During a visit to Andy’s Pet Shop long ago, Kendra decided Figuero kitty should come home and live with us.

Andy’s wasn’t your typical mall type pet store. It was in a stand alone building and had a great neon sign. Landing on the sign was a large red parrot flapping its blue wings, as well as several little fish swimming along the bottom.  Whenever we drove by that sign when I was a kid, it looked to me as though that parrot was showing the way and inviting us to visit. Most times, Mom must have thought the same thing because visit we did.

They had all sorts of exotic pets, and lots cats and mixed breed dogs. Mixed breed dogs were called mutts back then. Now people call them hybrid dogs and charge two week’s wages to adopt them. Yes, they do. Actually, it’s kind of genius. People won’t pay that kind of money for a mutt, but slap a name like Labracorgi on a dog, and you have a pet Midas would be proud to own. Just sayin’.

Of all the available kittens at Andy’s, Figuero was the most rambunctious. She darted around like a hungry Tasmanian devil. Are you sure, she’s the one? Kendra and Cody were sure and I thought she was cute. Steve smiled as he shook his head which meant that our family had a new addition.

She was a little black ball of energy and a cuddle bug at the same time. She was my first cat and I had a lot to learn. We bought the litter box and trimmings, cat food, toys, collar and a leash. You’re buying her a leash? Steve had an amused smile on his face. Why else would they sell them, if people couldn’t train their cats to walk on a leash? My logic was impeccable. Sometimes you just don’t know what you don’t know, if you know what I mean.

And who knew that kitty litter stinks, clumps, and might be eaten by a curious little dog only to be re-purposed on the family room couch? Who knew? Steve did and I was just winging it. Of course the kids did the same thing I did as a child, played and left the cleanup to Mom. Karma. Well deserved Karma.

Along the lines of Who Knews came one of my less smooth moves, and trust me, I continue to have a lot of them. We were outgrowing the condo and decided to buy a home on a little piece of dirt where all of us would have the room to roam, run and play.

Jack and Lady moved into our new home first.  We made the 45 minute trip down Highway 101 and introduced them to their new backyard. They were happy and it was easier to move everything else without worrying about them. We decided to take Figuero on our last trip as we thought it might be easier on her.

Back and forth we went, but when it came time to move the last of our things out of the condo, Figuero was missing. She was a teenager by then, probably confused by all the activity, and escaped through an open door.  We looked and called out for her but she didn’t respond. Eventually, we had to leave and asked our neighbors to please call us if they saw her. Our neighbor Cathy said she’d take Figuero into her home and call us if she saw her.

I made the trip back to the condo to look for her two days in a row and she finally turned up. I was so happy to see her. I didn’t have the kitty carrier so I put her in a cardboard box and placed it next to me on the front seat.

Poor Figuero lasted in the makeshift kitty carrier all of about one block. Scratch, scratch, scratch! The box came alive and rocked all over the place.  I pulled over, let her out of the box, and continued on my way to our new home. At first, Figuero seemed okay riding in the car. She was happy to be out of the cardboard box and settled down. It wasn’t until we were on Highway 101 at Morgan Hill that she decided car travel wasn’t for her. She started doing her Tasmanian Devil dance all over the car, culminating with her hiding under the brake pedal.

Crap! It was a good thing it wasn’t commute traffic because there was no way I was going to hit the brakes. I cursed myself for letting her control the situation to the point where we both could get hurt. I envisioned myself travelling clear down to LA as I couldn’t put my foot on the brake pedal. Finally, I decided to take my foot off the accelerator and coast to a stop on the side of Highway 101. I prayed that no Highway Patrol officers were witnessing my dilemma. I could see the headlines, “Slow Speed Chase on Highway 101”.  Viewers would be reminded of OJ, his Bronco, and the slowest high speed chase ever.

We coasted along the highway for what seemed like an eternity, but was probably only a few minutes. Once we slowed down to a crawl, I pulled up on the parking brake and we came to a stop. Thank God! Figuero came out and got into my lap. I held her for a minute and then put her back in the cardboard box.

Once again, the cardboard box turned into a living, breathing thing, but this time I left it alone and made my way safely down the highway to our new home. Once there, Figuero was calm and seemed to have forgotten the excitement of the past two days.

Fifteen years later, I still remember as I hope I never again let worries of being temporarily uncomfortable on the journey overshadow the destination.

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