Not so long ago, Kevin came in from rummaging in an abandoned garage. A litter of wild kittens, along with the doting parents, had taken refuge in the back amidst all the junk that had been left behind by several different rounds of undesirables. He has me come out with him and shows me this kitten sitting out in the open and pointed at all the others scampering wildly about in a hurried and instinctual drive to reach safety. And the little ball of fur, sitting with his head straight up, looked at us and blinked. Then he meowed. I thought he would run when Kevin reached down to pick him up, but he cooperated.
I knew what was going on as soon as Kevin showed me the first kitten he had managed to corral. This was meant to silence me and my complaints about him always running around, leaving me locked up in that dungeon he liked to call home. I didn’t care if he thought I was naïve enough for it to work, but I wanted this fuzzball! It had been a while since I had a pet, so I agreed. He was a total “Gizmo” if I ever saw one. But Kevin opted for a different name.
Gizmo loved me from the beginning, but he was not so found of Kevin or his temper. He was a social kitten, loved attention, and filled his days (and mine) chasing toy mice, discovering that he liked to eat ants and spiders after he played with them, and curling up on my lap to watch TV, especially content with commercials. When he was little, he would sleep by my head. As he got bigger, and turned into a horse who still tried to act like he was a baby, he moved down by my feet and took over the end of the bed. Gizmo was a cheese and chicken fiend like no other, and whenever he heard the fridge open, he would come trotting out into the kitchen, push his way between my feet, and prop his front paws on the bottom of the fridge… and meow and the small snack drawer in the middle. Snack time?
As he got older, I learned he was very particular about his food and was not afraid to protest if he didn’t like what he had. The little drama queen used to fake like he was getting sick so I would feed him his hard and soft food mixed 50/50. He would get in between me and the cupboards, stand on his hind legs and place his front paws on the door, lean back against my legs and start hitting the back of his head against me and meowing wildly. He knew what cupboard was the loudest. Gizmo also knew when he was to gentle plucking me impatiently with his claws; if I had my robe on, he always seemed to be very careful not to stick me with his needle-like nails. If I had on pants, it was carte blanche for him to do as he pleased. He would circle like a shark and protest if I took too long.
Eventually, as Kevin became more and more violent, he would get rough with the cat. I tried to get people to take him in, because I wanted to protect him, but no one wanted a pet. And I couldn’t bear to set him loose on his own outside. So I taught him how and where to hide. There were a few places I found for him that Kevin was too big to get into without too much effort; Gizmo was safe there, and whenever I could not immediately see him, I knew where to look. He was always curious about outdoors and would sneak out from time to time, but he always came back. Once he had been outside, Gizmo became obsessed with sunbathing. That cat could lay in the window for hours, meowing back and forth with the stray cats outside.
After I finally was allowed to go back to work, I noticed my previously cooperative and laid back Gizmo becoming irritable, stubborn, and at times, distant. He stopped playing so much, spent most of his days in hiding, according to Kevin, and he developed a sudden habit of having to come to the bedroom in the middle of the night to wake me every time he needed to use the litter box. This independent cat suddenly would not do the smallest of things on his own. We never had him fixed, but for the longest time, I never had a problem with him spraying or so much as having an accident on the floor, ever. Kevin began to call me at work complaining about him spraying the apartment one morning.
Something was going on between him and my cat. Gizmo would outright ignore when Kevin called him, and Kevin would be infuriated as a result that the cat would saunter over to me and plop down on my lap. Gizmo started to sneak out more and more, and he also began to protest at being closed up in a room for even the shortest times. I began to call home randomly during the day to check on Gizmo. Most of the time I was told he was hiding somewhere but I never really knew for sure.
On my days off, I began to watch Gizmo around the house. He would get in the window and stay there for hours on end eagerly watching everything outside. When the breeze picked up, he would tilt his head to the side and watch the leaves fluttering in the sunlight. The strange thing is, when Kevin was not around, I would catch myself doing the same thing. Always being trapped in that box for days on end was wearing thin, and I sit for hours and watch outside the window wishing that I was out there.. with the breeze waving through my hair and the sun on my face… free of the emptiness, fear, suffering, loneliness, hurt, dread, chaos.
I realized the other day just exactly how much time I spend outside the house now that I have escaped Kevin’s grasp. With that glorious, glittering orb bathing me in light… And it made me think back to Gizmo sun-bathing in the window, and I missed him again. I never knew what happened to him; supposedly he escaped one final time. If that is the case, I hope he enjoyed getting his freedom, but I worry about something else. We moved without me ever knowing where he got off to. I pray the former is not the case, and I hope if something happened to him, he went quickly.