December 16, 2010

A Cat Story

Travis in his prime
I noticed him first—a big orange cat, standing in the water, clearly hunting for fish. But it wasn't just his unique behaviour that caught my attention--almost fifteen years ago we adopted a tiny orange kitten from this very stretch of beach. An orange kitten that grew into a 30 lb cat and who sailed some 8,000 miles with us—having adventures, terrorizing our friends and fishing straight from the ocean, just like this cat.

I watched that orange cat for a while, then pointed him out to Maia, who was busy playing with friends. “He looks like Travis,” Maia told me. So I told her that Travis had been born just a few steps from this beach and that maybe we were looking at his great grand-nephew...

Maia then asked exactly where we had found Travis-- an animal who has grown to mythical proportions in her life, and who died over two years ago. So I walked her over to the little corner store across from the beach. When we went in, I explained to the man at the counter how fifteen years ago we had adopted a tiny orange kitten from the store's inner courtyard.

Life is filled with charming coincidences, and the story that came next may only seem special if you've loved and lost a pet. But the man told us he has had big orange toms from the same family for 30-years. And that the first tom was a huge wild one that he found on an isolated beach. He told us that he keeps the orange males, and gets new females from friends, and that every year, and in almost every litter there is one orange cat, and it's always huge, and it always knows how to fish.

The orange cat on the beach was his. And it was the great-grand nephew of our cat--because he remembered his wife had gave one of his cats away to sailors. The man was thrilled to hear how far Travis had traveled (much further than him), and how long he had lived, and he offered us the next orange kitten that came along—even though he doesn't normally give them away.

We don't need a kitten—and thankfully he didn't have one to give. But that urge—to laugh at the insane antics of a half-wild cat that doesn't know fear—came back with a pang. And as much as I think cats need to be spayed and neutered, I envied the man for knowing so many Travis's through the years...

5 comments:

Behan said...

oh, wow! that is a stunning story- really, amazing. what did Maia think? to file under "same same but different" we had a dalmatian which looked EXACTLY like our old dally jump on Totem the first day in the marina here. it was like a sign!

Diane, Evan and Maia said...

Maia was really thrilled. She still gets teary when we talk about Travis--but knowing he has relatives made her very happy.
I like that you got a sign that you've got to the right place btw--it will all come together:)

jmax said...

Really neat, Di. This story brought a tear to my eye, though I'm not entirely sure why. Life's like that, I guess.

- John

Diane, Evan and Maia said...

Thanks, John. We keep looking for the cat, but haven't seen him since. Which is probably good. I have an urge to cuddle him--which I'm guessing he wouldn't like...

Sarah said...

What a rare and beautiful story! So wonderfully written.