The dead cat incident
I was making soup one morning during a bad snowstorm when Daughter #3 came screaming into the house, in the nerve-shattering way that only she can do, "Tiny’s dead! Tiny’s dead!”
Tiny was a ridiculously small kitten that my kids had found in the barn few weeks earlier. It was way too young to be left alone, so they’d been feeding it daily and falling madly in love with it. And I'd been reminding them, daily, that we were not letting another cat into the house.
So there was Daughter #3, standing in the middle of the kitchen, holding Tiny. He was dangling over her hand like overcooked spaghetti, eyes glazed, mouth open, no pulse, no breathing, no reflexes. And icy cold. Yep, dead.
A couple of my kids started blubbering, as they tried to figure out how to bury Tiny (with or without a towel appeared to be the biggest concern). I didn’t want to dig a hole in the middle of a snowstorm, so I pointed out that animals, like people, are not pronounced dead until they are warm and dead. I wrapped Tiny in a tea towel and set him near the soup pot.
About 20 minutes later, I noticed that his face was twitching. He was alive!
No, he was not alive. Turns out I’d set him too close to the gas stove. His whiskers were on fire—burning like tiny candles. I quickly blew him out.
I had to get to work, so I took him down the hall to my office and set him on a heating pad on my desk. He lay there, totally dead, for another three hours. When I turned to the bookshelf for a minute, I heard a loud clatter. Tiny had somehow flipped out of the basket and was now sprawled across my keyboard (completely limp, no heart beat, no breathing, no reflexes...I kid you not—dead).
I put him back on the heating pad and kept working. One hour later, Tiny suddenly sat up, looked at me and started purring. Yep, as if he’d never been dead.
Tiny was quickly renamed Pom Pom by my kids, in honor of the pom pom-like clumps of burned hair where his whiskers used to be. Pom Pom spent the rest of the day turning on the charm. He ate cat food, ballooned out like a pregnant walrus, showed off his considerable pooping skills—on my desk—and purred loudly. He also tried to convince our other cats that he would make a wonderful addition to our home. They were not happy—in their opinion, dead kittens should bloody well stay dead.
Pom Pom was too small to go back in the barn—and we’d already reached our Crazy Cat Lady quota for indoor cats. So I called the Humane Society to see if they could find him a good home. They showed up in less than an hour, raving about how quickly Pom Pom would be adopted since he (a) was adorable (b) purred nonstop (c) was no longer dead. My kids were traumatized. I’m hoping there are no more kittens in the barn.
Brenda has written over 4,000 articles as a freelance journalist (primarily for Woman’s World and First for Women magazines). She’s also published five books for kids (you can find them here). You can follow Brenda on her blog, and you’ll find her on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads. She also has LinkedIn and Pinterest accounts, but has no idea what to do with those.