First Home

drawing by Ali Noel Vyain

I grew up in a woodpile in a backyard. At that young age, I had no idea what life had in store for me. I didn’t see the adventures that would happen to me. All the traveling. And of course, the most wonderful caretaker and caregiver I ever had who helped me in my later years. I don’t think I could have handled being a senior cat without her.

This woodpile is where my brothers and I would play and learn how to become upstanding cats. Our mother cared for us as a mother should. She was kind and loving. She provided for our every need without any complaint. She was beautiful.

We were lucky to grow up there. Yes, we were outside, but we were in a human neighborhood. There were humans around and they helped take care of us. If the humans were mean and dangerous, I don’t know what would have happened to us. I have heard horror stories of other cats who just lived on the streets without a safe place to go in times of trouble.

But I know we were lucky. Two of my brothers, Inky and Paintbrush, were adopted by humans and we never saw them again. I do hope they were in good homes. Sometimes it’s just hard to tell with humans. But I know Spitter and I had a good home together.

It was just a shame that we, Spitter and I, were separated early, but that is another story.

I didn’t just learn to become an upstanding cat in this woodpile. I also learned to meditate as just a little kitten. My girl says of the only picture she’s seen of me as a kitten that I was cute and looked just like a miniature version of my adult self. She says I didn’t look much like kittens who have certain parts of their bodies grow bigger than the rest. I was just a miniature adult. I suppose I always had the mindset of a senior cat trapped inside a young cat’s body.

There were many humans who came and went to the house next to the woodpile. Some would live in the house. Many didn’t stay long for one reason or another. There was only one who stayed there the longest. He was the blind guy. He was kind and loved my brothers, my mother, and me well.

He never made us leave. He let us come and go as we pleased. He just made sure we had access to food and water. We didn’t have a litter box because we were outside cats. We never needed one. We learned from our mother how to deal with our waste and where to hide it so no one would complain.

The house wasn’t particularly very clean. There was a tv that was on much of the time. I never cared for tv and I certainly didn’t miss it when I lived with my girl. She doesn’t like tv and refuses to own one. She did have one for a time, but it wasn’t on as much as it was at my first home.

The blind guy tended to write poetry. I didn’t mind that. Sometimes I would hear him typing or he would speak the words out loud. It sounded like a stream of consciousness. It certainly wasn’t unpleasant to listen to him reciting his poetry and expressing himself.

It was a good first home with the woodpile and the house. I couldn’t have asked for better. It was in this home that I first met my girl. She was one of those who came and went. She never stayed overnight.

Even my brother Spitter had noticed her. She came and chatted with the blind guy and other humans. She was the one non-cat who checked our food and water bowls. She made sure we had what we needed. Her scent was left behind. That was how Spitter and I knew she was one of those crazy cat ladies.

She had earned our trust by taking care of our food and water and by letting us be. She never made us come or go. She gave us freedom and respect that we deserve as cats. But I still had no idea how important she would become to me or when it would happen.

But it was only a matter of time before this whirlwind would change things for us. She would even affect herself as well as me.

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