Monday, August 31, 2009

Ever been claimed?

I’m not a love-me-love-my-pets crazy cat lady. But judging by the photo above, it’s hard to deny there isn’t some special bond between me and this petite tortoise-shell cat.

Alley Cat claimed me in 1999. Petite Poe, then two years old, and I were walking up the block to the neighborhood coffee shop. From a gangway, a collarless cat came running, meowing, dropping desperate affection at my feet. She didn’t particularly enjoy Poet’s interest but looked at me in a manner that conveyed, “I’m willing to tolerate the child.” She followed us up the block, head-bonking my ankles every time we stopped. She refused to cross the parking lot to the coffee shop preferring to hide in a bush calling to us as we went it. She waited, followed us home and stationed herself on the front steps for five days. We worked with shelters and placed ads in the paper. No one answered. The vet, who gave free exams on strays, estimated her to be two or three and noted she’d been spayed. This sweet little cat obvious claimed us so we accepted her. At first she was exceptionally timid with Mr. Golightly (who loves cats) but eventually claimed him too.

I was raised without pets so I don’t have a lot of experience with them, but I believe it is an exception when a cat claims a person. Alley is different than any other cat I've met. She’s gracious and loyal and seems to transcend the standard definition of what is Cat; she doesn't push any boundaries.Her purr, which she is always quick to offer, is very loud and comforting. For such a small cat, she could purr down a 100-year Cottonwood tree if we let her too close. She is the only cat I've ever met that says "Wow" instead of meow.

It feels great, "Alley, how do I look in this dress?"
Do you think Mr. Golightly's cute? Is he handsome?"
Are my daughters amazing or what?"

This 4th of July weekend found my family camping outside of Crested Butte, CO in the Elk Range. Mountain weather is fickle and I thought I’d brought enough clothing to keep warm. I’m an exceptionally chilled person, and by that I mean I'm often physically cold. I’ve had many a nurse look at me, stunned after they take my blood pressure and temp. They’re thinking they might just be staring into the face of the living dead and my head might just suddenly take a spin on my shoulders.

We’d gone into town to watch the fireworks. I was freezing and checked into the community thrift store. This was a very small store with items piled upon items in stacks taller than my daughter Little Pie. But it immediately caught my eye, a plaid mohair wrap for $3. It claimed me! This vintage Neiman Marcus wrap needed a new user who would treasure it just as the last had done and it knew I would hold to that promise. (I also purchased the earrings in the photos for $6. The brass beads are antique.)

We spent some time walking about Elk Avenue window shopping, passing time until nightfall. Crested Butte has several boutiques that cater to a wealthier crowd. More people than I have fingers complimented my $3 wrap, which is an odd thing to happen while standing in a store where sweaters can sell $300. This was an original like I encourage in the previous post Faux is foe.

When I came home an unpacked, Alley immediately said, "Wow!" and rested herself upon the wrap. Seemed like each knew the other. There's something special about being claimed and I don’t believe it happens in a mall or superstore. It happens in out of the way places when you least expect it.

If you thrift, many of you already know this. What has claimed you?


Frances said...

Beautiful post! I, too, have been claimed by cats and by beauty in a thrift store.

Princess of Everything (and then some) said...

I have been claimed by 2 black cats and a corgi.

Also by a sweater I bought at as garage sale for a quarter. It does not flatter me at all but I feel as though I can do anything when I have it on. It is like my superwoman cape. I have now had it and have worned it for 10 years.

Anonymous said...

I have been claimed by my tortoise-shell cat, Zoey. She is not petite by any means (16 pounds), but I love her so much! She was found in a metal scrap yard when she wasn't even able to eat by herself, and then made her way to me through family members.

Saver Queen said...

I actually wrote a post that was inspired by this one, and included a link back to this post. It made me think about a favourite story of mine, where I was given a huge random act of kindness by a complete stranger!