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LOWE

A new cat moved in next door, so my wife and I walked over with some homemade muffins and met our newest neighbor.

Shelby Bale greeted us at the door and made the introductions. “This is Tuesday,” he said, looking toward the floor where a rambunctious cat was wrestling a toy.

“I remember seeing Tuesday Weld in the Elvis movie, ‘Wild in the Country’, but this Tuesday doesn’t resemble her in any respect,” I remarked. “Still, I see some wildness.”

“Yes,” Shelby agreed. “He’s wild like an adolescent. I’m trying to teach him it’s okay to chew on a toy like he’s doing now, but not on my arm.” Shelby pulled up a sleeve and showed scratches on his arm.

“Why is he named Tuesday?”

“Emmy Lou Dickinson named him,” Shelby replied. “There’s a Tuesday morning group that meets at Billie Moore’s house. I got there at the same time Emmy Lou did. We were talking, and then I noticed a black tail moving in her car.”

Shelby said this cat, with the beautiful black coat, had somehow jumped into Emmy Lou’s car. He caught the cat, but knew he couldn’t leave it there. “Billie loves birds and has several in her woods,” he explained.

They tried to find someone in the neighborhood who had lost a cat. Finally, though, they took the newly named Tuesday to the local BRAWA shelter. A few days later, after the cat had been given shots and other medical attention, Shelby signed adoption papers.

Sure, it was logical to name the cat “Tuesday”—just as logical as the cat “Katrina” had been named.

When hurricane Katrina came to New Orleans, a white cat came onto the back deck at Shelby’s residence. His reaction to the first encounter with that cat had been, “Oh, no! I don’t want a pet.”

He tried to ignore the cat, and it quickly disappeared. When it returned the next day, Shelby placed a bowl of milk on the deck. It ran away. Still, it returned the next day, only to turn down the offer of milk and run away again. Then the cat returned the fourth day, and Shelby offered it a handful of dry cat food. “If you want it,” he told the cat, “you’ll have to eat out of my hand.”

The cat accepted food from Shelby’s outstretched hand, and Shelby accepted the cat into his life. He named her “Katrina”, and the wonderful white cat became a beloved companion for 11 years, before dying from cancer.

According to Shelby, the two cats have been as different as night and day. Tuesday is much more active than Katrina ever was, and Tuesday is more excited about eating.

“As wild as Tuesday gets sometimes, he will sleep in my lap for 3 hours or more.”

“What do you do for that long during the cat’s nap?”

“Oh, I may watch something on TV,” Shelby said. “Sometimes I have a book and I can read with one hand.”

I looked around his living room where there was art work aplenty on display. I noticed the cat as it kicked a ball and chased it around the floor. I wondered, “Has Tuesday broken anything in the house?”

First Shelby shook his head. Then he remembered one incident. “Well, yes. There was a big piece of pottery in a storage room.”

He began the account, “I told him I was going to work. That’s what I told Katrina when I had to be gone from the house for a while. She understood. Tuesday’s learning this, too. I told him I would be back later and then left.”

When Shelby returned, he couldn’t find Tuesday anywhere in the house—not that day, nor the next. What he did discover, though, was a turned-over basket with broken pottery. Shelby called a friend to help him hunt through the house for the cat. Finally they found Tuesday.

“Had he been feeling guilty for breaking the pottery and gone into hiding?” I asked.

Shelby shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know. It’s a mystery.”

I suspect Tuesday will become the source of future mysteries in Shelby’s house. That will be fine. He will enjoy studying and solving the cat’s intriguing behavior.

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