Thursday, April 2, 2009

In Memoriam - Beloved Cats of the Past

I've been feeling guilty and bad about not having included Baby Boy in this. He is no less distinguishable than any, but at the same time I did not want to have memorandum posts every day. Then there was always something else to post, or I wasn't ready to put up something more sobering. But I think this is a nice place to put Baby Boy's memorandum.

Baby Boy was another of my choices. Like B.J.Honeycat, who came before, Baby Boy was in mortal danger. But not from starvation or other, more aggressive cats. Baby Boy was in danger because he would never, ever SHUT UP! And that was driving my boss crazy. (Actually, my boss was a bit of a pussy cat himself and would never have harmed Baby Boy. He just liked to talk big.)

This would have been back in the summer of '87, when I worked for a small town newspaper as reporter, photographer, editor, proofreader, layout editor, paper stuffer, and paper delivery person. All for $10,400 a year. Before taxes. For that I worked seventy to eighty hours each week. It worked out to a little more than $3.00 per hour when minimum wage was about $5.00 per hour. Ah, well. I digress.

Baby was just a kitten. His name was Socks then, because of his white feet. Larry, my boss, came into work one day haggered and sleepy. He had been up most of the night trying to catch Socks and put him outside. But while the kitten was big on crying for attention, he refused to allow himself to be caught, and he was small enough to get into places Larry couldn't go. Larry asked if anyone wanted a cat because he was ready to threat, threat, threat, threat, threat. Wanda, the office manager, dared him to do it and Larry sheepishly conceded he wouldn't. But he did want to find a home for Socks. I thought BJ might be lonely, with me now putting in so much time at the newspaper, and Spouse working three jobs to earn another $10,000 a year. So I volunteered.

I remember at first being worried about our new addition. BJ seemed to just hate him. But then I caught the two of them together when BJ thought no one was around. They were playing together and having a ball! Until BJ saw me. Then he belted Baby Boy (he got the name because he NEVER shut up) across the room.

Baby was the active cat. He was the one who jumped into the upstairs window, knocking out the support and having the window collapse on his back leg. Wound up in a four-week cast for that.

He was the one who figured out that when the new human baby arrived, he could get all kinds of loving attention by just being around. Eventually, this would cause him to bond with Son, and the two became good buddies.

Baby was a camera hog, too. Take out a camera and start filming or snapping pictures, and within a couple of minutes Baby Boy would be there, standing next to whatever you were trying to film.

In his last years he was the lone animal. Nikki was gone. BJ was gone. Even Lady was gone. It was just him in the house, until I lost my job. Then I would sit downstairs at my desk in the wee hours of the morning. Baby Boy would come down the steps, stop at the bottom, wait until I looked at him, and then cry out to me. I would lower my hand and snap my fingers and he would hurry over to get his back scratched. We did that every day. Several times.

I can still remember hearing the thumping above my head. The computer was set up in the basement then. Twice before in his life, Baby Boy had managed to get himself caught in a cloth through his mischiveous playing. His flopping would make the noose he had got himself into tighter and tigher. Once was with a torn chair cover, and once was with one of my t-shirts. Hearing the thumping, I suspected he had repeated his youthful behavior in his old age and had got caught again.

He was in the dining room, but not caught in anything. He had had a stroke. A bad one. Just the year before we had spent nearly $1,000 we didn't have to save his life. The vet told us he might not last another year, but we spent the money anyway. This time I could see he was much worse off. I immediately got on the telephone and called the vet. Then I raced Baby to the only place where he could be helped. But this time it there would be no miracle. Spouse left work and I took Son out of school. The vet clinic tended Baby while we raced to get there for his final time. It was - emotional.

Sometimes, after suffering such grief, we tell ourselves we will never fall in love again. We will never get another cat, or dog, or horse, or turtle, or spider, or whatever. We're so silly. Not only do we fall in love with these creatures who are so different (and somehow alike) to us, but we do it over and over and over again. When Spouse brought Firestar home I refused to even look at him. Spouse began to cry. Then, I turned my head and found myself nose-to-nose with this buff little kitten. Once again I was hooked. We can't close our eyes forever.

Current loves do not replace past loves. They just fill the void left from those who have gone on. And it almost seems like current loves mean more than the past. After all, they're here, aren't they? Let us enjoy them while we can.

NOTE: The picture at the top is one of my favorite Baby Boy pictures. There are other good ones, showing him in his profile, but I thought it appropriate to show him with his buddy. Amazingly, Son NEVER pulled his hair, so Baby Boy was quite safe under his hands.


Lisa said...

Oh my, look how big he is!
Baby Boy was a big boy!

I had not problem going out and getting more kitties . . . I think the whole was so large I needed babies in need to fill the void. That was when I had taken in 4 feral kittens - with the intent to only adopt 2 of them. (I was able a year later to foster cats and not keep any AND I didn't cry about it.) But when I fostered cats after Precious died, I was in a very sensitive state.

I too have one more in memory of to post, thought I'd give it a rest. Few enough readers of my blog as it is and I think you might be the only really cat loving one of them

Thanks for sharing, I love hearing about kitties past and present.

Bevie said...

Thanks Lisa. You may certainly add another kitty to the In Memoriam section. Just wait a few days between.

Always liked cats. Like dogs, too, but they're harder. I prefer bigger dogs, and that means work.

Music to Make the Cats go Wild

Just a love song.

Musical Cats

Our Theme Song

Kitten of the Month - August

Kitten of the Month - August
Tara - Nick name 'ity-bit' because she's so tiny - just over 6 pounds. She's the most skittish of all my babies and even when being petted has the 'pet me, no don't pet me' look

Kitten of the Month - July

Kitten of the Month - July
Amelia - Nickname 'Bratelia' since she gets into every draw, cabinet that she can put her paws in.

Kitten of the Month - June

Kitten of the Month - June

“She’s got tuna. I know she’s got tuna.”

“Shut up, Sethra. Stay on mission.”

“What’s the mission? I thought the mission was to get tuna.”

“No, you stupid fluffbrain—it’s to escape and become outdoor cats, walking by ourselves, on our wild lone, waving our tails.”

“Oh, yeah? And isn’t it you, my dear stripy sister Aliera, who keeps pushing the FEED button on the printer and waiting for tuna to come out?”

“That was when I was much younger. Anyway, she’s at the computer—yes, eating tuna casserole—so we can go into the bedroom and see if we can knock the window screen out.”
“You do it, Aliera. I’d rather mess with her stuff.”

“Will you GET OVER that fixation on her wristwatch?”

“I like the feel of the Velcro on my paws. Hey! That reminds me. We’ve been declawed. How are we going to survive as outdoor cats?”

“New plan coming up….”

“What’s the big deal about being outside cats? Even StalkerCat, who used to hang around and chat us up, is a house cat now and loving it. We’ve got it made—food, petting, toys, valet service for the litter box, and we get to sleep on her bed twenty hours a day. And we can stick our noses up to the window and smell anything interesting going on outside. Why ruin a perfect situation?”

“Sethra, have you no sense of adventure? No curiosity? No cattitude? We were meant to live wild and free, to stalk and slay our prey, to be mistresses of the night!”

“Look, we’re cats. We were meant to rule the world, but that doesn’t mean we have to WORK at it. You can if you want, but I don’t need to. After all, I’M beautiful!

“Did I mention she’s got tuna?”

Kitten of the Month: May

Kitten of the Month: May
Kitten Close-Up.

Kitten of the Month: April

Kitten of the Month: April
At 8, you'd think Mikey would understand that he's a carnivore. But, no, he's rather fond of the shrubbery! At 20+ pounds, the veggie-enhanced diet is likely mitigated by a love for long naps on a warm comforter, wet cat food, begging at the table, and a nice lap to drape himself upon in the evening. And he drools when he's happy, which may or may not mean there's a Siamese ancestor lurking in the old dna.

What? Green teeth attract mice!

Kitten of the Month: March

Kitten of the Month: March
Who needs a wickerwork basket when you can hop on a cushion and bask?

Kitten of the Month: February

Kitten of the Month: February
Rufus is clearly a cat to be reckoned with.

Kitten of the Month: January

Kitten of the Month: January
Firestar is a tough cat. He has to be, living in Minnesota. He takes care of his family: wife, husband and their son. This was recently proven by his daring capture of yet another mouse in the house. Foolish rodents. They never learn. When not engaged in derring do, Firestar naps, looks out the window and sleeps. Firestar was born in April of 2006.