Yesterday evening was the 14th anniversary of the day I found Mona the Magnificent, in a wildlife refuge along the Yakima River in central Washington state. She was about 10 weeks old, and apparently the only survivor of a litter of kittens that had been dumped (why do people do this?). I feel almost as if she called me: I was homebound after work, the sun was just below the hills, and for some reason, stopped to take pictures of the light along the edges of the hills and outcrops. This is a painting I made from one of those photos:
Then I heard what at first I thought was a hawk- usually there are many, but they hadn't come home to roost yet-- the trees along the river were empty. As I listened, the sound got closer, and for all the world sounded like a cat.
Feeling a little foolish, I stood in the middle of the meadow and called "Here, kitty, kitty, here, kitty". The sound stopped and I figured either that the wind was playing tricks with sound, or there was a cat and it was headed for the sound of my voice. So, playing it safe, I kept calling.
A few minutes later, a tail popped up out of the grass. It took nearly ten minutes of coaxing, but I finally managed to get this beautiful, skinny, cat into my jacket, where she clung as I drove, first to the pet store, and then home.
The next day to the vet for shots and an examination. A few months later, she traveled cross-country with me to New England, and has been my companion ever since. By the time she was 6 months old, she weighed nine pounds. At one year she weighed 12 (ever been tackled by a 12 pound kitten?) and was still growing.
Her weight as an adult has fluctuated between 18 and 22 pounds, depending on time of year, and there is a lot of hair on top of that. She is truly magnificent: a Norwegian Forest Cat all the way through.
Mona in her studio observation post yesterday:
Mona the Magnificent
(Not bad-looking for an old gal, eh?)