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I'm a single mom with two great kids living near Dallas, Texas. This is my life; day to day things that are probably only important to me. This is my record of my ups, my downs and the road that I've taken along the way. For whatever reason YOU'RE here, I hope you find something you can enjoy and/or relate to. God bless.

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Location: Dallas, Texas, United States

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Remembering Rags

In the early 80's, when I lived in Indianapolis, I was driving home around 3 a.m. after having closed the bar. I was bartending at night and working at the Fleenor's (an auto retail store, like Auto Zone) headquarters in the accounting department during the day. I was really looking forward to that 5 hours of sleep before I needed to get up as I crossed through a parking lot that I took as a shortcut home. The parking lot was dimly lit, but it was enough for me to see a brown paper sack in the middle of the lot.
This was during the time of the 'paper bag bomber' in Indianapolis. I think that was what the papers called him. He'd put some sort of small homemade bomb in sacks in parking lots. I can't remember how many people were killed or injured, but everyone was weary of any sacks they saw in parking lots. So, as I spotted this sack, I slowed down and was making sure I didn't come close to it as I saw it move. At first, I wasn't sure. I was tired and probably had a couple of drinks. I stopped at a distance and again, I saw it move. Just barely. Part of me told me to check it out (the brain dead part of me) and part of me told me to call the police. 3 a.m., had a couple of drinks in me and chances are at 99.9% that I had drugs in my system. I put the car in park and got out. The bag was definitely moving and then I heard a very slight 'meuuuwwww'.
I walked closer and saw that the bag was soaked in grease and had some, what appeared at a distance to be, burned spots on it. The closer I got, I was sure I heard the weak cries of a cat.
What the hell. I pulled out a knife (puhleeze, like y'all don't always carry a knife on you...I still have at least two in my bag. One on my key chain and another in it's back pocket...hey, I've got my reasons). The bag had been twisted shut and wrapped with a thin wire. I made a small slit...no explosion, so I kept going. Inside was a small, black kitten that appeared to be soaked with something. He fit in the palm of my hand and was shaking. I picked him up and rode home with him in my lap.
When I got home, I called one of my best friends that lived in the apt. complex. Yeah, it was near 4 a.m. and that's just the kind of friend I am. Anyway, my friend was a very tall, muscular hunk of a gay man. My calling him for help in the middle of the night wasn't anything abnormal, and he never failed to come running when I needed him. I had one cat, Tito, already and he kept trying to get close to this little thing crying and quivering. My friend held the kitten while I tried to wash off the greasy substance on him. After an hour of cleaning, we discovered this to be a white and orange tabby that had apparently been covered in oil and (the weak of stomach should put their hands over their eyes here) set on fire. One of his ears had been burned badly and his fur was burned off in places. We fell asleep holding that kitten in a towel that night, hoping it would still be with us in the morning.
The next day we got him to the vet, who got him on antibiotics, gave me some ointment for the burns and wormed him. Between myself and two of my neighbors, the kitten was rarely left alone.
We put a box on the front desk at work and everyone I worked with put in suggestions for a name for my new kitten. My favorite was 'rags to riches', so I named him Rags. Rags was a very 'people shy' kitten and even more so as he got older. By the time he was about a year old, he wouldn't even come near me. When I moved to Texas in 1984, I had to capture him in a pillow case to get him in my car. I moved to Texas with what I could fit into my Subaru, including my two cats, my large dog, Primo, and a litter box. Left little room for anything else...another story.
In Texas I had rented, sight unseen over the phone from Indiana, an efficiency apartment. So there was little place for Rags to hide from me, but he still kept his distance.
Fast forward six months to when I met Mark. On our first date, Mark came to my apartment. As we sat down, Rags jumped up to the arm of Marks chair and climbed into his lap. It was the first time he'd ever approached anyone, let alone allow someone to pet him. HUGE plus in Marks favor. And, of course, as most of you know, Mark and I were married less than two weeks later.
In the years after that, Rags became a very affectionate cat. For 10 years he slept cuddled with me every single night. He lived to be nearly 16 years old. I'm so glad I took a chance on that paper sack.


Blogger Casually Me said...

Life takes turns that cannot be predicted. I can see GOD putting one in the plus side for kathi on this one. Poor little rags, set on fire. Your story was so heart-warming, so pure in it's intent that I almost forgot about the evil that sets a cat on fire, (ya know without eating it..kidding..) Great story...and a glimpse into the life of kathi, I could get it by going back into the archives...but damn I am a lazy man..haha.

8:58 AM  
Blogger kathi said...

Thanks sweetie. I just think how much I'd missed if I'd let common sense rule that night and I'd not stopped.
You're not lazy, goofball.

9:55 AM  
Blogger ~Deb said...

Kathi---you know that I love all your posts, however, this is the best one I have ever read on your blog. Not even because of how well you write—it just was an amazing story—that I really think you should submit or publish in some sort of magazine or something.

How horrible for someone to torture an animal like that. It amazes me. I can definitely see you being scared and curious all at the same time when you walked outside of the bar and saw a brown bag- that could have possibly been a bomb. Brave!

When I worked at my bar back when I was 19 yrs old, there was a stray cat who met me at the end of my shift at 5am. She sat on my car---just to make sure I came out to greet her. It never failed. One time, after my shift—I drank way too much, and walked outside of the backdoor and got really sick. The cat jumped off my car to greet me—and to help. She cried as I was getting sick all over the place. I knew then I should have taken this cat home, but I’m severely allergic to cats—so I couldn’t. I never even touched cats! It was the first time I picked up a cat and just held it. You know something? I didn’t sneeze—but till this day, I wish I took that cat home with me.

Your story reminded me of that time. Thanks for sharing that. You know—animals are great at sensing people out. That cat knew your husband was a good egg. It takes a lot of time for a hurt animal to trust again—just like with any person who was abused.

Great post Kath! Love you!!! xxoo

11:06 AM  
Blogger ~Deb said...

(Sorry for the disgusting story on your blog! ha) I guess you got the point!

11:07 AM  
Blogger joey♥ said...

i have a cat, a calico, whom i've had for 9 years. i'm the only one that she lets touch her and she is very shy and hides whenever i have a visitor.

i'm glad you took a chance on that paper sack too.

beautiful story :)

12:33 PM  
Blogger Brea said...

Wow - what a story and a very lucky kitty!

7:06 PM  
Blogger Tom Serafini, Actor to the Stars! said...

Didn't I warn you about animal stories? You asked for this...

It was July of 1999. I was just out for some air because Tracy's family was driving me crazy. I was walking down the street minding my own beeswax and contemplating all the glorious ways I could torture her family when a simultaneous convergence of events occurred with me as the apex.

I saw out of the corner of my eye something low to the ground dashing out into the street coming toward me. At the same time a car full of kids was coming down the street. They saw the thing, reved up and took aim.

This was one of those times when everything happens too fast to process but somewhere in your brian there's this little secretary sorting everything out for you to see. My brain processed and informed me that the thing in the street was a kitten and it was just run over by the car full of cheering teenagers. My eyes go wide, my pressure spikes and now I've gone from mad to murderous.

As the car continued down the street, I noticed the animal roll out from under it. Aparently they missed. They noticed this as well and threw it in reverse. Blind with rage, I began to run into the street but to my surprise, the cat bolted across the street, right up my leg and into my arms and let out a loud "MEE-YOU!" I turn and run back to Tracy's mother's house.

After taking stock we discovered a flame point female siamese kitten. Now we already had two non-cat friendly cats. We just opened the chiro office so we adopted an office cat.

Now what about a name? Remember the old cartoon Gay Puree? Off the cuff I named her Mewsette. Ths was the friendliest cat you could ever imagine. She always purred, cuddled and napped with me, Trace, any of the patients. She was a gem. We took her to the vet for a check up and a few tests. They said she was about six months old and we were thrilled that she was so young, we'd have her for along time.

So we go to pick her up and they hit us with it - she has feline lukemia and has at best, six months. In January 2000 we were pretty slow in the office so we had time to take her to the vet for treatment. We were sitting in the main room of the office when I see Mewsie hobble out of a treatment room and collapse. We rushed over to her and she began howling in obvious discomfort. We rushed her to the vet who basically told us it was time. He said we could wait outside but we both wanted to be there. She was slipping away painfully. We held her as he gave her the shot. We were nose to nose and in two breaths she was gone. I had never seen that before, the light going out. I have her ashes on my nightstand. I kiss it goodnight every night.

You didn't hear this from me.

8:59 PM  
Blogger Stacy-Deanne said...

Shoot to hell with Britney & Kevin or Jessica & Nick! Kat they need to give you and Mark a show! Show them how real marriages and real love is done! I hope one day I am lucky enough to be in love like this.

9:35 PM  
Blogger Anonymous Shannon said...

Dogs and cats that you help out of bad situations are the best pets! They love you for what you've done for them! I've got two dogs from difficult situations! They are the best dogs in the world

9:45 PM  
Blogger DZER said...

I don't even like cats but I found myself liking Rags after this post.

oh ... and I like you even more too ;)

7:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awe, poor little Rags. I'm so glad you took a chance on that paper bag! He turned out to be a wonderful addition to your family. And ditto what Deb said

"That cat knew your husband was a good egg"

Rags was just returning the favor, and helping you to see what a wonderful man Mark is.

9:46 AM  
Blogger Nabeel said...

what a touchy storyyy mannn .. tchh i have a smile on my face right now (trying not to think what that someone tried to do with that cat) ..

wowwww ... and thanks for rescuing that cat .. what comes around goes around ... remember that !!

10:38 PM  
Anonymous blackops said...

Back pocket knives? Gay men? Tito? This sounds like a bad Michael Jackson novel. Seriously this was a cool story, good for Rags you took that chance.

three or four words

6:11 AM  
Blogger SmileDragon said...

What a sad and happy story, all at the same time. Great post.

10:30 AM  

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