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Friday, October 9, 2009

Death of a Twin

The Krueger Scratch
By Sharon Donovan
One Halloween, a tiny black kitten came trick or treating to my condo, purring his way into my heart. Kneeling down on the pavement, I struck up a conversation with him. “Are you lost?” I ran my fingers along his sleek fur, mesmerized by his owlish green eyes. “Don’t tell me someone dumped someone as cute as you?”
“Meow!” Oh, yeah. Here’s one I can swindle, paws down. Pour on the catnip charm.
“You’re just the sweetest thing,” I picked him up and scratched him behind his ear. “What? You’re hungry?”
“Meow!” Now you’re catchin’ on. Another minute and you’ll be singin’ like a canary.
“I bet you’d like a nice bowl of Kibbles ‘n Bits, wouldn’t you? And some nice fresh water?”
“Meow!” Ah, rats. Just when I had a hankerin’ for grilled salmon and a chaser of cream.
“Don’t you worry. You just found yourself a home.”
“Meow!” Hit catnip.
“As long as you promise to be a good boy, no tearing the place apart. Got it?”
“Meow!” Cat’s honor. Ain’t no misbehavin’.

The little darling was a holy terror from day one, raking me with his razor-sharp claws. The little beast had yet to be named, and with Nightmare on Elm Street all the rage, what name could be more befitting than Freddy Krueger? And just to do his namesake proud, his favorite game soon became the “Krueger Scratch”.
Mischievous and playful, one day Freddy snuck up on me from behind, giving me a mean swipe with his claw. Ears back and eyes gleaming, I was in for it. “So you wanna play a game of tag, do you?”
“Meow!” But it’s a game of cat and mouse. Holy Mackerel, get with the program.
All in the name of good sportsmanship, Freddy had a competitive streak. One night he joined the Penguins for a little hockey. Perched in front of the television, his head swiveled back and forth. Just as he gave the puck a good swat with his paw, the Penguins won the game. Convinced he’d scored the winning goal, Freddy seemed to grin like a cheshire cat. ““Meow!” Oh, boy. Fancy Feast, oh boy.

As the Christmas tree went up, Freddy joined in, batting at ornaments as fast as they went up. He kept one eye glued on the football game. Just as the tree was as picture perfect as a Norman Rockwell painting, the Steelers scored the winning touchdown. Freddy celebrated by making a ten-yard dash onto the tree and bringing it down with an impressive tackle. “Meow!” Who’s rollin’ in it now?

One frigid night in late January, we were hit with one of the worst snow storms in years. Football played on the television, but Freddy showed no interest. Wailing like a banshee, he raced from the door to the window, desperate to get out.
Early the next morning, Freddy’s desperate pleas made sense. When I took the garbage to the dumpster in the parking lot, I came to a dead halt. A small black kitten with owlish green eyes identical to Freddy, sat straight up in the snow, frozen to death. As I looked up to the window, Freddy looked down, his mouth open in a silent scream.
Apparently, Freddy had an identical twin. Sensing his danger, Freddy made a gallant effort to save his brother. And when he failed, he mourned for three days, refusing to eat or play.

I learned a valuable lesson through Freddy. Cats are a lot like humans. The little demon with the Freddy Krueger claws warmed his way into my heart for close to twenty years. He is remembered for his love of sports, his mischievous pranks, but mostly, for his act of brotherly love.
When Freddy Krueger came trick or treating one Halloween, little did I know the paw prints he’d leave on my heart. And as much as he liked to play, I envision him every Halloween, lifting the lid of his catnipped-lined coffin, waking his twin by saying, “Whatever happened to the Krueger Scratch?”


Sharon Donovan said...

I miss you Freddy! Your playful presence is felt every Halloween, your pawprints unforgotten. To my beloved pet of twenty years. May your spirit always come out to play with your twin on Halloween.


Hywela Lyn said...

Aw Sharon, what a sad story! You're so right about animals leaving pawprints on our heart.and I'm convinced they sense things we don't. I feel so sad about the poor little kitten frozen to death, but I'm sure he and his brother get up to a lot of heavenly mischief together.

Sharon Donovan said...

Thanks, Lyn. I'll never forget that weekend as long as I live. He literally threw himself at the door and window facing the parking lot and screeched like a banshee all night long. And when it was all said and done and the twin was found, the incredible sadness that washed over Freddy was indeed a lesson in compassion.

Teresa Reasor said...

I both identify with your blog today and was saddened about the other kitten. I too am a soft touch when it comes to abandoned critters.
I just adopted a new kitten though I have two adult cats, Blossom and Kita. One of the older cats is actually playing with him and the other is stalking him, sooo- They'll work it out eventually.
Trouble has been a wild man. He's into everything. He's already been in the comode. Has eaten the top off a pan of brownies and was hyped on sugar and chocolate for two days (chocolate is toxic to cats and dogs) It was too late to pump his stomach so we just had to ride it out. He's knocked over books, been in the closet and gotten into boxes, torn the tails off of several toy mice and eats the dogs food as well as his own (he's a chow hound) but he's endeared himself to us all. He's a cuddler and loves to sleep curled up in your arms like a baby. If he has a twin out there somewhere, I'll probably end up with him.
Happy Halloween!
Teresa Reasor

Sharon Donovan said...

Teresa! I'm sitting here cracking up and shaking my head in an all knowing way. You have yourself a darling demon! Shades of Fred. Too funny. But he sounds like he has "Mom" wrapped around his paw. I'll never forget the time I went away for the weekend, and even though the neighbor checked on the little demon three times a day and fed and played with him, he still managed to find trouble. Apparently there was a tiny scrap of ribbon sticking out from the hall closet where the wrapping paper was kept. He had five spools of ribbon uncoiled and decorated all over the living room. And as if that wasn't enough in his feline mind, he undid the toilet paper and had himself a grand old time!
Good luck with your little darling!
p.s. Love your cats names!

P.L. Parker said...

I am loving your Halloween stories. Good job. Keep them coming.

Sharon Donovan said...

Thanks, Patsy! I do so adore the witching season! Glad you're a follower!

Mary Ricksen said...

I know just how you feel to lose an animal that has marked your heart
Very sweet and so Sharon.

M.Flagg said...

Oh Sharon, that went straight to my heart. I'm an animal lover as well. My Tommy Cat died last year at 17. They do leave a print on our hearts.

Sharon Donovan said...

They sure do, huh Mary. But you got Junior now and he's a real trooper!

Sharon Donovan said...

Mickey. Isn't it funny how animals touch our hearts and leave those prints for life. Seventeen's a long life too. You must have taken good care of him.