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The Whitehurst Diaries: The story of Teasel

The kitten stopped hissing and a very tentative small purr vibrated her thin sides. Jim, wearing leather gloves, opened the cage and brought her out--a mere scrap of cream and grey fur over fragile bones, her blue eyes wide. Our vet, seeing her two days later, judged her age at 7 or 8 weeks. I searched and kept watch for many days, half expecting to see a mom-cat or siblings, but none appeared. Teasel quickly found her place in our multi-cat household. She brushed off the larger cats who made faces at her, displaying a sense of mischief and adventure. She grew rapidly--we tell her she has 'stretched her stripes.' -SHARON WHITEHURST
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By Sharon Whitehurst

Requesting that a cat--or dog--or horse--pose nicely for photos is considerably a more difficult maneuver than bribing a small child with a lollipop.

Teasel was rather bored by this particular photo session until I sprinkled some dried [home-grown] catnip on the quilt as a bribe.


Teasel's coat pattern is a variation of tabby-point Siamese. The distinctive arrangement of stripes on tail and legs is often seen on both domestic and wild cats. All tabbies have the "M' marking on their foreheads.

I have always thought that some good angel who has the welfare of cats as a special charge must have brought Teasel to me.

How else to explain a tiny kitten sitting dazedly outside the bedroom window as the last light of an early November day receded, while a cold wind, snow-scented, was gusting down from the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming; it would be a cold night with heavy frost.

How else to explain that I left the fireside and my book at the exact moment to go to the window as the kitten turned and made her timid way into the garage?

We caught her in a hav-a-hart trap baited with a saucer of tuna. She was so light that her small body didn't trip the spring. As she made repeated ventures into the cage for food I crept nearer, talking to her in a monotone. I knew I would have only one chance to shut the trap before she would flee, terrified, into the night.

She hissed and spat when I set her on a bench in the kitchen, cage and all.

I summoned our son-in-law Matt Gould and grandson Devin from next door to see what I had captured.

Matt took a pencil, poked it through the wires of the cage and began to gently rub the eraser around the kitten's ears and jawbone, making a soft clicking sound between his teeth.

The kitten stopped hissing and a very tentative small purr vibrated her thin sides. Jim, wearing leather gloves, opened the cage and brought her out--a mere scrap of cream and grey fur over fragile bones, her blue eyes wide.Our vet, seeing her two days later, judged her age at 7 or 8 weeks.

I searched and kept watch for many days, half expecting to see a mom-cat or siblings, but none appeared.Teasel quickly found her place in our multi-cat household. She brushed off the larger cats who made faces at her, displaying a sense of mischief and adventure.

She grew rapidly--we tell her she has 'stretched her stripes.'

Teasel isn't a lap-sitter, except on rare occasions, usually when my attention is fixed on a book. She monitors each basket of produce coming in from the garden forking green beans out to fling about the room, rolling berries from a colander until they disappear under the fridge.

She makes sure that I'm up early to dish out her 'tea' waiting for me to move an unwary toe beneath the quilt--at which point she pounces vociferously, then marches up to sit on my pillow and purr encouragingly, all the stops out.Teasel is a delightful creature; she has an impressive vocabulary, a decisive personality, a great love of food. Among her interests are bird-watching [from inside the fenced cat yard] and quilting.

She is surely a gift--a treasured cat/companion--and I believe she knows that she is greatly loved. - Sharon Whitehurst


This story was posted on 2012-06-21 04:02:57
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The Whitehurst Diaries: Teasel, a gift from The Angel for Cats



2012-06-21 - Old Gradyville Road, Columbia, KY - Photo by Sharon Whitehurst.
Her launch in life in Wyoming
began as a pitiful, deserted little kitten. But after a humane but nonetheless traumatic capture - for Teasel and Sharon Whitehurst - she fell into the care of her loving family. After being fed and getting a calming pencil rub, her life changed to wonderful. Now she, with the family who serves her, are living the good life on the banks of Big Creek. "I have always thought that some good angel who has the welfare of cats as a special charge must have brought Teasel to me," Sharon Whitehurst writes in the accompanying diary entry.

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