I checked my calendar and discovered that Solomon and I met two years ago today, on January 15th, 2016. I had been living in Missoula for a few months and really wanted a cat. I had seen the posting on CraigsList and arranged to go meet him.
I walked into a small house with a band practice area set up in the middle of the living/ dining area. Otherwise, it was mostly vacant. The owners had taken their favorite cat and left Solomon alone in an empty house, except when they visited him once a day, and, evidently for band practice. He was a nervous wreck. He had pulled his hair out in a large area at the base of his tail and seemed desperate to connect with me. We immediately made a deal – I handed her the $30 she’d requested – he was loaded in my Volvo and we were gone. I had recognized him immediately as the CatSoul of a magnificent being that had already been in my life on three earlier occasions.
When I was 4 or 5, I had a cat named Range Rider. He was a long-haired fluffy thing, and would sleep with me whenever I could sneak him into the house. He even tolerated kitty tea parties while wearing one of my doll’s bonnets. One summer morning, the next door neighbor, Mrs. Mayberry, rang our doorbell. I dashed to the door and swung it open to find her holding something wrapped in her soft, pink sweater. Range Rider’s tail was dangling down. I thought she wanted to play with him, but then I saw the blood seeping through the sweater. She walked away from the door and gently laid his body on the front porch. She told me that Johnny Laur’s dog, Rusty had attacked Range Rider in her front yard as she watched. She was sobbing and I started to cry, not understanding that the cat was dead, thinking he was only hurt. His body stayed on the porch until my father came home that night. I had sat vigil throughout that day, refusing to eat or leave the body. We dug a hole on the side of the house to bury him. I refused to go to bed that night, and was spanked for that. After everyone else was asleep, I took a blanket and my pillow and camped by the front door, crying for Range Rider to come back.
In 1972 he did return. I answered an ad in the paper for a free cat. When I talked to the woman on the phone she told me they had a new baby, and the cat was jealous and acting out. He was about a year old and she loved him dearly, but, of course, the baby took priority. I went to her address and walked in to see a solid black, leopard-like cat, jumping from one high point to the next around the living room. He never took his eyes off me and seemed eager to leave. His name was Moses and he was with me for many years. He went down with kidney and bladder disease in 1983. Although he was declawed (which was a recurring theme in this CatSoul) he was a mighty hunter. He preferred ground dwelling prey to birds and routinely lined the front porch with his trophies. He was especially fond of squirrels. I have no idea how he caught them without claws, as I never saw a kill.
In 1991 I was living with the man soon to become my second husband, Bart. We visited the Humane Society to pick out a cat together. A mostly black cat put on a performance for us. He vigorously rubbed the bars of his cage, slide down and wound up gazing at us from an upside down position, showing his belly. We brought him home and named him Alobar, after the hero in Tom Robbins book, Jitterbug Perfume (My all-time favorite novel). He was the cat that went to Washington DC with us, stayed with me when we split and became a Boulder Colorado cat. When I accidently moved back to Texas in 2003, we lived on 20 acres of land near Rosanky. On Easter morning of 2005 he went outside at his usual 6ish AM. He never came back. I was told by our pet psychic in Boulder that he had obtained a new position. He was assisting wild animal souls out of their bodies at death. I guess he learned this trade from me.
So from ’05 to ’16 there were other cats, but not my familiar. And then Solomon. And then he’s gone again. The recurring theme seems to be that these cats needed rescuing, and I found them. I just wasn’t able to rescue Range Rider. But really, with the frame of reincarnation, nobody needs rescuing. We are coming back for more love, over and over.
To be continued…