Friday, November 02, 2007

Marty's Tail

At the risk of being lumped into some stereotypical category (i.e., professors who write about their cats), I thought I'd take the opportunity to tell the tale of my female scaredy-cat Marty.

When I was teaching high school English in East Texas, I came out of the building at the end of a long day one spring to find a tiny kitten -- really, too small to be weaned -- in the front seat of my car. She was obviously sick, and her face had been damaged. One side of her face looked like it had been smashed in -- I thought that maybe someone had kicked her, or perhaps run over her with a bicycle. I stopped by a gas station on the way home, and put some water in a cup for her. She drank a bit and then just lay still, mewing quietly.

When I got her home, I put her in the middle of the bed. She didn't move. I remember that she seemed so tiny, swamped by the ocean of the huge white bedspread all around her. I really didn't think that she would live through the night, but I promised myself -- and her -- that if she did, I would take her to the vet the next day.

We named her Marty, because her eye was swollen out, reminding us of Marty Feldman.

Ten years later, she's my chubby, shy girl. It's my guess that Marty was born a barn cat, because she's deathly afraid of people, even me sometimes. She hides in the basement whenever people are over; she is not a lap cat; she prefers to be left alone most of the time. But as soon as we turn out the lights, she makes a beeline for the easy chair. Every once in a while, she works up the nerve to brush up next to my leg. But she soon thinks better of it and hides -- under the dining room table, mostly.

I found out later that one of my high school students (you know who you are, Frank!) found her in the parking lot, and thought "Hmm. Ms. Bad Ass likes animals. I think I'll just put this kitten in her car."

Well, thanks Frank. She's been a good cat for us.


Anonymous said...

I'm looking forward to your blogging every day this month. Marty is a pretty cat - I think you told us about her at the writing project. I hope everything is going great for you.

Madame M. said...

What a little sweetheart! Did you ever find out what happened to her face? She looks fine now.

Tom said...

This is less a comment on your post than a comment on your name. Please, please, please tell me that you have one of those desk plaque/nameplate thingys with Dr. Badass on it!!
I'm in school now and trying to get a social work degree. I have to have an MA to practice, but I've told everyone that *If* (and that's a big if) I ever got a doctorate since I don't need one, the only reason would be because I wanted a nameplate thingy with Dr. Badass on it AND I would make everybody call me that. It would be sooooo worth it!!

Dr. Bad Ass said...

Madame M -- no, we never found out. Her face quickly went back to normal, and now she just has a little scar tissue on her gums as a reminder of bad times.

Tom, unfortunately I have no plaque. I do, however, ask my undergrads to call me Dr. Bad Ass if they start trying to shmooze their way into getting out of class early, getting an easier assignment, etc.

idgie said...

beautiful kitty, and such a sweet story. i've heard lots of rescue stories, but not anyone who found a kitten in their car. thanks for sharing.