Thursday, June 12, 2008

I don't know whether you've ever come across Paul Gallico's Thomasina. Subtitled "The Cat Who Thought She Was God," the novel was originally published in 1957. The writer (1897-1976) had several of his works adapted to film; these included The Poseidon Adventure and Love of Seven Dolls (filmed as Lili). As noted, among the film adaptations of his writing is the Disney 1964 film The Three Lives of Thomasina.

That film starred Patrick McGoohan as the vet father of a little girl (played by Karen Dotrice) who loves her cat Thomasina, who narrates the film -- and dies, only to return to life to be with the little girl. It's a children's film and it features a cat (well, actually, a bunch of male cats, each playing Thomasina and each clearly distinctive to the adult cat-lover's eye, but never mind) -- so it was a natural for 5-year-old grandson Devon (who first saw it when he was 4).

Switch the scene now to Devon's household a couple of weeks ago. Beloved kitty Dactyl was in such an advanced stage of cancer that it was time to say goodbye. Devon was told this, though he didn't seem to grasp the details (which was probably just as well), and -- after much family cuddling -- Zander had the sad job of taking Dactyl to the vet.

It was then decided that the family desperately needed cheering distractions, so Valerie, Zander, and Devon went to the Quassy Amusement Park (on Lake Quassapaug in Connecticut , founded in 1908, one of only 11 "trolley parks" still operating in this country). They had a lovely time and then headed to the multi-lane highway for the long ride home. They were driving in the outside lane, when both Valerie and Zander simultaneously (and incredibly) spotted a tiny, road-colored lump by the side of the road. "Isn't that --?"

Zander (carefully) pulled over and (carefully) got out and ran back to the lump, then carried it back to the car. Valerie, who had had no reason to bring along a cashmere sweater on a hot day, took the tiny lump and wrapped it in the seemingly useless sweater. And Devon, from the back seat, asked, "Is that my Thomasina?"

And, yes, it was. Clearly, someone had decided it'd be (shudder) merciful to throw a six-week kitten out by the side of a major highway (with a Jersey Barrier in the middle, so nothing could ever cross it safely). The fist-sized kitten was covered with ticks but otherwise OK, and all arrived home safe and sound, albeit with ensuing tick-picking ahead.

Kitten has now seen the vet, and it is clearly established that (again, as was the case in the Disney film) Thomasina is a boy kitty. And a wonderful addition to the household.


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