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"Other Colors"
by Orhan Pamuk

by Nathaniel Philbrick

February 27, 2009

All creatures great and small

I took Ms. Callie in to the vetís office today for her regular yearly check. They took her into the recesses of the office and she had blood drawn and nails clipped and some other unspeakable things done. She is a very healthy cat although they warned me that she is now considered a senior citizen cat and we might start to look for some signs of old age. Her ears are good, no fleas, eyes bright, teeth great and other than some fatty cysts, she is in good condition. Oh yes, and there was the acne on her chin Ė say what? Acne on her chin? I am to look for it several times a week and clean it with a gauze pad moistened with peroxide. I didnít even know that cats got acne!! The vet forgot to give her the shots she gets every three years and when that last indignity was performed, Ms Callie hissed at her. The vet jumped back because evidently she has been bitten or scratched before. Ms Callie didnít have to be coaxed into her carrier to leave the office.

As I was waiting to get some papers, I noticed two fellows in the waiting room It looked as though they had just come from the motorcycle rally in Sturgis South Dakota. I mean, they looked tough and I wouldnít have presumed to mess with them. But then I noticed that each of them was carrying a cat carrier, and they were talking to each other about the trauma of losing a cat. I donít think they knew each other before. One was saying that he and his wife had lost a cat and he had vowed never to have another cat because it hurt so much to have it die and yet here he was with another cat. The other man said that he knew exactly what the first man meant. They exchanged notes on how they had loved their cats and how they had mourned the loss of their beloved pet. I loved hearing it.

I remembered the loss of our pets: Hildy, Velvet, Kirsa, Kim, Magic, Bandit. It is hard to lose a pet but the love and forgiveness of an animal is something that money canít buy Ė well actually you can, if you go to a shelter, you can buy love! When we got home, Ms Callie forgave me and snuggled on my lap and actually purred Ė something she doesnít do often. My youngest sister says that the word that describes Ms Callie is baleful. She added that when she looks at you with her half-lidded yellow or green eyes (depending on the light) the only word is baleful. When she was purring on my lap, she didnít look baleful. She probably thought that I had rescued her from those terrible people and I didnít correct her thinking.

All creatures great and small
The Lord God made them all.

Cat carrier

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