Book 5: Kapooka; A Crossover’s Pet
– This first excerpt contains the first chapter from Jamie Shank’s Kapooka; A Crossover’s Pet, a 95,000+ word, full-length novel about a real life kitty cat. This story is based on true events, yet it is told through the eyes of one of the fictional Crossovers Anthology’s main characters. Though this is an anthology, all taking place on a timeline within a fictional world, I should point out that each story holds its own unless the title indicates otherwise, and so far Just ‘Cause is the only project which was too big to fit into one book. Italics for characters’ thoughts may be lost in these excerpts due to transference of formatting. Kapooka; A Crossover’s Pet, first published as an ebook on Amazon.com on 03/21/2017.
An Unexpected Addition
I wasn’t actually looking for a pet when the Kapooka critter and I first crossed paths. I guess we sort of stumbled into each other over at a buddy of mine’s place and, lucky me, the lil’ darlin’ chose me.
I live in a trailer park. I know, such places always seem to have plenty of cats running about, and the park I live in is really no exception. Well, sure enough, I was down the street, visiting my buddy J. and his sister Annabelle, when this little, fluffy, tiger-striped, creampuff-orange colored kitten came running onto the front porch while we were all out there smoking. Following Annabelle’s lead, I started to play with the cute lil’ kitten, giving it a whole bunch of attention. I must’ve played with that lil’ fur ball for twenty minutes before my friends and I decided to part ways.
It was getting late and I wanted to get home. I guess the kitten didn’t like the idea of me leaving, ‘cause the next thing that I knew I heard this broken-sounding lil’ meow coming from behind me. I turned around to see this lil’ ball o’ fur trying to follow me home. I said to myself, “If he makes it to my trailer then I’ll let him in and likely keep him.”
Well, he didn’t quite make it to my trailer, a car scared him off while he was still a few trailers away, but he sure did put up a fuss while trying to keep up and make it there. I think I fell in love with that broken lil’ meow of his right there on the spot. There’s something about the way that sound just cuts right through the air, sending shivers racing up and down my spine, quite similar to nails scraping on a blackboard or feedback screeching out of the speakers to an amplifier with the volume turned up to loud. Tinfoil touched against a filling in a tooth produces a more pleasant effect. Yeah, the sound of that little critter’s howl just soothes my soul, let me tell ya. But I digress, or get ahead of myself… whichever, whatever?
I get home from my buddy J.‘s trailer and the adorable lil’ kitten’s all I can think about. I was even a little worried about the lil’ guy. He was only a kitten, and he was running around unattended outside. I paced my house, just thinking about him. I couldn’t get him off of my mind. After about a half an hour of pacing back and forth, I reached a conclusion; Either J. finds out whose kitten that is or I’m just going to take the lil’ guy home, period, end.
So, I call up my buddy J., I tell him that I want the lil’ kitten, and I ask him to figure out who the owner is. He says to me, “Okay, I’m on it, I’ll call ya back just as soon as I find out for ya,” and hangs up the phone. Another half an hour passes by. Suddenly I hear my phone ring. It’s my buddy J. calling to tell me, “The cat’s yours! Come and get him!” So, feeling a sense of great satisfaction and relief, I head on down there to get my new baby kitty.
Turns out the owner was my buddy J.’s next door neighbor, who adopted the kitten in order to give him a home but planned to make him an outside cat. He was happy to hand him over to a fellow animal-lover with a good heart and a humble home, and by that time I really wanted the lil’ guy and I think the neighbor could tell.
It was like love at first sight, like we were destined to be together. I took him home and kept him. He became, “My good boy,” and, “My lil’ Kapooka critter,” and I became his Daddy.
He spent the first night right by my side. I didn’t have a litter box yet, but that was just a short trip away and, along with plenty of other supplies, would be obtained first thing the next morning. I would have a litter box, plenty of litter, and plenty of food for the kitten by nine a.m. Meanwhile, he only had one accident, and it wasn’t on the carpet and was easy to clean up. He was all cute and cuddly that whole night, just a-purrin’ his lil’ head off and being an absolute sweetheart. He was a good, happy lil’ kitty.
The next day I got up at the butt-crack of dawn, fed the Kapooka critter and went through the whole morning routine, and then immediately went out to get the kitty’s food and supplies. I fed the kitten part of a can of tuna and poured him some milk from out of the fridge the night before, but only in small portions ‘cause I didn’t want him getting sick on me… oh, and I put a little water down for him, too, of course, though I didn’t want to fill his bladder or bowels too much until I obtained a litter box for him. That kitten can put away some water, too, let me tell ya, but again I digress.
When I left for getting supplies, boy, oh boy, the Kapooka critter was a miserable lil’ kitten. He didn’t like the idea of the Daddy going off and leaving him home alone much at all. When I got back from getting supplies he was an elated lil’ kitty, happily prancing around my feet and purring to no end. I set up his litter box and he used it, which was a very good, very promising sign. It made me think to myself, Look at that, he’s already got it down pat!
After setting up the litter box in the bathroom and watching him use it, the kitten then followed me into the kitchen, right at my feet the whole time. It’s a wonder I’m not always stepping on the lil’ guy, the way he seems to be right under me at all times. I started to get his food ready, and he meowed in anticipation and struggled to get to the food before I was ready to serve it to him. The lil’ bugger even bit at my ankles while I was in the middle of preparing a wholesome, nutritious meal of wet food mixed with dry food accompanied by an extra side of dry food for him. Then, all of a sudden, I see this little thing do a back-flip in the air, as if he were trying to gauge his ability to jump up on the counter but realized in midair that he wasn’t quite going to make it.
I’m gonna make it! I’m gonna make it! I’m not going to make it!
Oops! He landed on all fours and hit the ground running like it were all planned out and a total thrill for him, and I imagine the latter part’s likely true.
The kitten continued to meow and pitch a fit for the food, and I soon laid his food bowl down into position and fed him. He ate, and then he became all kinds of playful. Little did I know that, if the Kapooka critter had his way, playtime would never end.
But for now, playtime would have to be put on hold. The Daddy had to make himself lunch, too, and the Daddy actually takes his time and chews his food, as compared to the Kapooka critter who woofs down his wet food in huge, heaping gulps, practically inhaling the stuff rather than just plain eating it. The Daddy also had a few phone calls to make. I wanted to let everybody know about my new companion… my baby kitten.
I first called a few close friends and told them the good news. They all said that they couldn’t wait to see him. I made sure to save the best phone call for last…
Ring… Ring… Ring…
“Seamus, it’s good to hear from you. How’ve you been? You sound good. What’s going on?”
“Well, you know how you’ve always said that you’d like to be a grandma someday and I’ve always said it would never happen?”
“What?! You’re not even married! Are you telling me that you got a girl pregnant?!”
“Nah, I found a happy medium instead. Congratulations, mom, you’re a grandma, and I’m now the proud father of a lil’ Kapooka critter.”
“A what? What in the World is that?”
“Well, it’s either a big, hairy, man-ape type of creature, kind of like Bigfoot or Sasquatch, or he’s a lil’ kitty, take your pick.”
“I think the cat will do just fine, but how are you going to take care of him? Are you doing anything for work yet?”
“Umm, I got a few odd jobs I’ve been doing here and there. I’ll be able to take care of him and support him.”
“Owning a cat costs a lot of money. There’s food, and litter, and vet bills…”
“I know, I know, and I plan to save up and pay for all that.”
“Oh yeah, how?”
“By robbing bad, mean, vicious armed drug dealers and giving the money to the poor, by which I mean my cat and myself. I’ll be kind of like Robin Hood, if ya really think about it.”
“Only you’re going to keep the money for yourself.”
“Hey, I’m poor, aren’t I? I count. I fit the bill for the type of person Robin Hood would be giving his hard-earned stolen money to, but it seems Robin Hood overlooked me and forgot to hook me up with my share of the loot. But that’s fine by me, I figure I’ll just have to cut out the middle man and go play Robin Hood myself.”
“You better not be doing anything stupid like that. Drugs are bad, and stealing is even worse.”
“That’s why I’m stealing from the drug dealers, mom.”
“Until they shoot you.”
“Nah, I’m bullet proof. I’ve run enough tests on myself to be sure of that. Bullets pass right through me and I don’t even care. Bullets are too slow to catch me, they can’t keep up.”
“I’m serious! I wish you would tell me what you’re doing for money and work.”
“I did tell you, mom. I’m doing little odds and ends here and there, working whenever I can to make ends meet.”
“You better not be dealing and doing drugs.”
“I’m not, mom.”
“Then why won’t you talk about your work?”
“It’s boring, mom, and I’d rather talk about my lil’ kitten.”
“He’s your responsibility. You better take care of him, job or no job.”
“I will, mom. Stop by and see him sometime.”
“Okay, Seamus, I will. You take care of yourself until then. And do me a favor, make your mother proud of you and get a real job.”
“I’ll think about it. Love ya. Bye-bye.”
After saying goodbye and hanging up the phone with the Kapooka critter’s newly appointed Grandma, I then gave in to his desire to play and act like a maniac. I started making paper balls and threw them around the house for the kitten to chase after. I would later learn I could do the same thing with paper airplanes, admittedly more for my amusement than his. It’s fun to see him go after things. It’s a good feeling, to see one’s pet happy, and it’s productive for both owner and pet to interact and share in the bonding experience of the human/animal relationship.
Cat’s can be very receptive animals, given the right amount of time, patience, and the proper training. It’s all in understanding their stubborn, independent personalities and embracing the fact they are what they are with cats, and understanding is the key, or so it seems to me. The irony is that, despite their stubbornness and desire for independence, the more human interaction a cat receives the greater the bond will become, both with the owner and with all people in general. Play with your cat every chance ya get, but remember that it pays to be patient and to move at the cat’s speed while interacting with it. It can be amazing what cats can remember, too, and what they most instinctively react to.
I made the Kapooka critter a kitty-toy-house out of three twelve-pack soda can boxes, cutting one end out completely and cutting a small hole in the other end for him to look out and stick his paws through. I’d stick my fingers up through that hole and he’d try to bite them off (not literally, at least I don’t think so), and he’d even try to stick his tiny head through that small hole to get at me every time I pulled my hand away.
Then came the ultimate toy; String! I pulled a couple of laces out of an old pair of shoes and went out into the living room to sit down with them and him. I must say, I immediately had his undivided attention, interest, and intrigue. I pulled the string behind me, letting it circle around my waist with one hand, and then I dropped it and reached around my back with my other hand, grabbed it, and pulled it back around. The kitten was on it in a flash, and I soon pulled it away from him and repeated the process, trying to make it go faster, bringing it around the other way, or sometimes even hiding one end of that string where he’s not looking and then pulling it around a corner or even myself once he finally does find it in order to provoke a reaction and provide him with an added thrill. I’m amazed with how fast he can pounce over… oh, let’s say my leg… going after and getting that string.
The string was fun for about the first five hours, but then the Daddy started getting tired. The problem is, the Kapooka critter didn’t get tired, and the Kapooka critter was determined to let the Daddy know it. The Kapooka started to meow, and the thing of it is, the meow was beginning to turn into a howl. I looked at his scruffy, cream-puff orange colored fur with the tiger-like stripes and the silver streaks highlighting the hair running head to tail along his back and wondered if he might all of a sudden turn into a werewolf… or a banshee. That’s it, a howling banshee. I was crippled, taken to my knees, paralyzed by the appalling wine in that lil’ voice of his. It felt like it was cutting into every nerve throughout my spine. There was only one choice…
Come play with me, Daddy! And there I sat in the living room, pulling a flippin’ string. And there I’ll be, pulling that same string for the rest of eternity. The end.
Sorry, folks, but we have nothing else to tell ya about other than string from this point onward. I know, I know, it’s interesting and you’ll probably stick around ‘cause ya don’t have anything better to do, but I just wanted to warn ya now that that’ll probably be the direct context for the rest of this novel.
And the Daddy pulled the string around and ‘round, and the Daddy pulled the string around. And the kitty went around and around and around in circles. And around and around and around in circles.
And around in circles he goes. And nobody really knows, where the kitty’s gonna go, but all the kitties go around and around and around in circles.
And then the kitty pounces and he chases the string. The way he runs around, you’d think he’d be getting dizzy. The kitty starts hissin’ and barin’ his teeth. Then he catches up to it and pounces on that string. He picks it up and tugs on it while it’s in-between his teeth. Then he walks around lookin’ just like a kitty on a leash.
And, yes, the whole time the kitten is running around chasing the string he’s hissing at it, as if some ancient warrior had been resurrected within him upon facing his immortal adversary – that being string – for the first time in this lifetime, but he’s purring the whole time, too. Somebody must’ve done something awfully bad to him to have ended up as that string. The Kapooka critter intended to kill string, and he was going to have fun doing it, too.
I tried my best to save string, but string was doomed from the start. I tried to take string away from the kitten, but I was defeated by his loud, obnoxious protest. All string could do was run around in circles and pray for the kitty to get too dizzy to chase it (’cause the kitty definitely wasn’t getting too tired), but nothing was going to stop that boundless, little hairball of energy and spunk. He ran around and hissed, and hissed and ran around some more. It never stopped. It never ended. It was like the Energizer bunny, it just kept going and going and going. It didn’t have an off switch – trust me, I looked. I don’t remember everything, like how it ended. One minute I was deliriously pulling a string, and the next…
– This next excerpt contains the third chapter from Jamie Shank’s Kapooka; A Crossover’s Pet, a 95,000+ word, full-length novel about a real life kitty cat. This story is based on true events, yet it is told through the eyes of one of the fictional Crossovers Anthology’s main characters. Though this is an anthology, all taking place on a timeline within a fictional world, each story holds its own unless the title indicates otherwise, and so far Just ‘Cause was the only project which was too big to fit into one book. Kapooka; A Crossover’s Pet, first published as an ebook on Amazon.com on 03/21/2017.
Assessing the Damages
I must’ve slept for ten hours, maybe even longer. When I awoke, the kitten was nowhere to be found. I scanned the bedroom, but he wasn’t in it. I thought to myself, That’s unusual. He’s usually right there beside me at all times.
I called for him, “Kapooka, come here!” but he wasn’t coming to me this morning for some reason.
I got up and walked into the living room to find out why he wouldn’t come to me. From left to right, there’s dry food all over the floor from where he knocked over his food dish, there’s litter all over the linoleum floor by the counter to the right side of the refrigerator, the trashcan is knocked over and there’s garbage on the floor, he’s knocked over and broke a lamp, his wicker chair is knocked over, and there’s shreds of paper, obviously from a paper towel he’s pulled out of his tipped-over trashcan, which he’s torn apart and scattered all over the carpet in the living room area. I look around a little more and notice that he’s been using his litter box, and I think to myself, At least he’s not pissin’ and shittin’ all over the floor.
Sometimes they do that. Sometimes they pick the wrong spot and mistake it for their litter box. Sometimes, if ya don’t correct the mistake, they’ll try to permanently make that wrong spot their litter box.
Troubles with the litter box can develop when a cat gets old, too. And eventually they do get old, a cat’s lifespan lasting not nearly as long as that of their human counterparts, though so often we neglect to face the fact, and unfortunately there is such a thing as an incontinent kitty cat. These are things that have to be considered when a person takes on the responsibility of being a good pet owner. And mind you, being a good pet owner is a lot like being a good parent, though parenting a child comes with a boatload more responsibilities in comparison to parenting a pet. Still, the gist is the same, being that one is responsible for a life other than their own.
Sometimes litter box mishaps happen unexpectedly when a cat isn’t even that old. Many cats use the litter box but have picky litter box habits. Let me tell ya a little something about Mr. Biscuits, the sweetest jet-black tomcat I’ve ever met. You’ll officially meet him soon, I’m sure, but for now…
Mr. Biscuits was fine one day, and then the next day he wasn’t. Something was wrong with his bladder. He wasn’t peeing properly, to where he was using the litter box too often but very little urine was coming out each time. Then he started peeing blood, and that’s when his Daddy and I started to really worry.
Mr. Biscuits’ Daddy, Kapooka’s Uncle J.B., took Mr. Biscuits to his vet and left thinking that he might have to put him down. A good vet is important, and I’ve got to say, I don’t much care for Uncle J.B.’s vet. A misdiagnosis condemning is intolerable in my book, especially with the amount the vet bill comes to.
Uncle J.B. watched Mr. Biscuits very closely the next few days and I stopped by or phoned every day to get an update on him, but Mr. Biscuits continued to pee blood. Then, one day, miraculously, whatever it was that was causing this to happen passed and Mr. Biscuits was back in tip-top shape and doing great. Mr. Biscuits was a survivor, a real little trooper. He would live.
After that horrible bladder infection ordeal Mr. Biscuits went through a phase where he wouldn’t use the litter box inside, he would only go outside to do his business. This worked during the daytime, but at night, well, not so well. Mr. Biscuits’ Daddy would often wake up the next morning to find a big, ole’ clunker of a turd and a wet spot laid out on the floor somewhere around the house. Not cool, but we cope and make due with the ones we love and cherish. Besides, it’s nothing a little cleaner can’t take care of, or even a little alcohol or vinegar will do.
Like his bladder problem, Mr. Biscuits’ fear of the litter box problem also eventually worked itself out, or Mr. Biscuits psychologically worked through the matter, or his Daddy did something that worked to alter the routine and behavior pattern. Honestly, I think it was a combination of all three of these aforementioned things. Mr. Biscuits isn’t the only cat who’s ever connected the litter box to the problem he was having, but we’ll leave it at that for now.
Though at the time I was questioning the Kapooka critter’s level of intelligence and sanity, especially after this latest destroy-the-main-room stunt, I must say, cats are often smarter than we humans credit them. They can often put two and two together and will try to do so even if they cannot. If there’s a problem, especially a life threatening one like what happened to Mr. Biscuits, their curiosity can cause them to become hesitant of things related to the source of the problem and force them into trying to make a change.
A good way to correct litter box mishaps after a bladder infection is to first move the location of the litter box to somewhere else in the home and see if that fixes the problem. The difference in location might just change things and get the cat to use the litter box again, and it at least shows the distressed kitty that you’re aware of the problem and trying to solve it with them. A brand new litter box might just be the solution if changing the location of the old one doesn’t work. If that still doesn’t do it, I would recommend spending time with and watching the kitty in hopes of working with it, trying to resolve the issue and correct the misbehavior, or off-behavior, or mistake. I find that direct interaction usually produces the best results.
We’ll have more litter box mishaps soon, I assure you. As for now, we’re back to pulling a string. And around and around and around in circles we go…
And he chases the string when I pull it, and he hisses and pounces upon string, and he crouches down low, sticks his little rump up in the air, and wags his tail before he pounces, and he even stalks string before he gets into his pouncing position, and if I never see another string in my life it’ll be too soon.
So, I change the game for the moment and we begin to center our playtime on his wicker chair. Now, the kitten has this thing he does to where he runs away into the hallway, turns around, positions himself, gets a running start, then takes off and uses the rungs that make up the back of the chair to climb over it from behind. He also sometimes does a balancing act at the tip-top of the chair’s back, and it’s a wonder that he never loses his balance and falls down. However, every once in a while he does knock the chair over while trying to perform this stunt, which is likely why I wound up finding it tipped over on the floor earlier that very morning.
When it comes to that wicker chair, the Kapooka critter’s favorite game involves me sticking my fingers up through a small hole in the chair bottom, where he’s methodically ripped apart the twine while we’ve been perfecting this game, and once he sees the finger pop up through the hole in the twine he attacks. I try to pull my finger away in time while he tries to bite it. It’s a fun game, really, and usually he doesn’t bite hard… usually.
I guess he was a little too feisty on this particular day. I stuck my finger up through the hole a few times, and he got my finger a few times, but I kept pulling away from him just as soon as he would strike, before he could really latch on, bite down, and really get me. I poked my finger up through the hole in the wicker chair again and again, playing with him, egging him on, antagonizing and enticing him, and then I stuck my finger up through the hole again and there came a Knock-Knock-Knock! at my front door in the living room and I forgot to withdraw my finger.
The kitty saw his opportunity as clear as day. The Daddy’s head was turned, his attention on the person at the door. The Kapooka critter heard the Daddy ask, “Who’s there?” With the Daddy distracted and the finger not going anywhere, the lil’ kitten decided to put things in motion by biting down… hard!
Before my buddy can even answer me, a loud shout cuts through the air and I curse the Kapooka critter. I can hear Kapooka’s Uncle J.B. laughing on the other side of the door, so at least I know who’s there now. With my middle finger bleeding, and me holding it in my mouth and suckling on it in order to relieve the blood and pain, I answered the door and let Uncle J.B. in.
“What was that all about? What happened?”
“The lil’ bastard just bit me!”
“‘cause I was playing with him!”
“What were you doing?”
“I was sticking my finger up through the hole in the wicker chair and playing with him.”
“Hmm, you mean, like this…“ Uncle J.B. walks over to the wicker chair and starts playing with the lil’ kitten. I’m not happy about the kitten biting so hard, and the pissed-off expression on my face shows it, but I figure that it was just an accident, wasn’t intentional, and will probably never happen again. I attend to my bloody finger and everything’s fine for the moment.
Next thing that I know, I hear Uncle J.B. holler out and I look over to see him sucking on his middle finger. I ask him,
“What happened? Did he get you, too?”
“No. Yes,” Uncle J.B. replied, hesitant with a proper response. “He didn’t get me that bad.”
“No? Then do ya wanna play with him some more right now?”
“Maybe some other time.”
“That’s what I thought.”
“We need to get him a few things, don’t we?” Uncle J.B. volunteered, changing the subject and covering for the Kapooka critter, but he continued to suckle on his injured middle finger in-between said words the same as I.
“I got him all the essentials, and I plan on taking him to get all his shots and to get him neutered soon. Do ya think that’ll calm him down at all?” I asked, very serious now, with a combination of hope and desperation in my eyes.
“Yeah, it should. Why, is he a handful?”
I then tied a string to Uncle J.B. in a way to where he couldn’t untie it, even despite his extensive military background and training, and I unleashed the Kapooka critter on him. Uncle J.B. ran, but the Kapooka critter gave chase. Uncle J.B. ran ‘til he couldn’t run anymore, but the Kapooka critter never even broke a sweat – probably ‘cause cats don’t sweat. Uncle J.B. fell down out of exhaustion and the Kapooka critter was on him, eating him string first. That’s the last we saw of Uncle J.B. until the Kapooka critter used the litter box much later on. Uncle J.B. suddenly reappeared, string and all. I asked him about his journey, but he said he didn’t want to talk about it… ever!
“Yeah, he’s a handful, alright,” I cordially replied.
“We just need to get him some toys and find him something to do on his own. He also needs a climbing post and a scratching post. That should help keep him occupied.”
“He has his wicker chair,” I replied, and Uncle J.B. answered me by putting his middle finger up to his mouth.
I showed Uncle J.B. a few more tricks, like how the kitten holds the string in his mouth and walks around with it looking like he’s a kitty on a leash attempting to lead the Daddy who knows where, the balancing act at the top of the wicker chair, and how he learned how to dive into his kitty-toy-house (the one I made for him out of three twelve-pack soda can boxes), sending it and him sliding forward across the floor for a short distance. I also showed Uncle J.B. all of what I had obtained for the kitten so far, and I informed him of everything I had planned for the future. Uncle J.B. said he had a few supplies in mind and would get a few things that he already had from when Mr. Biscuits and Mrs. Piggy were kittens together for Kapooka. After that, Uncle J.B. left, the Kapooka critter played some more, and then a rare thing happened… the Kapooka critter got tired and wore out.
I picked him up and held him, and like the first time, the lil’ kitten fell asleep in my arms again. They’re absolutely adorable when they’re asleep. He purred, and snuggled, and was all kinds of cute and cuddly. I thought to myself, If only he were always like this.
Kitties are cute, but they are also predators, and great hunters. They have a plethora of carnal urges and instincts that have to be taken into consideration and addressed by the owner so that the animal will not be held back and can properly express itself and answer the almighty “Call of the Wild” through plenty of play and exercise. Even indoor cats need a little play each and every day. Balls, strings, and toy mousies are just a few things that work great for keeping an indoor cat happy. They also seem to go crazy for fingers popping out from underneath closed doors and hand movements beneath any and all sheets and covers.
Though at the time I was beginning to wonder if my cat was just downright retarded or something, I now seriously think that kittens just have this God-given youthful energy to where they can just play all day and not get tired. But when they crash, it often happens suddenly and spontaneously, and sometimes instantaneously, right there on the spot. Sometimes they’ll keep on going, even if they’re tired, but you can pretty much tell when they’ve had it. With the Kapooka critter, I would suddenly see him flop down on the floor, his little tongue hanging out of his mouth, panting, breathing heavily, his big kitten eyes only opening halfway and his eyes remaining closed for a good amount of time while performing the act of blinking. When I witness all of these telltale signs I know I can pick the critter up and let him fall asleep in my arms, no fuss, no muss.
With the Kapooka critter asleep in my arms, I soon took him into the bedroom and, also like the day before, laid down with him on my chest and drifted off to sleep for an afternoon nap of my own. The little creature was slowly wearing me out and I needed the extra zzz’s. A couple of hours ticked by and…
I awake to four paws tromping down on my face and leaping away just as quick as they came. I open my eyes and turn my head to see what he’s after and there’s nothing there, not even a fly or a bug, yet the kitten is after it all the same. He’s occupied with the invisible object in the air and he hasn’t seen that I’ve opened my eyes and spotted him, so I close them again and lie there on my back in wait to snatch his hyper lil’ buttoosky up the first chance I get.
He’ll be back, and I know it. He just can’t resist jumping on and over the Daddy again. And sure enough, I hear the pitter-patter of four little paws coming towards me, and then I feel the kitten leap up onto my midsection. I quickly reached my hands out and scooped him up, and then I held him up in front of me, looked right at him, and asked him, “What are you thinking?”
He replied, “Meow!” which translates into, “I’m a crazy lil’ kitty and I was in the process of having fun!”
He then let out another louder, more obnoxious, “Meowww!” which meant, “Feed me!”
I got out of bed with him still in my arms, and we headed for the kitchen where I then put him down and got his food ready for him. As I’ve probably pointed out, he was accustomed to being served a combination of wet food mixed with dry food with a side of just plain, ole’ dry food, and what he does is he eats the wet portion of the food immediately every time and munches on the dry food portion periodically throughout the day, and especially at night while his Daddy’s asleep.
In the mornings, when the food bowl is usually empty and the water bowls are often low (he has three water bowls at this point, one in each room), I clean his bowls. It is important to thoroughly clean food and water bowls regularly. This helps to prevent diseases and infections, like the one I told you about Mr. Biscuits having, though I doubt that’s what it was from.
We all know what happens when food spoils, but water bowls can spoil, too. Water bowls will grow a clear, slimy, algae-like buildup at the bottom of them if not properly scrubbed out every once in a while, and my theory is the fresher the water the better it is for my cat. I try to clean the Kapooka critter’s water bowls at least two or three times a week, and I even fill his water bowls with bottled drinking water ‘cause it’s the purest.
Another thing that can spoil is the litter box, and trust me, you don’t want that item to get too bad. It’s weird, when I was a kid I remember my mom buying one kind of litter which came in a bag and worked just perfect. Nowadays, however, if ya buy the bagged litter it doesn’t clump unless ya mix it with fifty percent or more of the boxed litter or the litter in the plastic containers, which doesn’t seem to work quite as good as the boxed stuff. So that’s what I do, I mix the two types of litter together. The really good stuff that comes in the boxes looks like fine, little granules, to where as the bagged litter looks like crushed shells and other things you would find at a beach or in the ocean.
I mix the bagged litter with the boxed litter in order to save in the cash flo’ department, and I always buy the unscented brand of the bagged stuff ‘cause the boxed stuff is usually so heavily scented. The bagged litter is reasonably priced and seems to last forever in comparison to the boxed litter, which is expensive and runs out much quicker, in part because it comes in slightly smaller quantities – or at least the store I most frequently buy my pet products from has the best deal on a twenty pound box that lasts about a month with the mixture I use, as compared to a twenty-five pound bag bought from the same store which lasts more than three times as long but doesn’t work nearly half as good. Hey, that’s why it’s all in the mix.
Dry food is good for a cat’s teeth, but male cats, like the Kapooka critter, especially need a good, healthy mixture of dry food and wet food ‘cause the wet food helps to keep a male cat from developing crystals in his urinary tract which can lead to a horrible bladder infection or even worse, amounting to a great deal of pain and suffering for the lil’ one. Bottled drinking water can help prevent bladder infections, too. I also stick to a brand of dry food that he likes and has no food dyes or ridiculous additives for my cat’s health. Though the Kapooka critter now gets bottled water, he didn’t always, but that’s a story for another time.
Health problems are never something to take lightly. Vet bills are expensive, but the slightest unknown ’causing one problem to lead to the next could result in losing a friendly, loyal, cherished companion indefinitely. If medical problems arise and don’t heal themselves properly within a reasonable amount of time then a veterinarian who has the proper experience and knows what he or she is doing should attend to the animal, and that person will hopefully give you an honest and reasonable diagnosis – seeing, that is, that they can properly identify one.
Uncle J.B.’s other cat, Mrs. Piggy, developed a skin condition a while back. Uncle J.B. took her to his vet, and his vet diagnosed the problem as being an allergic reaction to fleas. The thing is, Mrs. Piggy was an indoor cat at the time who got flea medication routinely, about once every month, and she didn’t have a flea on her and hadn’t had a problem for some time.
Uncle J.B. applied the medication as the vet prescribed with the hope that it would solve the problem with Mrs. Piggy’s skin condition, but it didn’t. Perhaps it was done for the sake of money, perhaps it was done out of the arrogance of not knowing the cause or the solution to the problem but not wanting to admit it, or perhaps it was just an honest mistake, but the outcome is all the same, the vet had misdiagnosed the problem. The medication wasn’t doing a thing to help Mrs. Piggy’s skin condition.
It started with a bunch of odd sores on Mrs. Piggy’s neck and back. Meanwhile, her hair was beginning to fall out towards her rear and backside, like it was loose and falling out or she was biting at it and pulling it out. The sores turned into scabs, and between the scabs and the lack of hair Mrs. Piggy was lookin’ somethin’ awful. Uncle J.B. and I aren’t vets, so we can’t figure out what’s going on with the Pig for the life of us, or for her. We’re just glad it’s not ringworm or something nasty and contagious like that. All we know to do is apply the medication his vet prescribed for Mrs. Piggy and pray for her recovery.
We never figured out what it was or why it happened, but we were very grateful when Mrs. Piggy’s fur began to grow back and her scabs began to heal over and fall off, the horrible, horrendous sores finally ceasing to recur, though it was a long slow process, the outbreak seemingly now over or at least in a state of remission. It took all of four months for Mrs. Piggy to start looking like her good, ole’ self again. I tell ya, Mrs. Piggy’s Daddy’s prayers and those of my own went leaps and bounds further than that vet’s diagnosis and treatment did, not to dis’ modern medicine, just poor practitioners.
You should see the before and after photos. No, just kidding, Mrs. Piggy was too shy and vain to pose for the camera at the time. She wouldn’t allow her picture taken while she looked the way she did. She’s really a beautiful cat, especially now that she’s healthy again.
Mrs. Piggy’s a short-haired Manx cat, with no tail whatsoever. She has grey, brown, black, and white in her striping, steel blue eyes that reflect green in the shadows when the light hits them a certain way, and she’s got a big, ole’, round belly and is just as plump as a pig can be. We’re still trying to figure out what happened to her tail. I have one theory…
Have ya ever seen the way one kitten’ll go after another kitten’s tail, like in a big, ole’ group of kittens? Well, I think that’s what happened to Mrs. Piggy. It couldn’t be that Manx Cats are just born without tails… oh no, it has to be that there was a wily, little kitten, like my lil’ Kapooka critter, amongst the litter when Mrs. Piggy was a lil’ kitten, and also like my lil’ Kapooka critter, this lil’ kitten liked string, a lot, and mistook anything that was long and straight and looked anything like string for string, especially if it moved and twitched, and you can sort of see where I’m going with this. Of course, this is just one man’s theory on the disappearance of Mrs. Piggy’s tail.
You’ll officially meet Mrs. Piggy and Mr. Biscuits just as soon as we take a trip over to Uncle J.B.’s place to pay ‘em all a visit. Maybe the Cheshire kitty cat will even make an appearance and drop by, too. As for now, let’s see what my lil’ Kapooka critter is about to get into next.
“Meow!!!” Pull the string, Daddy! Come on, pull the string!!!
I said, “I pulled the string and the kitty chased it! What more do ya want from me?!”
And around and ‘round in circles the kitty went. I stood up and tried to walk away from string, but that’s when the kitten transformed into a lil’ ankle-biter and attacked. I dodged to one side and got out of the way just in time to see the lil’ ankle-biter go skidding past me. He was on the warpath. He wanted string to move, and if string wasn’t moving he’d be darned if he was gonna see the Daddy sit still.
The lil’ ankle-biter circled around to make another go at it, hoping to strike himself an Achilles’ tendon on this pass. I scampered in the other direction, but the Kapooka critter was too fast. He was heading directly for me. I had no time to react, no time to dodge left or right, so I took off the only direction I could think to go; Up!
I leapt up into the air, hopping over the lil’ ankle-biter, who was ever so determined to get at me, and landing on the floor behind him. The lil’ ankle-biter did a double-take and circled around for a third pass at me as I rose to my knees and looked around… for…
For what? For a place to flee? For an item to distract him with? For an object to fend him off with? And then, in-between the lil’ ankle-biter and myself, I saw it and thought to myself, I never thought I’d be this happy to see you.
I had found a worthy contemporary to ally myself with. The problem is, I would always, in someway, somehow, be tied to my new ally. Right in-between the lil’ ankle-biter and myself, like a knight in shining armor, there he was; String!
Here he comes to save the day! I thought to myself as the lil’ ankle-biter crouched down low and got into striking position, ready to pounce. I reached out for String and grabbed one of his ends just as the lil’ ankle-biter was launching himself forward. With a smooth, quick flick of the wrist, String sprung to life, twisting and twirling, leaping and whirling, and goin’ ‘round and ‘round in circles.
I really feel like String saved my life back there. If it wasn’t for String, I could’ve spent my days without ankles, and that just wouldn’t be cool. I would have to learn how to walk around on the stubbies and everybody would call me “Nubby,” and that just wouldn’t be cool at all! I want to thank String from the bottom of my heart for sacrificing himself in order to save a wretch like me. I owe ya one, String! Thank you, man! You’re the best!
“We love you, String!”
Sometimes heroic actions bring about grave consequences, and so it goes for String, but I just can’t bring myself to talk about it just yet. There’s been a casualty… his first one… I just can’t bear it… What has my baby done?!
Shhh! We won’t tell. If ya tell, the Kapooka critter’ll jump out of the page and bite your ankles off. Ya wouldn’t want to be called “Nubby” and walk around on stubbies, now, would ya? Okay. Maybe I’ll tell ya about what he did to String momentarily, but for now we still gotta get to the end of this day. So, fast forwarding to that night…
I’m in the bathroom as part of my nightly routine and the kitten is in there with me, at my ankles on the floor, no longer being a bitey lil’ kitty, if ya know what I mean. He’s supervising and checking everything out in the bathroom, and he decides that he’s going to hop up on the counter to the sink again tonight. Again I let him, and he’s checking everything out from up there, and he’s getting braver about the toilet, and he’s playing with my hair whenever I let him, and while I’m standing over the toilet to take a wiz, you know who is right there, looking at me, like he has to supervise that, too.
I’m not used to the Kapooka critter being able to jump up on too many things just yet, but that’s all about to change. The kitten has managed to hop up on the counter to the bathroom sink in my bedroom for the second time, He’s leaning forward over the counter towards the toilet while I’m finishing up, dripping out the last few drops, putting it away, buttoning up my fly, and…
Whoosh! I pull the lever, the toilet flushes, and the lil’ kitten goes from curious and interested to scared stiff and caught up in a complete panic at the drop of a dime. The Kapooka critter wasn’t sticking around to see what happens to the swirling water. He heard that toilet flush, saw that water move, and was gone, darting out of the bathroom, through the bedroom, and into the main room, not stopping to look back ‘til he felt he was out of the range of his number one adversary and phobia all rolled into one; that being, “Water.”
Water, aqua, H2O… call it whatever ya like, the kitty wants nothin’ to do with anything wet getting on him. When it comes to drinking the wet stuff, now that’s a whole different story. He can really gulp it down, just don’t let it touch his precious fur coat. The kitty doesn’t need a bath, he’s got a tongue for all that.
The kitten was finally in the safety of the living room and therefore able to look back now. Meanwhile, I was cracking up with laughter. I thought the situation was rather amusing. I was getting a good rise out of the whole “kitty panicked and ran away from the flushing toilet” routine while finishing up in the bathroom, I must admit.
It appeared the lil’ guy had been so startled, he had taken to using his litter box. I was still laughing to myself when I heard him romping around out there, digging up and kicking litter from side to side, trying to mold the perfect hole to bury his droppings in. I finished up in the bathroom and heard him finishing up and exiting his litter box, and I think that all is fine so I lay down on my bed for a moment of R&R. No sooner do I lay down, I hear an off-sounding noise coming from the kitchen/dining room section of the main room.
At first, I can’t place the sound precisely, but I know it’s him. It sounds like his normal scampering, but there seem to be a couple pitter-patters missing in action. The noises also sound a bit strained and frantic, almost labored, so I quickly get up and exit the bedroom to see him immediately scoot down the hallway out of my sight. I immediately go after him, wanting to know what’s up and determined to find out.
Now, it’s dark outside but, as I’ve stated, there’s plenty of lighting in every room of my home, and the lights that need to be on are on at this time, it’s just that the Kapooka critter’s “Daddy” isn’t always the most observant creature. I saw a flash of orange lightning dart off down the hallway in a sudden sliding motion and I went after it. I failed to look down.
Squish! Guess what I wound up stepping in. I’ll give ya a hint, it sort of rhymes with, Squish! and it smells like…
I notice that a sticky, wet clunker is stuck to the bottom of my foot, and I round the corner of the main room and turn left into the hallway to see my lovely lil’ kitten crouched down with his bottom to the floor, ears back, tail hanging out behind him, back two legs up in the air, front two paws reaching out and propelling him forward as he tries to dislodge and rid himself of the poopy that’s stuck to his booty. The thing is, he’s not dislodging the poopy from his booty, he’s just smearing it all over his rear end and all across my linoleum floor.
So, here I am, limping through the house with a turd stuck to my foot, streaks of shit all over the linoleum flooring in the hallway, and a turd stuck to and hanging out of my cat’s bunghole, and I think to myself, ever the optimist, At least this didn’t happen on the carpet. I pick the kitty up and, while holding him as far away from my own, personal being as possible, I go and get the roll of paper towels. I then limp us into the bathroom on my one, good, non-poopied foot for a good scrub down and a cleaning.
Nowadays it takes a lot to make me mad, but it didn’t used to. This situation didn’t make me happy, but I did a pretty damned good job at keeping my cool. Resolving the problem is often so much easier than thinking about it and getting emotional about it. Again, carpet cleaner, alcohol, or vinegar and a roll of paper towels or a damp cloth come in handy. Remember, dab at it and get it up, don’t just rub it in. Lucky for me, my cat only poop-scoots on the linoleum flooring.
I got the Kapooka critter’s bottom and my foot all cleaned up, and then I said to him, “Don’t do that again! If you do it again, I’ll make it to where you can’t shit anymore and I can’t step in shit anymore by permanently inserting my foot into your behind, ya stinky lil’ asshole! I’ll be walking around with your fat, howlin’ lil’ kitten ass as a boot from here on out if I have to deal with another poop-scoot! How would ya like that?!”
He said, “Meow!”
I said, “Then don’t let it happen again! Gross kitty! Bad, gross lil’ kitty! No poop-scoots!”
The kitty howled in protest one last time before retreating into the main room to finish cleaning himself by licking the poop off of his butt. I didn’t bring him to bed with me that night. That night I left the lil’ stinker out in the living room when I went to lie down and hit the hay.
The horrible thing about poop-scoots is that poop-scoots are horrible things. They stink and smell. They gag the senses. They leave crusty, brown streaks on the linoleum flooring.
– This final excerpt contains all three sections to “From the Lizards’ P.O.V. I, II, and III,” which is a running theme from Jamie Shank’s Kapooka; A Crossover’s Pet, a 95,000+ word, full-length novel about a real life kitty cat. This story is based on true events, yet it is told through the eyes of one of the fictional Crossovers Anthology’s main characters. Though this is an anthology, all taking place on a timeline within a fictional world, each story holds its own unless the title indicates otherwise, and so far Just ‘Cause was the only project which was too big to fit into one book. Kapooka; A Crossover’s Pet, first published as an ebook on Amazon.com on 03/21/2017.
From the Lizards’ P.O.V. (I.)
1: “So, what happened to your tail?”
2: “Same thing that happened to yours, I’m sure.”
1: “Don’t worry, it’ll grow back.”
2: “What’s with this furry, little beast, anyway? I thought the giant liked us. He always talks to us whenever he sees us and has never before seemed to mind us being around. Actually, I thought we were his Big Guys. Did we do something wrong? Doesn’t he know the beast wants to hunt us down and eat us? Why does he allow it?”
1: “I don’t know. Did you see what that thing did to that bird the other day?”
2: “Yeah, it was awful, and I have a feeling we’re next.”
1: “I’m not sure about that. I haven’t seen the beast around in a couple of days. Maybe it’s gone?”
2: “I haven’t seen it, either, but I wouldn’t count on it being gone. I think it’s inside that big box-like cave with the giant. I think they’re running in the same pack now.”
1: “You think we’ll see the beast again one of these days, don’t you?”
2: “Unfortunately, yes, I think we will.”
1: “Well, I must say, I’ve been enjoying the fact that I haven’t seen it around lately. That thing really gave me a run for my money.”
2: “Me, too. I was about to eat a bug when the beast jumped out and tried to eat me. It was pretty scary.”
1: “Yeah, I know what you mean. I had a similar experience. Fortunately for me, the giant came running up, hollering at the beast. If it wasn’t for that, who knows what might’ve happened? I feel I was lucky to have only lost my tail.”
2: “Yeah, well, I hope we don’t see the beast for a while, that’s for sure, that way at least our tails can grow back. That might’ve been the only thing that saved me.”
From the Lizards’ P.O.V. (II.)
1: “Okay. I think we really need to do something about the big, furry, orange beast of a monster who’s been running around on our turf, terrorizing the reptile community.”
2: “Yes. The beast has killed more of our kind than I care to mention, and it’s not just us lizards that the beast is killing. The beast has also been going after frogs and toads, snakes, and even birds.”
1: “It seems the beast has really been stirring things. That thing has this whole community turned upside-down. Well, not for long, I say. Perhaps it is time to fight back.”
2: “Yeah, I’m with you!”
1: “We can’t take on the beast alone. We would never win on our own.”
2: “What do you propose we do?”
1: “Just wait. I think it’s time I get in contact with the real Big Guy.”
2: “You mean…”
1: “Yes, the king of the reptiles.”
2: “Can you really talk to him? Do you think he’ll really hear you out and offer us any assistance.”
1: “Yes, I think he’ll hear me out, but only time will tell if he can, or even will, come to our aid and help us. Just have faith, my friend, and try to stay out of the beast’s clutches for the time being while I’m away.”
2: “I shall wait and pray, and I’ll do my best to keep myself safe while you’re gone. Hurry back, old friend.”
From the Lizards’ P.O.V. (III)
1: “I have returned, and I’ve brought with me the real Big Guy, the irrefutable king of the reptiles.”
2: “So good to see you’ve returned. The beast is in for it now.”
3: “Where is this beast I’ve been hearin’ about? I was promised a snack for comin’ here.”
1: “Well, what do ya know, I think the giant is bringing him outside right now.”
2: “Yep, here he comes. Can you really defeat the beast?”
3: “Consider it done. That thing’s gonna be my dinner.”
Daddy: “Holy shit! Is that an alligator! It is! It is an alligator! Stay away from that thing, Kapooka!”
Kapooka: “Meow!” which translates into, Fuck you, Daddy! I’m gonna catch me a big lizard to bring into the house today!
1: “Here we go!”
2: “Why is the beast going after the king? I thought it was supposed to happen the other way around.”
1: “The king’s got this.”
2: “Are you so sure?”
Daddy: “That’s an alligator, Kapooka! Get away from it! It’ll eat you!”
Kapooka: “Hiss! Hiss! Growl! Hiss!” which translates into, I’m gonna get me a big lizard! I’m gonna get me a big lizard! Daddy can stuff it and hang its head on the wall as a trophy! I’m gonna get me a big lizard!
Daddy: “No, Kapooka, it’s gonna eat you! Run in a zigzag pattern, quick, Kapooka!”
1: “That beast is about to be a feast!”
2: “It’s not over ‘til it’s over, and it’s not over yet.”
3: “I’m gonna eat you, ya furry little runt! Get in my belly!”
Kapooka: “Hiss! Meow! Hiss!” which translates into, That’s what you think! I’m faster than you and I can run in more than just one direction. Who’s gonna eat who?!
Daddy: “I can’t watch this!”
1: “Come on, Big Guy! You can do it, king!”
2: “I can’t watch this!”
3: “I’m gonna eat you! Huh, where did it go?”
1: “No! Oh no! The beast has the king by the tail! He’s trying to eat him!”
Daddy: “Put that thing down! Spit it out, Kapooka! Spit it out! No, don’t bring it into the house! How am I supposed to get that thing back out?”
Kapooka: “Meow!” which translates into, “Don’t worry, Daddy, I’m gonna eat it. Look on the bright side; after this meal you won’t have to feed me again for awhile, but you’re gonna have one heaping pile of poo to shovel out of my litter box later on.”
2: “Did I really just see the beast run into its cave with the king’s tail hanging out of its mouth?”
1: “I know, I can’t believe it either. It looks like it’s back to the drawing board.”
2: “We’re never going to get rid of this beast, are we?”
1: “Never say never.”