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Runaway Cat Leaves Broken Bond With Brother, Servant

Jeff Geissler/The Sun News

Every morning I bike through the leaf-strewn streets of North Myrtle Beach searching for her curious light­ green eyes. I hope to find her resting on a stranger's porch, sleeping under a parked car or perched in an autumn­ colored tree.

After returning from each failed trek, I look to her brother who is usually warming his lazy, gray-striped body in the sun.

"Where's Lady Brett?” I ask Ernest, my slightly pudgy feline friend. He just stares up at me with the same green eyes as his sister. 

I'm not surprised she ran away. Being independent in mind and wild at heart, she always loved exploring the world outside my apartment. There she would chase butterflies, pounce on grasshoppers or nudge crawling June bugs with her tiny nose. 

Sometimes she would exercise her prankish side by climbing a tree and tease squirrels as they stocked supplies for the winter. Every now and then she'd challenge the neighbors' dog to a fight. But having more brains than muscle, she'd quickly retreat to the bottom of my porch.

For those reasons I named her Lady Brett after the free-spirited, self-reliant woman who had a zest for life in the Ernest Hemingway novel "The Sun Also Rises." The name fit her perfectly.

More than a year ago, a friend found a pair of abandoned kittens on the side of Forestbrook Road in Socastee. She tried to persuade me to take in the two palm-sized tabbies. Being a dog lover, I was a bit apprehensive because I thought any one who loves dogs should hate cats. I always viewed cats as wimpy, boring creatures, devoid of personality. 

But I wanted a pet, and because my schedule doesn't give me the time to care for a dog, I decided to take the kittens. I was told they would practically care for themselves. 

During their first six months in my apartment, they slept, ate, played and used the litter box in tandem. But before they reached full size they began forming separate personalities that made them the characters they are today. 

Ernest meows endlessly, begs for food, rubs against my feet and sleeps at the end of my bed.

Lady never meowed, never begged, hardly showed affection and slept on the far left cushion of my ragged gray couch.

Every morning Ernest squats with his belly flopping over his back legs and stares at me until I surrender and give him a spoonful of my cereal.

Lady Brett would spend her mornings pawing at the window, hissing at rabbits and other creatures until I freed her to my front yard. 

Ernest loves to have his head scratched when I cradle him.

Lady Brett would strike me with a look of disgust when I lifted her. 

When he's finished eating, Ernest thanks me by licking his paws at the foot of my chair. 

After her dinner, Lady Brett would run past me with scarcely a glance in my direction and leap to her couch.

Their individual personalities led me to become Ernest's best friend and Lady Brett's servant. They became a constant in my life that formed a bond in my lonely apartment - which is now severed. 

I hope she is out there enjoying life in nature's endless theater of possibilities, something I would do if I had her fearlessness. 

But I hope she'll find her way home when she finishes her adventure.

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