David Knopf: An angel’s voice soothes a timeshare cat

04/15/2014 12:00 AM

04/15/2014 11:34 PM

I might be giving Allison Krauss too much credit — or not enough.

She’s a singer with an angelic voice, my favorite.

And Petey is a little white and black stray cat who, in one of the more unorthodox adoptions in the annals of pet rescue, last week was neutered, vaccinated and checked over.

He got a clean bill of health, although if it hadn’t been for the angelic Krauss my ears and nerves themselves might’ve needed medical attention.

Before we get to the story, some background’s in order.

First, Petey wasn’t “rescued” in the true sense of the word. He wasn’t clinging to a window ledge nor was he adrift in a swollen river.

But he was a stray, born into an uncertain life and getting by on wits and charm, with which he was amply endowed.

Maybe a year old, he was a survivor who made the neighborhood rounds enough to be fed regularly at two homes, sleep in a dog house at a third and go nose to nose — with no cat-dog standoff — with a Great Pyrenees mix at a fourth.

Petey has two names, maybe more. He’s Freckles at one neighbor’s and, for all I know, Sinbad at another’s.

The way he works the neighborhood, you could call him Jerry Seinfeld when dinner’s ready and his timing would be impeccable.

Now for the unorthodox adoption. No one really “owns” Petey, as in a piece of chattel. Our adoption co-benefactor was a neighbor who offered to share the vet cost. So our arrangement was more of a timeshare.

We all enjoy Petey-Freckles (yes, even cats have hyphenated names these days) so we share his upkeep. I’ve got his rabies tag and thought about getting him a collar, but wouldn’t that be a symbolic claim of ownership?

Petey would either need two collars or one approved unanimously at a Petey-Freckles board meeting, and that’s too cumbersome.

“We don’t need no stinkin’ collars,” is what he’d say.

So P-F wanders collarless, worm-free, inoculated and with his masculinity compromised for the greater good. We already have 2 1/2 cats — Petey and two sole-proprietorship rescues — so kittens are a no-no.

Now for the Allison Krauss/angelic voice, the dénouement.

I took Petey to a vet near where I work. It’s a 37-mile jaunt each way, but so much longer with a distressed, yowling cat as passenger.

As far as I know, P-F had never been in a carrier or a car before, so a little yowling was expected.

I know real yowling when I hear it. I once picked up 13 neighborhood street cats who’d been rounded up in an animal-control sweep, and even with windows down and radio blasting, there was no escaping the distress of a baker’s dozen.

P-F is just one cat, but even at about 10 pounds he has a set of lungs on him. The crying continued for maybe five minutes, until a steel guitar-drenched Vince Gill CD I popped in sedated him.

Pietro was much worse on the way home. Having been subjected to a veterinary overnight and invasive medical care, he was in no mood for road trippin’.

At maybe twice the volume and double the duration of his going-there yowls, Timeshare Petey let me know he didn’t like the music I had on. “Soothe me with sweetness,” his distress signals instructed.

Thankfully, I had an Allison Krauss CD nearby. Petey’s lived a relatively short, hard life, but he’s been around the block enough to know an angel when he hears one.

And where angels chime in, distress fears to tread.


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