Meet Lyra the Wonder Cat. This entry came in too late to be considered for the contest, but I LOVED the photo so much, I had to share it with everyone.
This'll be the last blog from the contest. Once last time: Thanks to everyone who entered!
LYRA THE WONDER CAT
Since early polls predicted that felines were going to be the most prevalent entrant in the popular “Katrina Kittle Animal Contest,” I’d decided I wouldn’t bother to enter my cat Lyra. But as I watched her swimming this afternoon, her black ears slicked back against her black head, her eyes focused intently on the shallows (where she eventually waded for over a minute before she decided she’d had enough), I figured my Little Black Cat deserved her shot at five minutes of fame.
Lyra was my 23rd birthday gift from my parents, a black kitten to keep me company while I was living alone in a different city. It was my first time away from home, and I’d been terribly lonely. But once Lyra moved into my apartment, there was always somebody there to screech at me from the top of the toilet while I showered, to steal my clean socks from my laundry basket and hide them around the apartment, or to bite at my hair to wake me when I slept too late in the morning.
I figured out pretty quickly that Lyra wasn’t your run-of-the-mill house cat. First off, she loved to ride in the car. She’d sit quietly on my lap the entire three hours up north to Mom and Dad’s, and she’d somehow know exactly when I turned onto their dirt road. Then she’d mash her face up against the window and meow until I rolled it down so she could let her head hang out, the wind blowing through her ears.
Four years later, Lyra still knows the instant we turn the car onto “Grandma and Grandpa’s” road, still presses her nose to my car window until I roll it down. She loves to kayak like she did as a kitten; she’ll crawl out to the very tip of the boat and sit with her nose lifted like an Egyptian statuette, sniffing at the bugs as they float by and compelling passing boaters to laugh and snap photos. She likes to hike at state parks, has been cross-country skiing in a front-pack I ordered for her online, loves to sit on Grandpa’s lap while he drives the pontoon boat, and yes, she swims (but that does take a little convincing, I admit). She’s walked down the beach of Lake Superior and sleeps in a tent on family camping trips. When it’s cold out, she happily wears a Christmas tree sweater that came off an old teddy bear. And Lyra isn’t afraid of dogs, especially not blond dogs that look like my parents’ golden retriever Annie.
Lyra leaves my socks scattered all over the house, it’s true. But when I cry, she’s there in an instant, meowing incessantly until I lift her up. Then she’ll lick my nose and get that same concerned look in her green eyes she has when she’s swimming. “Hey, it’s all right, Mom,” I imagine she says, her expression eager. “When’s our next big adventure?”
—Lindsy O'Brien, Duluth, Minnesota