By SKEETER TOWER
Special to the OBSERVER
It was the bright, multi-tiered cage filled with tunnels and toys that first brought my attention to the porch on Fourth Street. I stopped to see what kind of creature might be inside. Carol Dloniak quickly responded to my inquiry.
Kiki the cat and the children who adore him.
"Ferrets," she said.
The last of several longtime family pets had died of old age and the cage was on its way out. Carol was obviously both saddened by the loss and relieved of the responsibility for their care. Her children were grown and off on their own, leaving her to tend to their furry, four-legged family members. She had been attached to them as well but gladly turned down her son's offer to replace the ferrets.
So now she was warmly appreciating the responsibility for pet care her son, Anthony, had recently assumed. He'd found a scrawny, flea-infested, abandoned gray kitten and had taken it to the vet for shots and flea treatment. His three young children were thrilled when he allowed them to keep the little fur ball for a pet. They chose the name KiKi when the two-year-old couldn't get a full handle on the word kitten. (Much more appropriate than "Fred" or "Chris" which were the older children's name offerings, admitted the grandmother). KiKi settled into his new surroundings coming and going freely in the house and yard.
And then, as sometimes happens in their neck of the woods by the lake, a hawk swooped down and snatched a live morsel from the ground. His choice of prey was the lively little newcomer to the neighborhood. The alarm went out to find the kitten but he could not be found in the yard.
Other hawks were circling in the air which helped Anthony suspect trouble and go out looking for his new pet. They found KiKi with wounds from the sharp talons on either side, but the new kitten miraculously was still alive in spite of the aborted flight. Back to the vet they rushed where KiKi was patched up but given only slight hope for survival along with a whopping $400 bill. They speculated that the hawk found the flea treatment objectionable and dropped its prey.
Lo and behold, KiKi perked up in a few days and began to play and explore. He even headed for the back door, but at the threshold looked up into the sky and changed his mind. Smart cat. Lucky cat. Very special cat owners.
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