Well, i woke up in fear at 3 this morning for no reason.  Inky, it appears, has merely been making the rounds of the neighborhood.  

After hanging up numerous signs around the block and checking at the dry cleaners two doors down where The Pie has some fans that feed him a can of food everyday, standing guard at their door both greeting customers and viciously attacking passing dogs, Alison finally spotted him at a neighbor's house several doors around the corner where Inky has developed a loving relationship with someone's new puppy and is evidently a female impersonator with the name "Mama Kitty."

It's funny.  I've been eulogizing Inky since the day that he showed up at our house, lo those many years ago, and Alison and i gave him some food and water there on the back porch of Lischey entirely expecting to have to haul his dead carcass away the next day.  His eyes were glued shut with scabs and snot, his tattered ears filled with dirt and mites.  His little nose holes were plugged.  His fur was missing in a lot of locations.  He had open wounds and couldn't have weighed more than a couple of pounds as a full grown cat.  Miraculously, he didn't die that night, nor over the course of the next day when we decided to scrub off some of the dried fluids that were blocking his hearing and his sense of smell and sight.  We shot iodine from an industrial sized bottle we've always kept around onto his sores and put more food and water there for him.  Months later, with the name N.K., meaning 'Nother Kitty, The Ink had made a full recovery and moved into the house.  

A few years later i guess it was, we took N.K.--with his name at this point shortened to the more precise Inky--into the vet where they pronounced him Feline Leukemia positive.  I remember the assistant asking if we wanted to put him down right then and there.  We asked lots of questions, found that 10% of cats live full and happy lives  with F.L. and decided that, if anyone could do it, Inky could beat the odds.  I remembered our hardened vet actually tearing up a little bit and saying she was glad we'd made that decision:  Inky was the coolest cat she'd ever met.  

Inky of course also has another feature that only 10% of cats achieve:  although he's a neutered male he can still spray.  He has hosed down our entire house, believe me.  I eulogized him a couple times back then, too, but he just stuck that tongue out all cute and everything and his life, yet again, was spared.  It has helped that we give him kitty prozac and he isn't riddled with the paranoid fear that other cats are trying to bust into the house. 

Inky is well-traveled.  He has flown to Massachusetts and back and driven up there in a car with me on four different occasions.  He loved it there.  I was not so fond of my life up there with him, however:  his response to the cold was to spend as much time as possible sleeping on my head.  If i was in my chair watching television, The Pie was on my head.  Typing on the computer?  Head.  Asleep in bed?  Head.  It got to be a bit much, especially since Inky's breathing sounds like someone in an iron lung.   I found myself almost wishing back then that that Osprey really had flown away with him like it tried to do.  

One time his leg swelled up to about the size of my forearm.  His Leukemia has compromised his immune system and a small infection can turn ugly at the drop of a hat.  Sadly, he considers himself quite the fisted gloves expert, and has developed many a good infection.  This one time i waited too long to take him to the vet and his front leg was showing signs of necrosis.  He had to wear a full bandage and funnel for about two weeks. (Alison has posted a picture of this in the entry below.)  We had to change the bandage constantly and feed him loads of antibiotics and take him to the vet every other day or so so they could watch his progress.  He had so charmed them by the end of the process they barely charged us any money at all.  

Currently Inky has, as mentioned above, been spending much of his days in front of Arrow Cleaners here on Rutledge.  When he's not sleeping or napping with me, and he's not following us around the block when we go for walks or riding under Maybelle's stroller, he's eating at the cleaners.  In exchange for the daily can of Nine Lives (irony noted) the Inkstroms keeps them safe from marauding dogs.  I've seen owners with full grown large breeds make a right angle as they approach the cleaners so as to cross through busy traffic and escape Ink's wrath.  Passing school kids have magically learned his name.   He is indeed the ambassador of the sidewalk here on the westside.  And now, we find that he's living a double life!  

I sure wouldn't know what to do if he were gone.  


aaron said...


The Mom said...

Yea, Inky! And, again, Walter, I loved your entry. Several lol's along with smiles throughout. I'm so glad you found him, and that you shared more of his history (his story!) here. (Sorry for multiple exclamation points - can't seem to write without them.)


Sarah said...

Oh thank God.

Quiche said...

Inky reminds me of my favourite kitty of all times- Happy, Hapster, Hapin Dapper Doodle, a piebald too. Glad Inky is just being friendly lovable Inky and he's still alive and well. Feline Leukemia is awful. We've lost a few to it, including a baby raccoon we found. I am glad Inky has made it all these years with you and Alison. BTW, Coco, our current cat, a striped Siamese likes to sleep wrapped around my neck like a stole (akh! *choking*), and he broods if I am in another room with a door closed that he cannot open. Here's to the fur faces that we have loved and love- Cheers!

Taylor said...

My parents had this kitten show up one day in our garage. The kitten was so skinny, so they fed it and two years later, he's still there. However, he would take off for a week every month and was going who knows where. Well, my parents found out he was hanging around our neighbor's house visiting his siblings! He was part of our neighbor's litter and wandered over to my parents' house and decided to adopt them, but he still visits his family down the street every month.

So glad Inky is back!

Elizabeth said...

Funny story. I can visualize the cat on the head as ours do that in bed at night. Glad that Inky showed back up.