Pet Spotlight: Deborah Crombie

The Cat Who Lost Her Tail

Yasu Showing Off

Yasu Showing Off

I think I’ve just come up with a great title for a children’s book—maybe there’s a new writing adventure in store for me. Now, if I could only draw… but photos will have to suffice for now.

I think cats get short shrift. Not that I don’t write about my dogs (and my characters’ dogs) and post pictures of my dogs and think they are the most fabulous canines in the world. But a year ago this May a little cat came into our lives and stole our hearts.  We’ve had cats for many years, and last April our oldest, who was eighteen, faded away from kidney failure.  We were devastated, even though we’d long known the loss was coming. Rick said, “No more cats. One is enough.” (We’d adopted a tiny abandoned kitten, Bram, two years earlier.)

But I fudged. In my view, one cat is never enough. I started looking at cat rescue sites, but none of the cats or kittens, no matter how adorable, seemed quite right. And I had this odd feeling that our cats have always come to us; we’ve never chosen them. Then one day our daughter sent me a photo. The same vet that had taken in tiny abandoned Bram (now a honking fourteen pounds) had taken in another cat. A client of the clinic had found this little gray tabby near her office, starving and badly injured.

Yasu and Her Cropped Tail

Yasu and Her Cropped Tail

The vet thought she was about eight months old, and that her tail had been caught in a car fan belt. It had been a cold spring night and she’d probably been sleeping on an engine for warmth.  You would have thought that this little cat, hungry, in pain, and in a strange place, would have been terrified of everyone. Not a bit. She loved everyone in the clinic.

Her tail had to be amputated, leaving a little shaved stump about an inch long. She was spayed at the same time, and the clinic kept her for a month, giving her time to recover. (A big shout out here to Highlands-Eldorado Veterinary Hospital in McKinney, Texas, and the vets and staff for their time, care, and generosity.)

At the end of the month, we brought her home (having given Rick plenty of time to get used to the idea that yes, we were going to have TWO cats.) We named her Yasu, after a Bengal kitten we’d loved on YouTube videos, who lived with a German Shepherd. That had to be a good omen. The first day, we put her in the big wire dog crate so that everyone could get acquainted. We thought she might be afraid of the two big dogs. Ha. The crate lasted less than twenty-four hours. Since then, Yasu has ruled her house—two humans, two German Shepherds, and the other cat—with a firm paw.

Yasu Cuddling with Her Favorite Dog

Yasu Cuddling with Her Favorite Dog

People who don’t live with cats think they are all the same, but their personalities are as different as any people you could find. Bram is a big lug. Yasu is smart, funny, incredibly affectionate, and a terror. (Don’t even ask about our wallpaper…) Her lack of tail doesn’t seem to bother her, although she doesn’t jump with as much confidence as most cats.

The funniest thing, though, while Bram will dart out the door given any chance, Yasu never seems the least bit tempted by the outside world. She’ll sit and look when the dogs go in and out, or sit in the window. But somewhere in her little feline mind she seems to remember that Bad Things Can Happen Out There, and she’s staying where she knows she’d got it good.