Cats I Have Loved
I've had pets all my life, both cats and dogs, with a stray fish, hamster, or other critter. It's been a long time since I've had a dog, after my favorite Lily, a Wiemaraner died about twenty years ago. Since then, it's been all cats.
These days, we have only two, both black, but that is their only resemblance. Jinx came with her brother Jester about six years ago, but Jester couldn't stay out of trouble. One night he violated curfew and a raccoon got him. Jinx had a hard time without him. For about two months, both she and the old cat Shadow, who hated Jester as far as we could see, would go out daily and sit on the stone we put over Jester's grave.
Jinx came into her own after awhile, and as you can see above will do anything cutesy for attention. At night she often curls up under my arm to sleep and sometimes I find her beneath the blanket with me. She loves high places, like most cats, but oddly will actually come down when I tell her to. She's odd that way. The only cat I've ever had who will obey. Well, sometimes.
Shadow, on the other hand, is Jinx's complete opposite. She's short and stubby, with a tail half as long as it ought to be, with an overshot lower jaw and big saggy belly. She was a dumpster cat, so we can only guess at her age, but she has to be at least seventeen. She's a hard one to get to know because she's so ornery. No one picks her up. Ever. I have no decent pictures of her because she knows what that flashy thing is and all of a sudden, despite her advanced age, is gone. She has probably the biggest vocabulary I've ever heard in a cat, with a meow that sounds like she's being murdered, and she runs from every other cat, even tiny kittens. Poor thing, when we got Jinx and Jester, both black, they took one look at her black coat and evidently thought she was Mama. No wonder she hated them!
I went down a Memory Lane trip when I went looking for pictures of our other cats.
My husband and his co-worker found Burnout in a burnout (carbonizing) oven. A starving, wormy and flea-ridden, almost hairless calico, she had apparently crawled into the oven through a vent pipe to get warm. They almost turned it on, but got a wierd feeling something was wrong. She was so tiny, she fit in my husband's palm. She never got bigger than six pounds.
She wasn't the brightest thing it the cat world, as you can see by her poor taste in TV programs. We always attributed the lack of intelligence to her difficult start in life, but her politics left us baffled. Generally, no one but family ever saw her. But she was very loving.
She didn't think much of our sense of humor, nd didn't care for my husband's rings at all. But she patiently endured what she considered to be ridicule until we got bored and left her alone. She wasn't as long lived as most of our cats, and died at fourteen.
Then there was Boo. When I was licensing foster homes, one of my foster parents gave us Boo. Now, here was one smart cat. She made a game of everything, including running all over the house with a ball of yarn until the yarn was completely unraveled. She got the name Boo because she'd hide around a corner, then as someone approached, she'd jump out like a tiny ghost. She thought she could turn off the TV by jumping at the screen because when she'd jump, my husband would click it off. Then one day, a very rare occasion, the TV was on but my husband wasn't around. She jumped. Nothing happened. Two more jumps and she knew she'd been had. I'm sure she found some secret way to pay him back.
When the phone rang, she'd grab the receiver cord in her teeth and yank it off the hook, then purr as she listened to some frustrated human voice saying, "Hello? Hello? You sound like a cat. Hello?"
It's not surprising. She loved people. We obviously had parties for her. Going through all the old photos, everywhere there's a baby, Boo is in the photo.
As Boo grew old, I stopped taking pictures of her, for it was so sad to see the cat that had been so rambunctious and smart deteriorate. But she would never have given up. She died in the garage where she went every day to wait for us to come home from work.
But my son did take a picture of her, which he found for me today. When I saw it, I broke out in tears. I won't show it to you. I'd like to remember the best parts, when she was young and loved the whole world.