Monday, January 01, 2007


This is the story of an Adventurous Kitten.

She was new to our household, this kitten, back in 1995. Our tomcat Stripes had gone the Way Of All Cat-Flesh a short time before, and his departure left a hole in our hearts. Accordingly, after an appropriate period of mourning, the Missus and the girls went to a local animal shelter and came home with a peanut-size grey ball of fluff that would be our New Cat. One of ’em, anyway.

The ball of fluff was not a model of health, something that was not evident until she had lived with us for several days. She was frail and developed an unfortunate habit of sneezing. That was bad enough, but the fact that each sneeze was filled with droplets of blood made things much more precarious. After several weeks of TLC and medication, the grey fluffball was right as rain...but at the time of this story, she was still desperately ill.

Early on, the minuscule grey kitten had developed an affection for enclosed places. I traveled for business frequently back in those days, and nothing fascinated that kitten so much as the inside of a suitcase that was in the process of being packed. Cute.

Then it was that my Kid Brother - the other Elisson - came to visit, thanks to a fortuitously timed business trip. A couple of days later, when it came time to leave, The Other Elisson packed his bags and headed off to Houston Intercontinental Airport in his rental car.

And it was shortly afterward that the girls noticed that something was missing. The little grey fluffball was gone! They called SWMBO at work, frantic. The concern we all shared was that the sick little kitten had found a secluded spot in the house in which to quietly expire.

We searched the house from top to bottom. No soap. And that’s when the Cold Equations hit us:
  • Cat + Luggage = Cat in Luggage
  • Cat in Luggage + Aircraft Baggage Compartment = Dead Cat
In a panic, we called the airport and had Elisson the Younger paged. After we explained the situation to him, he prevailed upon the airline to retrieve his satchel, that he might inspect its contents. [Keep in mind that this was well before post-9/11 luggage screening, which would likely have discovered any Fuzzy Intruders.] This they did. After all, nobody wanted a Kitty Tragedy on his hands.

Alas, no kitten in the suitcase. This was both Good News and Bad News, for if she were not in the Younger Elisson’s valise, where was she? The girls were all ready to start slapping posters up throughout the neighborhood when SWMBO made one last-ditch effort to find the kitten outside the house.

After several minutes of frantic calling, SWMBO heard a pitiful mewling from a ball of fluff cowering in the bushes near our back door. The kitten was very frightened, but she was alive and as well as could be expected under the circumstances. She had waltzed right out the door while my brother was loading the car.

Now it’s eleven - almost twelve - years later, and I still gotta check the suitcases for stowaways before leaving the house...for Miss Matata (the Little Grey Ball of Fluff her ownself) still has that Adventurous Spirit, even though she is a bit longer in the tooth.

Matata reminds me to tell you that Carnival of the Cats #145 has been posted at Watermark. Go and visit those other kitties - each has his or her own story to tell.

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