Saturday, July 2, 2011

A Girl's Best Friend

I walked into the dining room after school in the early part of second grade. My mom had a silly grin on her face, motioned for me to look on under table. A small Siamese kitten curled up on the chair met my eyes. He was to be my own pet!
My brother used to bring home animals from the feed store often for "Mollie" but we knew they were for Dan. He had Nicky, the dachshund, that he hunted with- ground hogs and rabbits. I didn't have my very own animal.
A friend of my mother was recovering from surgery and her son got her the kitten. If you've ever had a kitten, a first they trick you into thinking you can control them. But about 2 weeks into it, they get their strength and bearings and watch out. A frisky kitten is no match for a convalescing woman. She called my mother to see if her little girl would want a kitten. Mom asked Dad and he said OK.
The kitten's name was Ho Chi Mingh. I didn't like that, I thought Kim was a fantastic Oriental name. Only problem with cats is they know their names and he would not even look at me when I called him Kim. So we kept the Ho Chi, but I added Kim as his middle name.
Ho Chi slept with me. I took him for walks. We tied him outside, but he meowed to come in and ran down the basement stairs to the litter box. We rather treated him like a dog, yet he was my best friend. He and Nicky wrassled around the house. Ho Chi sat on the end tables waiting for Nicky to wander under them, attacking the moving dog. Nicky got his whole mouth around the kitten's neck, dragging him across the floor. My dad looked at the cat and say, "There's no marks on the cat" Ho Chi let Nicky drag him time and again.
Feeding time was the funniest. We fed them the same food in opposite corners of the kitchen. They criss crossed that kitchen four or five times to see if the other had better food.
Ho Chi traveled with us to New Jersey. He slept across my mother's neck, like a mink stole.
I played games with Ho Chi, too. I'd tell him when it was time to move his game piece. He liked Flipper, those little dolphins had to be flipped or caterpaulted onto the game board. Another favorite he never stopped playing was attack the phantom in the bag. A brown paper bag served as the trap, opened up, then scratch the other end. Ho Chi would listen and then pounce in the bag. Such an impressive game that when we had my sister's future in-laws over to discuss the engagement and wedding plans, her father-in-law to be got down on the floor to play with the game with the cat.
Ho Chi knew when someone didn't like him and sublty he would scratch that person under the table. Overall he was a gentle cat, especially after we had him neutered.
My parents didn't realize a cat should be neutered at the time. In the spring of the year when we went to Kansas, we let him stay outside and a neighbor replenished his food and water. By then he became accustomed to using the outside as a litter box. He was a mess when we came home. A big gaping wound on his back, and generally beat up. The vet told my parents,"This is not the kind of cat you leave outside."
Ho Chi also liked to spray the TV, if we ignored his lound crying to go outside, so the neutering was necessary.
One time my father and brother went on a hunting trip at my uncle's cabin, while Mom and I flew to New Jersey. Ho Chi wouldn't shut up, so they threw him the rafters. He was then quiet.
Ho Chi lived up to the curiosity. He burned half his whiskers getting too close to a candle's flame.
We still left him outside and a couple of times, he followed me to Sunday School. Our church did not have air conditioning at that time, with the windows opened near the ground, he looked around the altar. The classroom in the cry room with big glass window, were quite upset that a cat was in the sanctuary. Another time he went in the nursery window and the teachers were holding up the kids outside the room, watching that cat through the windows in the doors. A sigh of relief when I came to the "rescue" I laughed at them. Everyone thought Siamese cats are mean.
I watched That Darn Cat by Disney last evening and Walt did not like Siamese cats. Maybe that's where people got their notions about this breed.
Ho Chi was the first of my 6 Siamese cats. They are the most dog like and loyal to their owners. Princess, my third one, was my friend for 15 years. She watched my every move when Mary Ellen as a baby would cry. She followed me to make sure I was taking care of her. I called her Nanny Princess. I could see a children's book, like the Carl books. Who would think a Siamese cat could watch children and have advetures? But who would think that of a Rotweiler, either?
Maybe some people would say we put too much of ourselves, our personality into these creatures with which we share our house, but I swear Steven, our 6th Siamese, acted up today because he knew I was writing about Ho Chi. Steven is Mary Ellen's best friend.
The legend of the Siamese cricked tail is they used to guard the royal family. One was assigned to a princess. While she was taking her bath, all her rings were placed on the cat's tail. So not to lose them, the cat bent the top of his tail. This was in the Vindicator when I was in elementary school, with a picture of the princess taking a bath and the Siamese holding her rings.
I believe this explains the loyalty that is bred into the Siamese.
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