We now return to KITT-FM, where it's all kittens, all the time. And now, broadcasting live from our studios in Purrbank, Cat-ifornia - heeeeeeere's your hostess, Mother Catresa!
Until Labor Day, I had two major, in-person fixtures in my everyday life that tied me to my Texas roots and have shared multiple phases of my life with me: Rum Tum Tugger, my 13-year-old orange tabby, and my well-loved, fire engine red, 1997 Nissan 200SX. Now, I'm down to just Rum Tum - and, old buddy, you'd better stick with me for a long, long, time to come!
A few weeks ago, my adorable, sleek, girlie-girl-foxy-Texas-woman's-Sun Belt type-of-car that I got brand-new after college graduation - a car I called my Little Red Skittle - had a breakdown that turned out to be fatal. While I have no attachment to metal, rubber and upholstery, per se, I tend to get very attached to things like cars, apartments, houses, and even grocery stores. They are a part of my routine - and, therefore, they are a part of me. And I don't let go easily.
Parts of my everyday life, even the inanimate ones, become a comfort to me. I have sat in every apartment I have left, crying and reminiscing before, finally, I walk away and close that door one last time - usually, after re-opening the doors several times for one more peek. Some of my friends think it's silly - and, in a way, it is - but I know many people nonetheless can relate to such impractical sentimentality.
My car and I spent 193,000 glorious miles together through multiple life phases and cross-country moves. I drove it for numerous road trips under the blazing Texas sun, punctuated by a year in Illinois for graduate school. I remember, after I arrived up north and winter rolled in, I beheld about the darndest thing my Southwestern driver's eyes had ever seen: my Little Red Skittle, covered with a half foot of snow!
And then, a few years later, I and my mechanical bud - with Rum Tum and Buster, my late gray and black tabby, packed up cozily in the back seat - embarked on the biggest and longest-lasting adventure so far: my move up to Pittsburgh from Dallas. And Skittle has been with me ever since: in fact, as of the week of Halloween, I will have been here seven years. Yes, seven.
Now, wouldn't you know it, the Good Lord knew what was coming, and already had the perfect replacement car lined up for me. Guess what I bought a week ago? Another Little Red Skittle! Yep, it's my old car's kissing cousin, only a year newer, 60,000 fewer miles, and an upgraded SE model with more options and a fancier interior. Can you dig it?
I love my 1998 Nissan 200SX-SE. It feels like home. And so does Rum Tum, who remains the only living part of my past that is with me every day.
Oh, will I grieve hard when it's time for him to go, but - God? - may that be a long, long ways away. He gets frequent oil changes - er, vet visits - and top-notch, 93-octane gas - er, nutritious food.
Now, this reminds me: although I want to see all my kittens get homes, if you're looking for a feline, please remember that high-mileage cats like Rum Tum still run great. And the adults, especially older ones, are the kitties who need homes the most. This weekend, Animal Friends had an "Oldies but Goodies" event, where we promoted our older animals while '50s music played in the background. It was a precious idea.
Everyone seems to want a kitten, but please don't forget to consider pre-owned cats. Often, like cars, they have very low mileage, and lost their homes at a young age because of an owner's move. Sometimes, people "trade in" their cats for a boyfriend, or even a newer model that matches the furniture better. But these cats still have many years left in them, full of love to give to a special someone. Depreciation of value is nonexistent in the pet world.
So, please visit your local animal dealer - um, shelter - today. Whether you adopt a baby or an adult, we guarantee a manufacturer's rebate of love and affection.
Until next time, this Skittle lover remains,
Patrons Saint of Homeless Felines
(and the "smitten kitten")