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Some beginning Teia book thoughts...

Jul 26, 2011 - 11 comments
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Teia



She could not remember much about Mama and her siblings.

No matter how hard she tried, all that came were bits and pieces...

The damp wooden walls of the shack in which mama had taken shelter after her family had cast her out.  The hard packed dirt floor, which never seemed to be warm.  The dim light over everything from the flyspecked window set high in the front wall near the door.  The snow that infiltrated...

The slamming of doors, loud voices in the distance, vehicles speeding by outside the confines of their little world.  The wind whistling through the cracks in the walls.  The rustling of their bodies in the dry hay.

Mustiness and milk, dry hay and wet pee, mama's clean scent and a whiff of the "others."

The bitter cold when mama went looking for food, leaving them huddled in their rough bedding.  The warmth when mama returned and lay down with them.

As the days wore on, she and her sibs began to walk and explore their little world.  Endless games of hide and seek, tag and catch as catch can wrestling filled their days; with mama watching from atop her seat, or in her absence.

Then, that terrible day came when mama did not return.  The snow outside had melted; she and her sibs had grown well.  They were on their own.

The boys left first, seeing a grand new adventure.  She and her sister waited, hoping mama would return.

The hunger became too much.  They went out, leaving the world as they knew it.  They separated, each alone for the first time.

She never saw any of them again.

Going by what seemed right, she found some things to eat.  They were good, but not as good as what mama provided.  She was lonely and scared.  So many big, noisy things going by; night seemed much safer than day.

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by LindaTX, Jul 26, 2011
I love it!  You're a natural!  It all fits!

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by opus88, Jul 26, 2011
this is great Pip, an author in the making -)

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by Jade59, Jul 26, 2011
I love this, Pip!  Good job!  I am so emotional right now.  Teia, who just over 2yrs ago had a lonely, sad life, but now has two parents And siblings And a FAN club And even the first page of a BOOK being written about her!  : )

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by Piparskeggr, Jul 27, 2011
I was thinking of using a fictional account of Teia's life before  us as a foreword...started the actual biography with the day we picked her.

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by melipops, Jul 27, 2011
Hi, i think this is great. Teia is one lucky cat. to think she started from this and now has her own family. What a story. Sounds to me like a bestseller Good luck

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by aligator79, Jul 27, 2011
Thanks a lot- You made me cry. Although any sad and kitty, happy and kitty, well basically anything and kitty gets me going.  I'd love to work in a shelter or volunteer in some way but I would be an emotional wreck.  I LOVE the Chicken Soup for the Soul books that are out for the cats and pets in general, but I bawl my way through a lot of it.  It's pretty bad that I make sure that certain chapters are read right before bed so I can sleep off the headache.  What a mess.

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by Piparskeggr, Aug 07, 2011
(Being the fictionalized account, based on the few details we do have of Teia's 10 1/2 years before she came to live with us)

Part One:

She could not remember much about Mama and her siblings.

No matter how hard she tried, all that came were bits and pieces...images of the old shack in which Mama had taken shelter after her family had cast her out.  It was the place where she and her siblings were born.

The damp wooden walls and hard packed dirt floor never seemed to be warm enough.  The dim light from the flyspecked windows that was just enough for them to see by.  The snow that infiltrated the small spaces between the wall boards...

The noises heard from outside the confines of their little world: slamming doors, loud voices of the "others," strange roars rushing by ... wind whistling through the cracks in the walls, the rustling of their bodies in the dry hay.

Mustiness and milk, dry hay and wet pee, Mama's clean scent and a whiff of the "Others" when they came close by.

The sharp contrast between the bitter cold when mama went looking for food, leaving them huddled in their rough bedding and the warmth when Mama returned and lay down with them.

As the days wore on, she and her sibs began to walk and explore their little world.  Endless games of hide and seek, tag, and catch as catch can wrestling filled their days; with Mama watching from atop her seat, or in her absence.

Then, that terrible day came when Mama did not return.  The snow outside had melted; she and her sibs had grown well.  They were on their own.

The boys left first, seeing a grand new adventure.  She and her sister waited, hoping Mama would return.

The hunger became too much.  They went out, leaving the world as they knew it.  They separated, each alone for the first time.

She never saw any of them again.

Going by what seemed right; she found some things to eat.  They were good, but not as good as what Mama provided.  She was lonely and scared.  So many big, noisy things going by, night seemed much safer than day.

But night had its hazards, too.

Others of her kind lived in the area.  Most of them went about their own business, ignoring her.  A few, however, saw her as an enemy, and attacked her.  Luckily, most were too large to follow her into her hiding place; those that weren't, were too smart to follow.

It sometimes took a few days before she felt up to going out again, but hunger would always drive her forth.

She decided to try her luck in the day for the first time in a long while, waiting until the outside noises had died down.

Maybe, the others who had hurt her would be asleep still.

Behind one of the places of the Big Others, she found something that smelled very good.  It tasted very good, so she ate.

She heard a footstep, but did not run quick enough.

A male young of the Big Others had come upon her and grabbed her by the neck, like Mama did when they were young.  But this was not the gentleness she recalled; it was the meanness she'd had from others of her kind.

"Hey Frankie!" Jimmy went running from his backyard to the front of the house, dangling the young cat by the scruff of its neck.  "Look what I caught, that cat that's been getting at the finches!"

The cat slipped from his grip, lying on the sidewalk stunned by the fall.  He picked it up again, hands around its neck and shoulders.  Its forelegs were jutting out at an odd angle.

"Frankie!" receiving no answer, he addressed the cat, "Okay pest, I'm gonna hurt you, like you hurt my birds..."

Jimmy looked at the open top dumpster in the next yard, eying the distance..."Yeah, you're about football size.  Let's see if I can kick a field goal with you."

Gino came out of his house with some trash and saw that fat kid from next-door holding a cat he'd seen around the neighborhood.

"Hey, Jimmy," he yelled, "What the hell you doing to that cat!?"

Jimmy dropped the cat, which he'd been about to drop kick.

“Ah, it just a good for nothin' stray; keeps eating my birds."

"Your birds?"

"The finches that come to my feeder."

The small cat struggled to rise as Gino approached.

"You mean the ones you catch for yourself?"  He looked down at her and then backhanded Jimmy across the mouth.  A slow trickle of blood came from the boy's split lip.

"How do you like pain, fat boy?"

Jimmy started to cry, "My daddy..."

"Your daddy what!?"

Jimmy turned ashen and then ran into his house.

Gino picked up the cat, cuddling her close even as she struggled and tried to bite him.

He walked into his house.

"Okay kitty, you're scared and hurt." he caressed her head; she tried to grab his hand with her claws but her legs didn’t quite work. "Good little fighter, I like that.  We'll get you better."

He wrapped her in a thick towel, so she just surrendered to the pain and fear, passing out.

Gino wrote a note; leaving it propped up on the keyboard of his wife's computer (never used the damn thing himself).

"Wendy, caught one of the neighborhood kids molesting one of the stray cats I've been watching.  I am taking it to Doc Bennett.  He still owes me for that storm debris I hauled away.  Maybe Chesty will like another kitty in the house, give him a rest from the children."

Gino picked up the bundled cat; which seemed so small and fragile.  She rested easily on the seat beside him during the drive to the clinic.

Gino placed his bundle on the counter.  "Hiya, Mrs. Bennett, got a hurt young cat here.  One of the neighborhood kids was using her like a football."

Nancy Bennett rubbed her forehead, having heard too many stories like that lately; seems the bad economy brought out the worst in some people.

"Okay Gino," she stood, peeling back the towel a little," pretty face, girl or boy?"

"Didn't look."

Nancy slowly unwrapped the kitty, "Well, you have a girl cat, doesn't look over 6 months. Do you have a name for her?"

"A girl kitty, hmmm," Gino patted his nose, thinking, "Well she's feisty, like my great aunt Theresa, but little.  What did nonnie call auntie?"

He snapped his fingers and stabbed the air with his right index finger, "Ah, Teia, for little Theresa.  We'll call her Teia."

Nancy entered the name on the admittance sheet.  "I suppose you want Donald to look her over and get her well."

Uh, yeah, I was hoping Chesty would like another cat in the house."

"We'll keep her for a few days, get those shoulder looked at...spay her?"

"Yes."

"Declaw, like Chesty?"

"Um, no, Wendy was very unhappy about that."  Gino paused, "Could we call it even, for that yard work I did at your house after the storm?"

Nancy smiled, "I think Donald will be fine with that, so will I."

He turned to leave, knowing that Teia would receive good care.

"Oh, just call me when she's ready."

"Gino," Nancy said as he turned the knob to go. "I never knew you had a soft spot for cats."

He didn't face her, "You know I was in the Service and went to the Middle East?"

"I do know that Gino."

"Got a soft spot for any young thing that gets hurt."  He left.

The next few days were a blur.  These Big Others seemed different.  They made gentle noises and treated her nice, like Mama had.

Whatever they did, the pain in her shoulders went away, but her belly felt real funny after one time she woke up, like something was gone.  It was bare and a sore, red line ran down her middle.  But the nice things to eat made her sleepy...

"Good morning Mrs. Bennett, Teia's ready to go then?" Gino asked when the counter bell was answered.

"Yes, she is," replied Nancy, "I'll go get her for you."

Nancy came out of the back, accompanied by her husband, who had a pet carrier in his hands.  He set it on the counter.

Donald shook hands with Gino.  "She'll need at least 3 or 4 more days of quiet, spaying takes more healing than neutering."

"Okay." Gino paused, "...and the bill?"

Donald smiled, "Just like you asked Nancy, the yard work for the kitty work, and the carrier."

"How bad was she hurt, Doc?"

"She had several old scars, looks like other cats got to her at one time or another.  She didn't have any recent injuries of that sort." the vet shook his head, "Both of her shoulders were dislocated, nothing broken, though.  She is going to walk with a limp in her front legs for the rest of her life, I think.  Damn kid hurt her pretty bad."

"His daddy had a few words for me, but didn't do nothin'."  answering the question that would be next, "When I caught the kid hurting Teia, I gave him a fat lip, asked him how he liked the pain."

Donald patted his shoulder, "You're a good guy Gino, and I hope she fits in okay.  She'll heal well, I can tell she’s a fighter."

It turned out that Chesty did not want another cat in the house and picked on her when he could.  Gino and Wendy decided to try and keep the kitties separated as best they could.

Gino tried making friends, but even though he had brought her into the Safe-Place, she did not like HIS CAT and so did not like him much either.

Then there were the young Big Others, which took up a lot of his and hers time; Teia did not like them either.

Teia didn't mind so much, she had a safe place, did not need to go Out any more.  They gave her good, crunchy food, cool water and a clean box of stuff to dig in, like the dirt outside, but nicer.  They left her alone.

When the mean cat went away "To the Vet" and did not come back, life was better.

When all the People were asleep, she wandered the Place, occasionally finding a mouse or bug. She’d eat them, still not sure if this Place would be for always, keeping up the hunting skills.  If all the others were gone, she’d look out a window, watching the finches she loved so well.

Many, many moons came and went...

The young Big Others had learned to leave her alone, as did the Man.  The Woman had become the one to feed her, change her water and give her clean diggy stuff in her box; all seemed good.  The Woman took her "To the Vet," but always brought her back to the Place.

Something had changed, the People were uneasy, the Place was unsettled.  When the Young Others went out, the Big Others made harsh, angry noises at each other; the atmosphere was tense.  Teia stayed hidden even more.

One day, the Woman and another female Big Other that the Woman showed affection towards (Teia had seen her before), came into her room with the Box for To the Vet.  The Woman looked sad and the other kept making soothing noises towards her.

They put Teia in the Box and the other put her in a different Car than usual.

She never saw Her People again; it had been such a long, long time...

This ride took longer than going To the Vet, and at the end of it, new Big Others…

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by Jade59, Aug 10, 2011
I love it so far!  Of course I am crying at Teia's *hard* life...

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by LindaTX, Aug 11, 2011
I love it too, Pip!  It's so easy to visualize what you write.  Gino seemed to care for her but I guess not as much as we thought. Cats are very independent but at the same time they are dependent on us to take care of them, love them and earn their trust.  I can't wait to read the next installment!  

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by Piparskeggr, Aug 12, 2011
The care for Teia by her previous owners seemed like I wrote, after finally speaking with one of them a little.  (I performed his wedding [3rd for him, 2nd for his new wife] at the beginning of July. I'd known he was the brother of one of her women veteran friends, but not which one until that day.)

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by Piparskeggr, Dec 10, 2011
I finally copied the second version and pasted it into MS Word...am working on further words, plus trying to find the proper pictures for each stage of Teia's renewal thus far.

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