Few things upset Sparkle. She had no quarrel whenever the mailman placed the mail in the box. Sparkle remained staunchly in place whenever the doorbell rang; retreat was not part of her vernacular. Calico Cat down the block would stroll up the steps to our front porch and wait for a reaction. The minute Sparkle caught a whiff of Calico Cat, Sparkle would hurl herself headfirst through the mini-blinds. Snarling, hissing, back arched, nose hot pink with fury, Sparkle vented her wrath toward Calico Cat for daring to venture into Sparkle Territory. Never mind that Sparkle lived the life of Club Med Cat as an indoor cat; her territory extended to the porch and yard as well. Sparkle was adamant that we not interfere in feline territorial disputes. Frankly, we were too terrified of her to intervene. The irony was that Sparkle was the sweetest, gentlest cat imaginable ninety-nine percent of the time.
A bona fide homebody, Sparkle despised her annual trip to the veterinarian. Even though our veterinarian took only feline patients, Sparkle wanted no part of her. Anjelica always took care to place a clean fluffy towel in the bottom of Sparkle’s cat carrier. They rode together in the back seat of our car to soothe Sparkle’s anxiety.
“Mama, please play classical music on the radio. Sparkle likes Chopin.”
No matter how gently Anjelica attempted to placate her, it was to no avail. Once we arrived at the veterinarian’s, the situation deteriorated rapidly. Once Sparkle nipped the doctor. While lashing out at the vet another time, Sparkle bit her own tongue and bled profusely. Another vet visit resulted in Sparkle urinating all over an assistant who was trying to weigh her.
After a particularly ill-fated visit the previous spring, the veterinarian placed a note in Sparkle’s file: Henceforth Sparkle would be sedated. Whenever I called to schedule an appointment, I felt certain the office staff drew lots to see whose fate it was to handle Sparkle. Gingerly an assistant carried a spitting, snarling Sparkle back to the examination room. By this time, we had grown accustomed to hearing cat screeching on the car ride to and from the vet’s and throughout the exam. However, this time Sparkle was positively operatic in her high-pitched yowling. Finally, the bedraggled assistant appeared: Sparkle was wrapped in a bath towels [not ours] from which ominous growling was emanating. Handing me a wild-eyed Sparkle, the exhausted woman said:
“Sparkle is very angry. She broke loose from my grasp and jumped from the examination table on to the sink table. Unfortunately, the sink was half-full of water. You might want to keep the bath towel around her. Just bring it back when you get a chance.”
And with that, the vet assistant turned on her heel and fled behind closed doors.
We peered down at Sparkle. The pupils of her eyes were black. Rage caused her to breathe heavily and rapidly. Her wet fur looked like mousse had been applied.
Somehow we managed to get Sparkle home. She would have nothing to do with me until bedtime, but she happily snuggled up with Anjelica for bedtime stories. Clearly she held me responsible for the entire disastrous experience. She did sleep hard that night.
Sparkle was the most vocal cat I had ever had, yet her vocal timbre was less than sonorous; it was downright shrill. Each morning as soon as I set foot in the bathroom, Sparkle would charge down the stairs and leap up on the vanity. As I was taking care of my personal needs, Sparkle would look me squarely in the eye in my compromised state and utter,
“Aaaaeeeeiiiioooouuuu! Aaaaeeeeiiiioooouuuu!” at an ear shattering pitch. Translation: Get my Fancy Feast breakfast on the double!
To divert her attention momentarily, I would turn on the cold water at a slow stream. Sparkle’s penchant for water from this tap only was then indulged. She had us all well-trained.
Ciao for now.