By: Cindy Radcliffe
Elle C was a starving, terrified little waif who was rescued and brought into the hospital last December by one of our incredibly huge-hearted clients. A confirmed dog lover for all of my 48 years on this Earth, I had nevertheless developed a love and appreciation for our feline friends during my 3-year tenure as Dr. Amy Plankenhorn's exam room assistant.
However, I was still totally unprepared for the ruthless way this little calico bundle of nothing stole my heart the second I looked into her beautiful green eyes. I swear I heard angels singing - or maybe they were laughing -somehow that seems more plausible!
We got off to somewhat of a rocky start. Miss Elle had some problems of a rather "personal nature." She has specifically instructed me not to release details, as it was a fairly mortifying experience, which she has worked diligently to forget. After a few days we put all that unpleasantness behind us (sorry Elle - no pun intended) and went on with the business of becoming a family.
There were a few adjustment problems with her new canine siblings who failed to fully grasp the concept of personal space. As is often the case, the educational process was somewhat painful and involved a fair amount of unladylike spitting, slapping, and trash talking.
Finally all parties agreed to a cease-fire and a more or less amicable agreement was reached. Terms of the truce are as follows:
- Kitten is in charge.
- Any time there is a dispute, kitten is right.
- Anything kitten wants, kitten gets.
- Any questions - refer to aforementioned terms.
Elle C takes her self-appointed tasks and responsibilities very seriously, beginning with her designation of alarm kitten. She is wholly dedicated to our punctuality, making sure that we start our day on time even if it means sacrificing an errant toe in the process. She finds bloodletting to be a very effective means of rousing even the most determined sleeper.
Having awakened the household, her next task involves assisting in the bed-making process. It is with something akin to amazement that I think back to pre-kitten days when I made the bed unaided in 2 minutes flat. With Elle C's invaluable assistance, that daily chore requires a solid 17-minute commitment. Obviously I was doing a very poor job before.
This hard-working kitten is also very involved in the daily cleaning of the litter box, primarily in a supervisory capacity although she has been known to dive right in "paws first" if she sees a need.
Finally, Elle C is the designated night sentry, a position she takes very seriously, making her rounds, patrolling the perimeter and giving her report (at the top of her lungs) on a regular basis.
There is no doubt that Elle C's influence has greatly expanded my vocabulary. Now words such as crunchies, nummies, and floaties regularly find their way into my conversations, while my knowledge of 4-letter words has also increased exponentially. There's nothing like the motivation a bored kitten can provide to further develop and enhance a person's linguistic skills.
Obviously Elle C is a kitten of uncommon skill and ability, however her greatest and possibly most underappreciated talent is that of family counselor. Before she came along, we were the typical family, each of us with our own agenda, going our separate ways, indulging in petty squabbles. Elle changed all that. This little calico whirlwind blew into our lives and rather than scattering us to the 4 winds, she brought us closer together and taught us one universal truth - we must all come together as a family to survive; otherwise she'll take us out one at a time. As individuals we're just sitting ducks waiting for her to pick us off at her leisure.
While Elle C's work ethic is unparalleled, she does make time in her busy schedule for fun. Among her favorite games is "Tackle The Puppy," which she insists is enjoyed equally by all participants. Apparently, sister Kiwi's protestations to the contrary are just part of the "game."
Another of her favorite past times is a rousing game of "Woo Kitten!" which involves a sophisticated series of aerial maneuvers culminating in an exciting crash landing in a pile of bed pillows - truly a crowd favorite!
It's difficult to remember pre-Elle C days. It's said that you don't miss what you've never had and I guess that's true. However, having spent a year with this amazing, infuriating, demon-possessed little enchantress I can't possibly imagine my life without her. This tiny thief moved right in and with no apology stole all our hearts, rolled them up and batted them under the refrigerator. Aaaargh!!!