Tales from the Clan of the Cave Artist...
It was just over four seasons ago in the fifth month, that I was called out from my Cave of Creative Solitude by the Clan Mother and our Princess Jasmine , “Dad! Dad! Come quick, I can hear an animal crying in the thorn bushes beside the bus stop outside by the gate”. So I put down my painting sticks of Squirrel hair and wiped my hands free of paint smears and followed my little Princess and the Clan Mother to the collection post where our Princess waits to be transported to her cave of learning. “there, there in the bushes near the grass verge, you can hear something!” Jasmine whispered, kneeling down I could hear what she and Clan Mother had heard, the tiniest cry of a very young kitten that was cowering under the thorn bushes, totally petrified of all the passing traffic just feet away from the entrance to our Cave. “Please, please Dad, help her, she needs our help!” Jasmine whispered in my ear. “OK, OK, just give me some room” I replied as I knelt down on the grass and reached in amongst that really prickly hedge and managed to cup both hands around her tiny shivering body and pulled her out from underneath the thorn bush. I stood up still clasping the kitten firmly as not to let her jump free and possibly into the path of the rush hour traffic roaring by only feet away. Still clutching the very tiny kitten, I walked back to our Cave, Jasmine kept jumping up asking to have a look, Clan Mother telling her to wait until we were inside the cave where it is quiet and we can see what is what.
Inside the cave, I opened up my hands and placed this tiniest of ball of a kitten on the table in the conservatory so we could all see what it was we had rescued this morning. The tiny ball of tabby fluff rolled onto the table top and had four of the whitest paws you ever did see. Her head and back to the tip of her tail were beautiful brown and black tabby marking, with a white vee shaped chest and chin to match her four white socks, she looked to be only 10 to 12 weeks old if that, the Clan Mother and I surmised. “Can we keep her? Please Dad! please?” “We need to see if one of our neighbours has lost any kittens first” I told Jasmine. That afternoon, I called in at the nearest Caves to ours and asked each and every one if they had lost a kitten, no was the reply to all our enquiries. Back at the Cave, I informed our Princess Jasmine and the Clan Mother, that none of our neighbours had a missing kitten, to this news, Jasmines eyes widened and smiling she asked, “Can we keep her now, please Dad, please?” I said that before I can answer her question, we need to take this kitten to a Cave of an Animal Shaman who can check if she has a chip inside her with details of an owner franticly looking for their Lost kitten, if no chip, than we can offer to look after her ourselves, only if Princess Jasmine and the Clan Mother were happy to do so, knowing Clan Mother as well as I do, I knew this was only a formality. A few days later after checkin* with the Animal Shaman, the kitten was I chipped and free to be taken care of. I paid to have her checked and chipped and soon this stray kitten we discovered under some thorn bushes outside our Cave was quickly accepted into our Cave. We decided on calling her Sox after her four white paws and pretty soon she became part of our Clan.
Sox quickly accepted us into her cave and settled in as if she owned the place, her favourite warm spot was sitting on top of the Sky Box on top of the Mantle above the Cave Fire, we ours often end up shouting her name, usually when watching something on the big LED TV, when she moved and switched channels, she did this frequently, and we came to accept her control of our viewing habits. We would think nothing of watching a romantic movie or dramatic thriller on the TV and soon become oblivious to the silhouette of a cat sitting on the Sky Box in one corner of the screen.
Sox even allowed our two young Samoyed hounds to live with her in our cave, and always looked down on her kingdom from high on top of the Sky Box or the Cat Towers we purchased in the coming years. Sox eventually wandered through and into my Cave of Creativity and used to love just sitting in one of the vacant cubby holes she had made for herself and often stayed sitting throughout an entire class of students I would teach to paint. Yes, she was shouted out especially after I had primed some new canvases of bark with gesso, and she had decided to walk across one or two on her way to one of her favourite spots. How do I know this, well when I returned to inspect the canvases of bark, I could see tiny cat paw prints walking right across one or two canvases, and following them, I usually found the culprit in one of her cubby holes licking her paws clean.
Sox also liked to follow me or whoever was on patrol with our Samoyed hounds, sometimes walking parallel to us going through our neighbours gardens and all round the outer boundaries keeping pace with us, though never gaining enough courage to cross the busy road road.
Another nice warm place often frequented was atop my own belly as I sometimes (occasionally) slumbered inside the Cave after a hard day’s work in my Studio of Creativity of course.
This was how Sox spent her days inside and outside our cave, until a few days ago, we noticed her missing, her food bowl was left uneaten and no-one had seen her for what seemed a few days. I made enquiries to my nearest neighbour asking if they had seen her or maybe check their out buildings in case Sox had found her way in and fallen asleep when it was locked. My neighbour returned that afternoon to tell me he had found a cat curled up under an old fur tree but couldn’t get near as it keep hissing at him. I followed him round to his garden and right where he said, I saw Sox curled up under an old fur tree, as I approached her, she looked up and I could see that she was in a poor state, her lip was torn, one of her front top canines were broken and she couldn’t stand up as her hip was slack. I bundled her up and carried her back home to our Cave.
Clan Mother and I took Sox to see an Animal Shaman and she confirmed that Sox had indeed broken her hips and damaged her front mandible, lost a tooth, and had an infection around her back and one front legs as well as being dehydrated and lacked fluids. The Animal Shaman said that Sox would require a few X-Rays and mostly likely surgery on her hips, jaw and legs as well as intensive care and medication. The cost was rising well into figures we knew we could never afford. Even insurance, we decided early on for all our animals, would run into figures we do not have or could afford.
Sadly, we decided that after four seasons and a few days after we found her under that thorn bush we had both decided to bade her one final farewell and allowed her pain to ease as the Animal Shaman gave her the vial that allowed her to fall into a never to awaken sleep.
So it seems that Sox had at last gotten over her fear of cars and mustered up courage to cross that busy road outside our cave and sadly had used up all of her feline lives in the process.
Thank you Sox for allowing us to share your all too brief time on this Earth.