Saturday, July 23, 2005

Good Bye Ruby Tuesday

We had two cats and lived in a pretty large apartment in north Jersey and were pretty happy there with the two cats for a time.

Then of course I got in the way and started my usual ruminations of greener pastures and wondered how long I could keep up the rat race in New York City.

I applied to grad school and got in and we decided to move to New England to go to school for a few years.

And what we did to be practical was tranquilize the cats, toss them in the back of the car and make the haul from hell up interstate 95 to drop same cats off with caring parents. This was just temporary and a chance to acclimate the cats to their new environs and to keep them out from under foot as we had boxes and wrapping paper and movers crowding the apartment.

It was going to be three weeks between the time we dropped the cats off and the move. Three weeks. Not a long time when one contemplates the age of the universe. Not even a long time when one considers how long one stays at most publishing jobs these days.

Nonetheless it was a long time and a week and a half later, like teary eyed blithering idiots we were down at the shelter looking at stray cats to adopt.

We found one.

He was a long haired marmalade cat.

He was trouble.

My wife at the time had noted that a family of feral cats had made a home in a run down out building behind our apartment. She had this strange idea of rescuing the kittens once they were weaned but keeping one little red female cat and naming her Ruby.

It never happened.

The cats moved out, "Ruby" moved with them and as anyone knows anyway, red cats are always male. Hence the name "Ruby" would be a real gender confusion issue.

So here we were at the shelter. We found the red cat, we adopted him and we brought him home. We talked about what to name him. I thought "Jack" was appropriate. She liked "Jasper". Somewhere in there we talked about the feral cats and we wound up naming him:

Ruby.

Everything happens for a reason, some people say. And there are times that I actually subscribe to that idea. For example, during harried and stressful times, something really funny happens to you that forces you to laugh and realize that as bad as things can get, there's always a path through the storm.

What happened with Ruby should have shown us the light of packing his furry ass back to the shelter with an earnest note reading something like "sorry, didn't really know what we were getting ourselves into."

Like teary eyed blithering idiots, we chose to ignore the obvious signs.

The first thing Ruby did after we showed him around the apartment, pointing out where the food was served and where the litter box was, was jump up on some packed boxes, ready to be moved.

He then readily forgot the introduction he had just had to the cat litter and shit all over the boxes.

This was going to be a long endurance test with a cat, wasn't it?

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