September of 1996 was sunny, as far as I can remember. It might have even been 1997. Either way, I was in a new school (having moved to Canada in '96 and starting 6th Grade and then moving to Middle School in '97).
I went every couple of weekends to my cousin's house near Brockville. She lived on a farm that had lots of chickens, out-of-work school buses and masses of land to run and play on.
There was also Brown Cat, the resident kitten factory. Every few months this ratty old thang would produce a little of balls of fluff and love and us kids would delight in watching them roll around in the grass; jumping from tiny heights, trying to figure out what their limits were.
One of these September weekends we took my Grandma with us, her walking frame in the trunk of the car. We got to the farm and got to visiting with my cousin, her husband and their four daughters.
Brown Cat had given birth to three tabby kittens a few weeks before, and they were in full pounce. We played for hours with Chub-Chub, Tiger and the runt of the litter, Mo.
I was always jealous of them having all these cats that came and went as they pleased. Some would turn feral, some would just lounge around in the workshop in piles of sawdust and soak up the sun beams. I was envious (and still am) of the way of life my cousin's family, and would have spent every waking minute at their idyll.
We were packing up the car at the end of our day visit, and my dad was putting my Grandma's walker away for the journey home. He'd opened up the trunk, gone back to the house to help Grandma to the car, then started to put the frame away.
Two kittens jumped out.
On the way home, Dad said 'Well, looks like we almost had a cat! Good thing they got out of the trunk before we got all the way back to Ottawa!'
He'd forgotten about the third kitten that traveled with the 'pack'.
Once home, Dad opens the trunk to take Grandma's walker out again.
Our new kitten: 'Mew?'
And that's how we got our cat Mo.
When my parent's went their separate ways, Mo went with my Dad to California, got fat and ended up going missing.
I was visiting my dad, and I'd been told that the cat hadn't come home. Turns out it was three months that he was AWOL.
We'd come up with heroic situations that the cat got into:
- He lost a battle with an eagle
- He had turned into the Kerouac of cats and was living in the desert, fighting cyotes and vultures.
It turned out he'd been hit by a car, and dumped on my dad's neighbour's porch. Perhaps not such a romantic death, but at least we knew what had happened.
Oh yeah: He had 7 toes on both front paws. My dad would try to make him hold pens and stuff.