Life with Ben: trials, tribulations… and joy

Aug 15, 2013

I’ve been missing my cat Benjamin.  I miss him a lot in the summer time. (Yes, also fall, winter and spring.)  Ben’s been in some better place for over a year now, after enjoying life to the fullest for over 15 years.  I can close my eyes and feel his golden fur, hear his noisy purr.

My cat Ben loved to garden with me.  He enjoyed sprawling directly in my way on my condo deck while I dragged bags of potting soil and boxes of bedding plants around him.  When first we moved to Edmonds, he was limber and strong—animals age in much the same way as people, and arthritis sets in.

Several years ago when Ben first stepped onto our deck and assessed the small space that was to be our yard, he presumed that the wooden railing was provided for his pleasure.  In one leap, with scant effort, he cleared the tops of several potted plants and landed on the rail.

I nearly had a heart attack, thinking he was going to pitch right over and end up on the concrete patio below.  (It seemed to me that he grinned when he looked to be sure I was watching.)

A few days later, while I was tending my flowers, Ben jumped to the rail, stretched out in the sun and rolled onto his back with his paws in the air. I gasped and grabbed him, placing him on the floor for safety.

Of course, at every opportunity, he confidently continued that practice, finally convincing me he was in no danger. One day my neighbor stood below with her arms outstretched, fairly certain she’d have to catch him.  At that moment, he righted himself, sprang over a number of flowerpots and meandered through the open bedroom door for a nap in the shade.

When I lived east of the mountains, Benjamin spent hours outdoors, especially when I was puttering in my flowerbeds.  (These days, I’d insist any cat be an indoor cat.)

One day, ironing in the bedroom next to a glass door that opened to the deck, a flash of yellow fur caught my eye as Benjamin flew past the door, a foot-long snake writhing in his mouth.  Instantly, I knew his plan. I slammed the iron down, raced down the hall, down the stairs to the garage and through the garage to the outside door—the one with the pet door in it.

I slammed the pet door down with a crash, just as Ben and the snake hit the outside of the door. Honestly, at that moment, I didn’t even consider whether Ben might have sustained a concussion.  The snake presumably was not poisonous, though Ben wouldn’t have enquired before grabbing it.

Ben’s life in Edmonds was tame, compared to the days of his youth.  He adapted to condo living, was gracious about giving up hunting and wandering.  Still, we all keep our dreams, don’t we? Ben probably kept his, too.


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