MR MEOWINGTON

It was Kittenpalooza at the local animal shelter recently. That’s not the name I gave it. The animal shelter did that. It’s kitten season, after all, and you have to come up with fun promotions sometimes to, as they put it, move the new models off the lot. It’s like a Labor Day-athon at your local Toyota dealer. But with tabbies instead of Tacomas. 

You didn’t know there’s a kitten season? Neither did I, until Mrs. Observer and I found ourselves in need of a cat six years ago. It was during Kittenpalooza, after all, that we found our little guy. 

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Here’s how it all went down. Mrs. Observer was dealing with health crisis after health crisis and needed a furry friend, especially while I was off in the coal mines … or sitting behind a desk staring at a screen from 8 to 5 each day, to be more accurate. One day, I came home from work and there was Mrs. Observer laying on the couch with a cat. Except we didn’t own a cat. This was the neighbor’s cat who had slipped in and the Mrs. didn’t have the energy (or the desire) to send him on his way. To be fair, he was the softest, fuzziest cat we’d ever seen, so I can hardly blame her. 

Not long after, we headed to the shelter on a Friday afternoon to find our new companion. Except, it turns out, they were closed on Fridays. All stories of triumph over emotional tumult start with an unexpected locked door, right? 

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The next day, we headed back to find a new kitten to lift our spirits. I’d find out years later that Mrs. Observer only went there to appease me. I wish she had told the truth but, I’ll admit, I’m glad she went along, even if just to humor me. When we got there, an employee took us through the shelter to look at all the cats, but none spoke to us in that way only the right feline companion can. Then, as we turned to walk out, we passed by a cage with a tiny little thing pawing at us. Our guide plucked him out of his cage and, within seconds, he was climbing up on Mrs. Observer’s shoulders and on to the top of her head. Needless to say, he was ours. Or, rather, we were his. 

The shelter had named him Heath and that was a fine name, since he came from a litter that was all named after candy bars. But this guy was clearly a Mr. Meowington. And that’s how he’s been known ever since. 

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We took this itty bitty gray fuzzball home that Saturday morning and soon learned he weighed just a pound and a half. And he wouldn’t eat. The vet said we should feed him human baby food with a syringe, so we did. And it worked. Six years later and he’s up to 11 pounds of mischief. 

I know it’s been six years since we got him because he recently celebrated a birthday and Mrs. Observer and I observe that holiest of holidays by eating Filet-O-Fish sandwiches from McDonald’s. Except, this year, we went to the Chicken Salad Chick in North Little Rock in his honor. Fish and chicken. That’s how he’d want us to celebrate, right? 

Mr. Meowington rules the roost, but that’s mostly our fault for letting him be in charge. For instance, the other morning, I stumbled to the kitchen, made my first cup of coffee and headed to the recliner to read the morning’s news. Except, Mr. Meowington was asleep in the chair already. What to do? I sat on the couch, of course. It would have just been rude of me to remove the king from his throne. He doesn’t really understand how to share, either. 

We love him and he loves us, too — or at least I think he does. Why else would he spend so much time with us when he could be in any room in the house? Except for when he’s taking his daily six-hour naps, of course. I do have one complaint, though. When he wants something, he sounds the alarm by knocking something off the counter in the kitchen. Isn’t there a better way? If he could talk for a day, I think that’s what I would ask. Well, I’d ask him a lot of things, but that would definitely be on the list. 

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All that is to say, if there’s a kitten at the shelter that could provide half as much fulfillment as this little fella, then run to the shelter and adopt one today. Mr. Meowington would approve.