When we lived in Cle Elum, my cat Bursties had five kittens, all males. I named them after famous usurpers: Mousie Tongue (Mao Tse Tung), Alexander, Genghis Cat, Napoleon BoneyParts, and Nero.
Of the five, Nero was the only long-haired, grey, Persian mix-looking one. The others were black or black and white.
Nero grew into a magnificent-looking, miniature lion, complete with mane. He became Mom’s favorite. He seemed to be a “special needs” cat, not the brightest tool in the shed. But he had a lovely temperament, and so he became our “pillow pal”—the cat most likely to claim half (or more) of your pillow at night.
One afternoon just as I was getting off the school bus and approaching the garage, Mom drove in and started to drive the car into the garage. Suddenly, out of nowhere, hell bent for leather, Nero shot out from beside the garage and ran into the garage. I saw with my own eyes that the back left tire of the car rolled right across Nero’s midsection, rolling him as it went. I was aghast.
“Mom!” I yelled as she got out of the car. “You just ran over Nero!”
She said, “How did I do that?”
I said, “He ran around the corner and under your back tire just as you came in.”
“Oh, my God.”
“It wasn’t your fault…”
Nero lay deathly still. We picked him up carefully and carried him into the house, where we wrapped him in a soft blanket and put him in a large wicker clothes basket. He was still alive, but he was quiet and very still.
I told Mom, “He’s not going to live. I saw him go right underneath the tire. There is no way he is going to survive this.”
Mom was upset. “Well, we’ll just do the best we can for him, then.”
About an hour later, my little sister entered the living room with bad news: “Nero’s dead. I just checked. He’s stiff.”
Dreading it, I went onto the laundry room to confirm the matter myself. Nero’s head was up. He was looking around.
“Jackie!” I yelled.
“Come in here.”
She came in and looked at Nero. “Kris, I swear to God, he was dead. He was stiff as a board. I poked and prodded.”
I said, “Well, I think you must have resuscitated him, then, because he sure isn’t dead now!”
Over the next few days, Nero bounced back, began to purr, and suffered not one broken bone. He got himself out of the laundry basket and carried on.
No one can explain it. I saw what I saw. There is no way he should have survived what happened to him, and Jackie swears he was dead.
They say a cat has nine lives. I can confirm that our cat, Nero, had at least two.