The WILW Radio Blog

A Cat Story

Sunday, January 5, 2020 11:35 PM

Thanksgiving is a day for giving thanks for family, friends, our Country and in this case, a beloved pet. I want to share a short story about a kitten that entered my life in a most unusual way and grew into an adult cat and beloved pet. Aside from one other cat, most other cats I've owned for only a couple or a few years and we never became very attached. But this case is quite different.

Memorial Day weekend 2001, I found a 8 week old kitten on the interstate between downtown Kansas City, MO and Kansas City, KS. I'm not sure how she ended up there but it was clear, if I had not picked her up, she likely would have been hit by a car. I took her to a vet and left her for a week to insure she was healthy before taking her home. I decided on the name Freeway since it seemed very appropriate given the circumstance in which she came into my life.

I decided that Freeway would be an indoor cat given the harrowing experience she had while outside at a young age. At times it was a challenge especially when living in apartments but somehow we managed. She rarely caused any trouble at home and was very well behaved. She was also quite affectionate for a cat that very easily could have reverted to a wild state since it was possible she was a feral cat when I found her. Regardless, it turned out that she liked people but wasn't too crazy about other cats.

Over the years it became apparent that Freeway was a very unusual cat. She would do things I've never seen other cats do. I found out she would retrieve items I would throw or roll on the floor and bring them back to me to throw again. She loved a rolled up piece of paper like a cash register receipt and would play with that for quite a long time. She would drop that or that small piece of plastic that you unwrap from a plastic milk jug that holds the cap in place, into a sneaker and poke it around and try to take it out and then drop it back in. Also, she would sit on the floor or lay on a box and I would throw that plastic piece to her and she would bat it back to me to throw again. Numerous times I would be sitting at my computer working or perhaps listening to the radio or watching TV and Freeway would go grab a string or a shoelace from somewhere in the house and drag it to me and meow until I picked it up and started to play with her. I would run around the house or apartment with the string trailing me and she would chase it. Other times she would take it and run and I would chase her. LOL Freeway also taught herself to drink from the bathroom faucet in a couple of places that I lived. Apparently the water in her dish wasn't good enough for her. :-). Probably the most unusual and surprising act that I ever witnessed from her happened after I had taken in a couple of homeless cats living in the foundation of the home next door to mine when I lived in Richmond, MO for a few years in the earlier part of this decade. Freeway was not all that happy about having other cats in the home but managed to coexist until one of the cats ended up having kittens. At that point I had that cat fixed to insure there would be no more kittens. I found homes for all the kittens through a good friend and his wife in Minnesota that routinely take in cats and find them homes. I did keep one of the kittens and named her Britta in honor of my late Godmother. One day in late 2012 when was laying on my bed and not ready to get up and around to start my day's routine, Britta suddenly jumped on my stomach and I was completely startled and howled in surprise since she landed right on my stomach. Freeway immediately ran into the bedroom and jumped on the bed and got in the face of Britta and started to hiss at Britta in an effort to defend me. Britta quickly ran off to diffuse the situation. Freeway settled down thereafter and life got back to normal. This very same event played out one more time a few months later and again, Freeway came to my "rescue" under the impression that Britta was hurting me. I've owned several cats for over 30 years and known many others dating back to my grade school years but have never seen a cat behave like this before. I knew at this point I had a very special cat and that it was likely that I would never find another like her. 

Freeway passed away old age October 19, 2018. She was 17 and a half years old. She lived a good long life and really made the most of the time she had on this earth. Before she passed away I realized I was truly blessed to have found her and have her in my life all of those years and the vast number of good years we had together more than made up for the few bad times that occurred after the other cats were a part of the household. When you have a pet in your family for that many years, and they pass on, it really is a lot like losing a close family member.

God Bless you Freeway. You are sorely missed.