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June 6, 2011
There are so many animals here today! The four cats are entertaining my daughter's two dogs for the morning, which the girl cat does by arching her back, ballooning her tail and hissing at them. The boys keep it simple: they just run away and hide.

The dog visitation is just one of many unsettling aspects of our cats' lives in recent weeks. Trunks and boxes are being hauled up from the basement and down from the attic every day. The wicker basket of blankets in the living room where Kit Carson took his siestas is gone, he knows not where. The bookcase in the bedroom, upon which a cat could perch for a little birdwatching, is also gone. None of this bodes well, in their view. The center cannot hold, they mutter to one another peevishly. Nothing is the same. One of them brings in a dead chipmunk, hoping to stabilize things a little, but it doesn't help.

They don't know the half of it, actually. What's going to happen will be a welcome liberation for one of them and the puzzling loss of a favorite pastime to the others. Briefly, it is this: Gypsy will be finding a new home -- or rather, we'll be finding her one. Since the departure of What's-Her-Name to be with Jesus, Gypsy has been the only girl cat, and the boys have made her life Hell. They cordon off the food dishes so she can't get to them, and we have to feed her on the kitchen counter if she's to get anything at all to eat. Then they keep her treed up there on the counter for hours, walking back and forth below so she doesn't dare descend. They crouch in the hallway and stare her down for hours, so that she can't get past to find a place to nap somewhere where no boy cats ever go. They wait at the bottom of the stairs when she's at the top, trapping her upstairs.

Gypsy deserves better. She's a quiet grey tiger tabby cat, a favorite of our late housekeeper, with whom she used to sit and listen to religious radio stations through drowsy summer afternoons. So she's also a Christian cat, I guess you could say, if the religious affiliation of your animal companion matters to you. She's had all her shots -- the care of all these cats has enabled the veterinarian's children to attend the very best schools-- and she has a nice, roundish, well-muscled body. Which she developed from outrunning the boy cats. She began her life in a horse barn, and has the self-sufficiency farm cats have. She won't be after you to wait on her hand and foot, like Ben and Santi, our native New Yorkers. They're always ordering in pizza or Chinese. What a pain they are. And they put it all on my card.

Somebody: Free Gypsy! Liberate her from these jerks! Don't let her live in a tiny house with them, when she already can't escape them in a three story Victorian with a large garden. You must be in New Jersey, downstate New York, Connecticut, Delaware or eastern Pennsylvania, I think -- I don't want her to have to travel a long distance to her new quiet home.

The boy cats will have to pick on each other, I guess, if Gypsy finds a new home. Or just find something else to do. I share their unease, when I consider all that lies ahead. Nothing will be the same for us, either. We still have to figure out where various large furniture pieces are going, pieces too large to look anything but absurd in the new place. We have yet to establish a reasonable timetable for all these changes. There are still too many unknowns.

But then, there always are too many. Life is composed of successive journeys to successive foreign lands, each one new to us. Nothing is ever the same as it was, not for any of us. A little mourning of that stern fact is fine, but we won't be able to receive the gifts our past wants to give us if we cannot not first let it go.

Maybe Gypsy is your new cat. If you think she might be, reply to this eMo and we'll discuss it.
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