A note from Einstein’s “assistant”: Welcome to the new weekly column, Ask Einstein. Well, it’s not really new. I’ve really been around for a decade and a half and won a cat box full of writing awards. Like most authors I’ve used pseudonyms: Hobbes, Wally, Einstein, and Groucho. But it’s still just little ol’ me.
My readers have known me as the publishing magnate of City + Country Pets Magazine and scribe of its award-winning advice column, "Dear Hobbes," as well as AdoptAShelter.com‘s Ask Einstein. Now I’m happy to say I have a new look and a new home at Catster. Woohoo! It doesn’t get any better than this. Here goes!
I’d like to let you in on my background. I fell into this job, literally. My first Mom had me in the attic of an old building in Lewisville, Texas. It was cozy and she was a good mother. She’d never, ever go near a human. See, her mother’s mom once belonged to someone. But they moved away and must have forgotten her. Grams became a single mom and had to try to feed the kits with food she stole from trash cans.
My mom gave birth to us in the attic of a nursing school. I had a journalist’s nose from the very beginning, and I loved to explore. Mom said I was a three-week-old Admiral CatByrd. I’d wander off and poor mom would grab me and haul me back to the nest. But soon, I’d be off again being an investigative reporter and checking out a cricket or a roach.
One day, the world turned me on my head. I fell down, way down. My brothers and sisters were gone. Mom was gone. I was alone … in a tiny dark pocket between the walls. It went up forever. Mom called for me and I answered, "I’m down here. Help me." She couldn’t.
I called out for four endless days. At first I was only scared. Then I got hungry. And then my throat grew dry and I couldn’t cry any more. May is a very hot month down here in Texas. What I didn’t know was a nice lady on the other side of the wall heard me. She asked the school people to help me, but they wouldn’t. They told her I would quit crying and go home soon; the kittens trapped in the wall always did. Really? It’s scary to think these people are teaching nurses, but I digress.
The nice lady called animal control and Officer Mangum showed up. He dropped a rope loop down in the hole — cat fishing. Over and over he tried, and then the rope caught — I was saved by the claw. He pulled me all the way up the wall dangling by the tip of one toenail. (Needless to say, I don’t approve of declawing.)
Someone took me took me to a vet’s office. I was so thirsty, that when they pulled my skin, it just stayed out. They gave me fluids, and I felt much better. I was only three weeks old and I had already used up most of my nine lives.
The next day I went to live a foster family. They fed me from a bottle and did a lot of the things my first mom did, but the lady, Dusty, didn’t smell like Mom and she didn’t have enough fur. I’d sit in her lap while she wrote articles about cats for newspapers and magazines. When I was old enough, I left my foster home to live with my brand-new mom, who still also follicle-ly challenged.
I’ve learned from the nice people at animal shelters that this happens all the time. It still makes me sad to think about my homeless brothers and sisters. They’ll be just like my kitty mom — with never enough food to eat, and always afraid.
Humans like my foster mom/secretary are working to stop this cycle and maybe there won’t be any more hungry, homeless little kittens.
If you don’t tell anyone, I’ll share a little secret with you. I’m “fixed.” After my operation I was just a little sore in those more personal regions, if you know what I mean. When I came home, Dusty felt real sorry for me. Boy, did I milk my operation for sympathy. Oh, I hurt; bring me some anchovies. How ’bout some catnip for the pain?
I may have gone through the change, but I haven’t changed. While I no longer have that uncontrollable urge to mark the walls and the couch and the planter, I still fling papers all over the office floor. I don’t want to get into fights with that tough-guy Siamese down the street anymore. Even if you have a feminine walk, it’s important to get fixed, too, cuz there simply aren’t enough families for homeless kitties.
It’s a vicious cycle, but you and I are going to be a great team. So let’s get on a better cycle, and together we’ll work to help homeless kitties. At the same time, maybe I can share some of my insider information to make life better for your own kitty.
Rock on readers. I’ll see you next week.
Got a question for he who knows everything feline? Just Ask Einstein in the comments below and you might be featured in an upcoming column. (Letters don’t have to be written from the cat’s point of view.) Remember, any change in your cat’s behavior or activities could be a symptom of disease and should be investigated by your vet, even if it unfortunately involves glass tubes and cat posteriors.
About the author: Einstein’s assistant, Dusty Rainbolt ACCBC, is the vice president of the Cat Writers’ Association, editor-in-chief of AdoptAShelter.com and a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. She’s the award-winning author of eight fiction and non-fiction books including her most recent paranormal mystery, Death Under the Crescent Moon.