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The Eclectic Pen - My Brother's Keeper.

By: Cricket B. (JiminyCricket)  
Date Submitted: 2/18/2007
Last Updated: 2/18/2007
Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
Words: 939

  I rescue and TNR [Trap, Neuter, Release] feral cats, as well as have four cats of my own--strictly indoors.

Last August I was blessed with finding two newborn feral kittens, just minutes old,under my car. I brought them in and in spite of everyone telling me that they would surely die within hours and to not waste my time, I refused to give up.

I stubbornly hand-raised them with a bottle, feeding them around the clock 24/7, every two hours for the first three weeks of their poor young lives. And I'm happy to report that these two poor, tiny, helpless feral babies are now well-adjusted, tame and almost 7 month old cats--having survived my first attempt as a momma cat, without any side-effects to speak of.

When they were born, one was solid white and one was solid black and not knowing their sex, I chose to name them Ebony and Ivory until nature could provide me with more clues, or clear-cut evidence of who was who ,or prove my name choice's to be ill-fitting.

Eventually, they morphed into Ebony becoming a female green-eyed "Tortie" which everyone calls a "Peanut Butter Tortie" since she looks for all intent's and purposes, like a black cat smeared with Peanut Butter. And Ivory turned out to be a male with ice-blue eyes and a BUFF colored body, but with bright orange Flame-Points - as in Siamese.

Ivory, as is typical with Siamese, had eyes that started to cross, and so being the consummate mother [and having plenty of free-time on my hands as well ]--I worked with Ivory to keep his eyes from crossing. I succeeded and Ivory does not have crossed eyes. Although occasionally they will try to turn on him and it is at those times that his lack of vision leaves him very disoriented and confused as to what happened to his world so suddenly because everything looked all jumbled.

Fast forward to play time with Ivory, who loves to chase things and play fetch, just like a dog--Ebony does too, but not as much as her brother. It was during these playtimes that we started to notice that if the plastic/foam disc we threw flew too fast past Ivory his eyes would betray him, and he would stand still looking confused instead of chasing after it like is his norm.

After several times of this happening, we started noticing that Ebony, who up to this point chased the disc on and off, but not on a regular basis, and at times would often prefer to sit and watch her brother run and play fetch--had started running to catch the disc and then would simply drop down and lay beside the disc or stand there watching her brother with the disc at her feet.

This behaviour perplexed us because the gist of the game was to run and catch the disc then bring it back to us to re-throw, something Ebony refused to do, opting instead to simply stand there as if guarding the disc, or lay down beside it, and looking at her brother. So being the ignorant humans that we can be where cats are concerned--we would go and take the disc away from her and re-throw it so Ivory could chase it once more.

Only Ivory wouldn't chase it, he would stand there instead standing there looking confused as if his eyes were not acting right and Ebony would once more run and grab the disc and then again either simply lay down beside the disc or guard it by standing over it and no amount of coercing would get her to return the disc nor look away from her brother, so once more we would get up and go take it from her, labeling her a "party-pooper" for refusing to join in and "play nice".

After about several days of this behaviour from Ebony we started noticing a new trend in this game and a different sort of interaction between the siblings, in that Ivory would again stand and look confused and Ebony would run and chase the disc but this time grab it up and hold it in her mouth--staring at Ivory.

Once she had caught the disc, Ebony would turn and stare at Ivory with the disc in her mouth--Ivory then and ONLY than would run to her and Ebony would automatically drop the disc to the floor and let Ivory have it--where hence Ivory would return it to us, to be thrown once more.

So being as inquisitive as my cats, I started taking mental notes about what they were doing and trying to determine what it was I was actually seeing, as opposed to what I thought I might be looking at.

I have come to the conclusion that Ebony is NOT being a "party-pooper" nor a "non-team player"--Ebony has become her "Brother's Keeper".

Those times when Ivory would simply stand confused--were the times when the disc had flown too fast for him to see, and so Ebony would run ahead and catch it FOR HIM, and then stand there and use HER body as a focal point for Ivory to *see* where the disc had flown to--then she would simply stand there until Ivory could SEE her, and guide his way to her and locate the disc where she would promptly drop it and allow him to "find it".

Ebony had become Ivory's "seeing-eye-cat"--her brother's keeper.

We could all learn a few tips from Miss Ebony "Tortie-tude Poopy Pants" as she is affectionately known. And to say that cats only care about themselves, is not only ignorant but the under-statement of the century where Ebony and Ivory are concerned.
Submitted for: Kitty

The Eclectic Pen » All Stories by Cricket B. (JiminyCricket)

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Comments 1 to 5 of 5
Linda Y. (ladyyork) - 2/18/2007 2:21 PM ET
This is too cool of a story... You never stop amazing me Cricket... Too have you talent would be wonderful... I enjoyed the article very much... Linda
IONE L. (zaneygraylady) - 2/18/2007 6:32 PM ET
I am also a cat lover. Great story.
Claudia (BrokenWing) - 2/21/2007 3:23 PM ET
you have a good heart...thanks for sharing this wonderful story.
CAROL K. (CK) - 2/24/2007 11:44 AM ET
Wonderful story. Cats are truly amazing creatures.
Alicia G. - 4/2/2007 10:20 AM ET
Very cool. I have no doubt I'd love Ebony and Ivory!
Comments 1 to 5 of 5