party a couple months later.  It was a hot June day, and we brought our young cousins over to the rabbit cage to show-off the latest addition to the Heitkamp family.  "Look at the bunny!" they squealed with delight.  "Wake him up so we can see him hop!"  We poked at Cadbury.  No response.  We poked again.  His whole body moved as one unit. My mother came around the corner to find us yelling at Cadbury to wake up, and stopped short when she saw him.  "Um, why don't we go play badminton instead?  The bunny is sleeeeeeping!"

As the others scurried off to play, I paused for a moment to look again at Cadbury.  I could tell by the tone in her voice;  Cadbury wasn't sleeping.  Cadbury was dead.

The Cat:  One October 23, I came home from school to find  a kitten sitting in a basket of towels.  She was a birthday present from my parents, and we bonded instantly. I named her Waffles and we spend the whole weekend playing with balls of yarn cuddling on the couch.  Then Monday rolled around, and the birthday fun was over, and it was time for Waffles to move outside.  You see, my parents loved animals- just not animals that lived inside the house.  So out she went to go live in the doghouse with Cocoa.

It didn't take long for Waffles to become street-wise and pregnant.  At first it was fun- a whole new batch of kittens the following summer!  We cleverly named them Pancake, Muffin, and French Toast (that last one was a bit of a stretch).  Then not one year later, she had Pussywillow, Opal, Jasper, and Shakespeare.  By the time she was swelling with her third litter, I was starting to ask some serious questions of my parents.  "Why doesn't Cocoa ever have puppies?  Who is the daddy cat?  How come Heidi's indoor cats don't have kittens?"  So my mother thought it would be fun to have a little birds 'n bees chat while watching Waffles give birth to four more kittens.  It wasn't.

Waffles hardened over the years, and she and I gradually grew apart. She no longer wanted to play with her ball of yarn, or come inside on a cold day to curl up on the couch.  She'd go away for days and then come back moody and pregnant, give birth, and the disappear leaving us to raise her children.  Six years and seventeen kittens later, we would find her alone and flattened in the middle of the road.  "See," my father would tell me "this is what happens when you have sex before you are married."

29 days until my birthday.

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