This is the story of how Poppy, the foster cat, came to live with us on Nissen Street.
I probably have never told my daughters this, but we are grateful that they never came home, told us that they were pregnant, and then ask if we would we please raise a baby to adulthood for them. I know this happens in the best of homes to the nicest of people; I am just glad it never happened to us. However, we do have a daughter who has left her cat to stay with us temporarily—and it’s been temporarily about ten months now.
Poppy was originally a farm cat from the Bird Island, Minnesota, area. For the first couple of years, she lived a rural life. Even after she came to live with my daughter (who lived on the edge of town near an open field), Poppy was a small-town cat who needed to be outside. She didn’t just need to be outside, she NEEDED TO BE OUTSIDE.
However, when my daughter moved to Des Moines, Iowa, in August 2007, she found a place to live on the second floor of an old brick apartment building on a very busy street. The intention was to train Poppy to be an inside cat; however, Poppy did not want to be inside cat.
Poppy lived in Des Moines a total of one week, at which time my daughter threw the cat into her pet carrier, hurled her into the backseat of the car, and drove six hours to our house. Poppy was making everyone crazy. The man in the apartment below had taken to pounding on his ceiling with a broom handle when the yeowling got too loud, and my daughter was getting two or three hours of sleep a night trying to keep her quiet. Poppy wanted OUT and she wanted out NOW! Second story apartments and busy intersections be hanged! No inside cat was she. She was a prowler and a hunter and a warrior. What was she going to do cooped up inside a second-floor apartment 24/7? She needed to get out to spy on birds and capture bugs. For several hours a day, Poppy was Rambo-Cat, the primal beast.
So Poppy became the foster cat in our home, which already had a Queen Mother cat—Hobie, the scaredy cat, the lazy cat, the unquestionably inside cat. Poppy invaded Hobie’s queendom with a vengeance. When Poppy gets bored, she harasses Hobie until the old cat growls deep down in her very bowels. Then Poppy flops over on her back and stretches, trying to look cute, as if to say, “Just kidding, big girl. Can’t you take a joke?” Hobie definitely cannot take a joke.
Well, our daughter is moving again, back from Des Moines to the Twin Cities. She will be looking for an apartment that takes cats so that Poppy will be saved from her pathetic second-class foster-cat life to being the legitimately reigning cat of her own home.
I will not miss Poppy’s cabin fever in the winter when it’s too cold to go outside and she personally blames me for that situation. I will not miss her walking across my face at 2 a.m. to play with the cord on the blinds above my bed. I will not miss her flying off a chair in a sneak attack on Hobie, causing the old lady to have a near heart attack.
But I will miss Poppy and her friendly little personality as she climbs up next to me in my chair and snuggles down for a nap. I will miss Poppy’s warm gray little presence in the house when Tom is gone. I will miss how she can identify the opening of the deli turkey wrapper three rooms away. And I will miss her little rough tongue as it licks and licks and licks my hand with companionship.
Maybe Poppy can still come back for a short visit once in awhile. I’ll just get some kitty tranquilizers for Hobie, and just like old times, we can all be together again.