Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Beware Flying Embers

As readers of my blog are aware, I am a new "mom" to a rescue kitty who was severely burned by a Baltimore juvenile last year. I named my new charge "Ember" and have had the year-old kitty almost two weeks now. Ember has been slowly acclimating to life with my two current feline occupants, timidly venturing forth from her room to explore the upstairs of my home, a little at a time, and retreating back to her room for security whenever she encounters my gigantic 9-year-old Sumo-wrestler, Underfoot, or my demure 3-year-old ninja kitty, Lightfoot ("Elfie" for short). Then yesterday, the dynamics of their evolving relationship suddenly shifted, and little Ember started to assert herself – boldly!

Since yesterday afternoon, Ember has been scrambling up and down my stairs, exploring every room in the house at length, even my basement, and growling and hissing whenever she passes by one of my two, just for good measure. They give her a wide berth, fortunately, and then look at me as if to ask what on earth I was thinking to bring such an inhospitable personality into our loving, and heretofore peaceful, household.

A few minutes ago, I heard Underfoot "talking" to Ember on the stairs, a lyrical, friendly trill that he uses when he is playing with Elfie. I got up from the desk in my office to see what delightful interaction was taking place. As I rounded the corner from my office to the entry hall, I saw Underfoot sitting on the stairs about halfway to my upper floor. Ember was not in sight. Believing she had gone upstairs to the security of her room, I started to ascend the staircase.

Suddenly I heard a scrambling of nails on wood, like someone running on the bare floors upstairs. I looked up just in time to see Ember, who had apparently squeezed between the balusters at the top of my curved staircase, slip and then fall from the very top of the stairs, landing with a "thud" on the hardwood floor in the living room below. My heart stopped. This is a kitty who has a raw burn wound on her back. It still oozes and itches. I was terrified that she had been knocked unconscious, or had broken something. Or worse. She appeared to have landed on her side. Broken ribs crossed my mind...
Little Ember got up immediately and walked away from me into the dining room. I followed her, softly talking to her, and when she came to me, I picked her up, ever so gently. She didn’t wince or squirm at my touch, so I palpated her slowly, all over. Everything seemed to be fine. I took her up to her room and set her gently in her cat bed on the window sill. She stayed there.

When I checked on her a few minutes later, she was no longer in her bed, and when I called to her, Ember came to me from another room, chattering in her quirky, endearing vernacular as if nothing was the matter. Surely she must be a bit sore, as it was a fall of a good ten feet onto a rock-hard surface.

An hour has now passed and, fortunately, Ember seems none the worse for wear, although I may have nightmares for awhile as I replay in my mind the image of that little black kitty, legs and tail all asplay, hurtling through mid-air right in front of me.

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