The weeks rolled by and almost every day was a fun day for me. Miss M’lu kept taking me out to do different things and to meet people. She said I had to have as much exposure as possible if I was going to be a therapy cat. I had to meet all various kinds of people, get used to all sorts of noises and learn not to be scared of anything.
I met lots of old people because that’s where I lived, in a retirement community. I met young children occasionally when they came to visit or when Miss M’lu would take me shopping. Then there were the employees I met and became friends with.
Noises didn’t usually bother me, even the vacuum cleaner. When the cleaning lady came every week and she’d be vacuuming I would chase the electric cord and get tangled up in it. I liked her. She played with me and never got upset. When she would change the sheets I’d jump on the bed and help her! She’d laugh and put me on the floor and I would jump right back up. I liked to play cave cat and tunnel underneath the bedspread after she had neatly placed it on the bed. I would finally crawl off to the floor leaving a long furrow behind me. With a smile she would neaten it up again.
Things were looking good in my training. The part I liked best were the daily walks around Meadow Lake. There was always something to see.
One day all three of us were out in the Kitty Cabana when Miss M’lu came out to bring us inside.
“It’s getting a little warm so I think you had all better get into the house where it’s cool,” she said as she opened the gate.
We were all settling down for a nap in the living room when I heard her calling me.
She was in the kitchen and I ran to her.
“Time for our daily walk,” she said. I saw my leash in her hand. She snapped it on and we walked to the garage to the pet stroller. I jumped in.
We went back through the kitchen and out the back door.
“See you later,” I called out to Ringo. “I’ll tell you what I see when I get back.”
Ringo opened one eye and promptly went right back to his siesta.
We went out to the Lodge parking lot and followed the Second Chance Garden. It was so pretty with many of the flowers in bloom. The butterflies were flitting in and out among them. We walked on by and headed up towards the lake.
“I know you like going out on the pier to watch the fish and turtles so today we’re going to feed them.”
“Mew-Wow!” I answered. I had seen the bag of breadcrumbs and was wondering what it was for. I didn’t know they liked bread. How strange. I thought they just ate bugs.
When we got there she let me jump on the bench. I jumped up to the railing and walked around for a short while.
“Come down here, Nina,” she called. “I’m going to start feeding them.”
The turtles had seen us and I could see their heads bobbing out of the water as they headed towards the dock leaving a soft ripple behind them. I jumped down and went to where she was standing. I crouched down over the edge to get a closer view. Some bread crumbs fell right on my head as they headed down in front of me onto the water. I pulled my head back in slightly. There was a frenzied splashing as the turtles swirled around after the bread.
“Look at them, Nina!”
I was! There were big, big turtles, some medium ones and even some small baby turtles. I had never seen them this close before. Miss M’Lu threw the crumbs adjacent to the pier so they would be near me.
All of a sudden there was a big splash in their midst! It was a huge fish.
“Did you see that, Nina! Look, there are more coming. They’re so fast the turtles are losing out.”
She moved to the other side and threw some large pieces far out luring the fish away. Then she came back and dropped the crumbs for the turtles. She kept going back and forth until the bread ran out. I stayed in the same place watching the turtles.
The bread disappeared. The fish left. The turtles mulled around and then started moseying off too.
“Excitement’s over! Time to go,” Miss M’lu said as she brought the stroller around.
She picked me up. “In you go. Let’s finish up our walk.”
We followed the pathway and eventually ran into a resident who was also going around. He had his dog with him.
“Taking your cat for a stroll, I see.”
“Yeah, have to keep her in training.”
The little dog started yapping at me but I just stared it down. We had already met so I don’t know why he was making a fuss.
“Why are you barking at me?” I asked.
“I’m bored and was hoping you’d come down and play with me.”
“I’d like to but don’t know if I can.”
No sooner had I said that when his owner tugged on his collar.
“Com’on, we’ve got to get going, dinner’s waiting,” and off they went.
“Mew-bye,” I called after them. “Maybe we can play next time.”
We kept on going and as we neared the end of the lake Miss M’lu turned left off of the sidewalk onto an open concrete drainage culvert. It was a shortcut to one of the streets and we eventually wandered back to the house.
As soon as I was unleashed I ran off to find Ringo. He was asleep by the desk.
” ‘Ingo! ‘Ingo!” I yelled.
He jerked his sleepy head up. “What in the world?”
“Ingo, we fed the turtles!”
“You woke me up for that! I was having the best dream. I was in a corn field chasing a rabbit and was getting closer…”
“That was just a dream, ‘Ingo. This is real!”
“Leave me alone, I want to catch the rabbit…” he muttered as he stretched out.
“‘Ingo!” Pay attention!” I insisted with a loud mew.
“There were all kinds of turtles, real big ones and some very small ones. They must have been babies. And then the fish came. They were huge and kept beating the turtles to the food! You should have seen them!”
Reluctantly he rolled over. “I have seen them. Tippy and I used to go down there and watch the fish with Miss M’Lu when she would take us for a walk. There were hardly any turtles then. Guess they’re like rabbits.”
I heard M’ster Doc come into the other room.
“Hi, Sweetie, how did the turtle feeding go?”
“Just fine. Nina really got into it. She wouldn’t take her eyes off them and was so close with her head over the edge I kept dropping crumbs on top of her.”
He laughed. “By the way, Melissa from SNIPPET called and would like you to call her back when you get a chance.”
“Sure, I’ll do it in a few minutes.”
She hung up the leash and rolled the pet stroller into the garage. She gave me a treat and then reached for her cell phone.
“Hi, This is Marilu and I’m returning a call from Melissa.”
“Sure, I’ll hold on.”
A few moments later I heard her say, “Hi, Melissa, what’s up?”
“Thursday, sure no problem. So you want me to bring her in Wednesday night and pick her up on Friday, right?”
“Okay, we’ll be there,” she said as she hung up.
“What was that about?” M’ster Doc inquired.
“It’s for Nina. They’re going to spay her Thursday morning. We have to bring her on Wednesday before 6 at night and we can pick her up on Friday. They want to keep her for observation before they release her.”
“What’s ‘spaying’ ?” I asked Ringo.
“That’s when they fix you so you won’t have kittens.”
“I’m a kitten myself, how can I have kittens and why would I want kittens anyway?”
“It’s a long story and it doesn’t matter. Once they spay you, you are going to feel better in the long run and you’ll live longer. And you won’t have to worry about little duplicates following you all around,” he added with a chuckle.
“Does spaying hurt?”
“Well, when I got fixed myself it did hurt for awhile, but they gave me pain medicine and it helped, but it’s different for females. The best part is how much attention you’ll get from Miss M’lu – all kinds of treats and warm milk and lots of fussing for days!”
“Mew-Um. I don’t know,” I said with a little tremble in my voice.
Wednesday came and before I knew it I was on my way to snippet.