The life of Kai

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Kym Seabolt's kitten Kai

It is said there are cat people and dog people. Fortunately for us, our family is both.

When we lost our beloved cat Kandalle after 16 years, we were all bereft. Kandalle was a big personality.

Sociable and loving, self-sufficient, an excellent mouser and he came when he was called.

When it was time to let him go, we all felt sure we would never love another cat again. No mere mortal feline could replace Kandalle.

Something missing

That steely resolve lasted a week. As it turns out, once you have grown used to having a cat in residence, it’s hard to quit that life.

Who is going to wrap themselves around your ankles? Are you supposed to just trip yourself? What is a life without a purring cat curled up behind you on the sofa? Who is going to push open every closed bathroom door?

Even with four humans and two spoiled dogs, the house felt empty. Still, we didn’t go looking for a cat. We just left ourselves open to the possibility should the Lord send us one.

Well, the Lord may work in mysterious ways, but apparently, He also has a lot of cats to place. He works fast.

Love

Our newest and tiniest family member arrived within a week. When I first met him, he was almost impossible to see. A tiny nugget of grey fluff wrapped in a kitchen towel, he weighed slightly more than a can of soda and was pretty much all mouth and ears.

As the story goes, he was plucked from the ceiling of a storage shed at a community baseball field. He was a foundling stray with no mama cat in sight.

A friend, knowing that GirlWonder was missing Kandalle dearly, plucked him up and brought him home to surprise us. I wasn’t there for the meeting, but I’m told our Girl broke down in tears when she saw him. She fell in love before she ever sent us his photo.

We opened the text and fell in love too. He was so tiny. So precious. So at home. She asked if we could keep him, but it was really never a question.

She named him Kai. She says it sounds regal and fun. I said he sounds like a frat boy out to party. In both cases it suits him.

A large cat

Kai is a stray so we don’t know his DNA. Based on his tufted ears and enormous feet, Maine Coon has been mentioned. This suspicion has solidified as he grows at a rapid rate. Think Clifford the Big Red Dog of the feline world.

Some days we leave in the morning and come home in the afternoon convinced he’s gained at least 3 inches and a half-pound.

Maine Coons are big-boned and muscular, with males weighing up to 18 pounds. If all goes well, he will eventually be bigger than our largest dog.

While we once tucked him away in GirlWonder’s bedroom to keep him safe from the dogs, we now feel like the roles have reversed. We should probably protect the dogs from him. He’s prone to leaping from around corners and under beds.

The larger of our two dogs, a 16-pound terrier mix, is so nervous these days. She considers it a personal betrayal that Kai has breached our bedroom defenses and sleeps with us. He doesn’t touch her at all during the night but no matter, she simply knows he is there.

Jackson, a nine-pound Shih Tzu, is like Switzerland. He alternately gets along with or is annoyed by everyone (except me. He and I love each other madly). We get each other.

Jackson seems to like Kai, but is also perplexed by him. Probably because Kai is a little taller every single day.

Hunting skills

Maine Coons are known as hearty working cats with excellent hunting skills. We live in a 120-year-old house in the country. I can almost hear the mice gearing up for their autumnal pilgrimage. Excellent hunting skills are called for here in order to send a clear message. I hope Kai is up to the challenge.

Kai has folded into our lives and into our hearts. His hobbies include watching Netflix, bunnies out the windows and the radiator in our kitchen for some odd reason. We don’t ask too many questions. Every one of us has a quirk.

As it is, Kai is gorgeous — our cat has better contouring and highlights than I could ever dream of. He is also chatty, demanding, athletic and opinionated. So obviously, he’s a Seabolt.

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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.

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