Oscar’s (Tail) Tale
Chapter Thirty Six—Cat Years
One day, during a quiet afternoon with Grandma Brown, we got to talking. We were sitting out on the porch, and Grandma Brown was having what she called “a nice cup’o’tea”. Lolly was at school, and Bailey was twitching, grunting and snoring in her bed. Bailey had lots of dreams about chasing rabbits, and it was pretty obvious she was enjoying one of those dreams at that moment. So, then, it was just the two of us, hanging out and getting caught up on things.
“Ahhhh my fine orange boy! You’ll be having a birthday soon! Not just any birthday either—a milestone birthday it is!” Grandma Brown was giving me a good scrub behind the ears as she said this, so I have to admit, I wasn’t listening as closely as I could have been. I did catch the main bits: fine orange boy, birthday, soon, and something about stones.
Grandma started to tell me the story of how she discovered my birthday. One day, while visiting with her friend, Brown Grandma, Grandma Brown was commenting on how well I had adjusted to her home. Brown Grandma both relieved and happy to hear such news, remembered at that point that she had some “paperwork” about me. In all that “paperwork” there was recorded the day, month, and year I was born. While Brown Grandma and Grandpa loved all their pets dearly, they never really gave much consideration to things like birthdays.
Grandma Brown and Lolly were different. They loved celebrating Christmases, and birthdays. On Bailey’s birthday, they made her wear a colourful, pointy hat, and they gave her a super-sized special chewy treat. Bailey, ever passionate about food, barely noticed the silly hat, or all the many pictures they took of her. In addition to the big chewy bone, Grandma Brown also made a cake entirely out of spam and bacon. They put a candle on the cake, and since the cake smelled yummily of bacon and spam, all of Bailey’s deep sniffs were enough to blow out her candle.
Lolly, always one to enjoy a party, squealed with joy and clapped her hands at Bailey’s valiant success in blowing out her birthday candles. To add to the merriment, Bailey also showed Grandma Brown every single trick Lolly had taught her—the big finale being the rollover trick now called “show me your tummy”. Grandma Brown chuckled and clapped her hands. “Ahhh Bailey, you are such a clever girl—here now, have another piece of your birthday cake!”
As Grandma Brown told me about her plans for my birthday, I became a little concerned that I would be expected to perform tricks like Bailey did at her birthday party. Grandma Brown, having read my mind chuckled softly, “No worries Oscar—the only things we expect from you is a whole lot of purring, and maybe a cuddle or two!” Purrs and cuddles? Done and DONE! Talk about playing to an orange guy’s strengths!
The day of my birthday party was a sun-shiny, warm autumn’s day. It was the kind of day Grandma Brown called “Indian Summer”. I woke up snuggled against my girl, and instantly I got my purr on. With my purr and a gentle, clawless tap on the nose, my girl was awake. Immediately, she sang a special birthday song. Then, she picked me up and carried me into the kitchen, where Grandma Brown was waiting with a special birthday breakfast fit for a lion! There was special kitty-cream, a dollop of spam, a tiny square of peanut butter toast, and a mouse-sized dollop of rabbit-stew.
Bailey was sitting, squirmily, wagging her skinny tale. She was assured I would share with her, but she had to wait and let me have a head start. Whining and squirming, Bailey wished me a happy birthday in a way only she could, “Happy snnnnnniffff yougotspam snifffff Birthday mmmmmm peanut buttermmmm Oscar, will you share your kitty cream with me?” I tell ya, there wasn’t an orange cat on the planet as happy as I was in that moment. To answer Bailey’s question, I took two long sips from my special drink and then let Bailey have it. I also let Bailey have a taste of my rabbit stew (spam and peanut butter was very filling).
After breakfast, I was encouraged to go have a nap on the trampoline. Lolly and Grandma had to prepare for my birthday party later that evening. They told me they had a few surprises for me and that I should have a nap. They also explained that whole thing about the stones. Apparently, I was 10 human years old. Wow! They explained that 10 human years is also called a “decade”, and that it was pretty special. They also told me that I was the same age as Grandma Brown—in cat years. Apparently cats age differently than humans do, and now Grandma Brown was nearly 60 in human years, and I was nearly 60 in cat years. I am not sure why—but that made me feel terribly distinguished!