Today, October 29th is National Cat Day.
Cats are known to be particularly fond of science fiction – some of our greatest authors have been inspired by cats, have had cat muses and/or have featured cats or cat-like creatures in their fiction. So take a moment to remember our feline friends.
Here’s a shout-out to the four-footed fuzzy-faces I’ve shared my life with:
Twiggy & Jiggy, parents of Chipper
Chipper was the first cat I ever lived with; our neighbor’s Siamese seal points had a litter of 7 kittens: Chipper was the first out of the basket, the first out of the nursery room. I was ten at the time, my brother 7. Chipper quickly became the third boy in the family. He’d climb up to our tree house, play tag (he knew what it meant to be ‘it’), had well-developed meows for “out” and “eat” and “HEY!!! You are NOT paying enough attention to me!”) Among his many exploits were rescuing a baby bluejay (the parents welcomed him around their nest!) and getting shot by someone with a shotgun, from which he recovered: he lived to the ripe old age of 18.
C’mell, my second cat. C’mell (named for Cordwainer’s wonderful character) was rescued from a garbage can and gifted to me while I was living in college dorms. She could only be hidden for so long; eventually I presented her to my parents by waiting for a rainy day and then holding her up outside the kitchen window while my mother was doing dishes. C’mell became a fine companion and comfort to Chipper in his dotage, frequently giving him all-body baths, or just curling up next to him and purring.
Vicky (Queen Victoria) and Hamlet (the Great Hamface!) were adopted from St. Hubert’s Giralda in NJ (a fine, well-endowed no-kill shelter); they chose me (I got to sit in the outdoor kitten enclosure) and were with me for almost 20 years. Hamlet learned how to open “Moist Meal” pouches, so I had no hesitancy in leaving them for extended paintball weekends; the amazing thing was, Hamlet would open one pouch and both would eat, not opening another pouch until the first one was exhausted (witnessed by care givers). To this day, I’ve never lived with anyone else, human, canine or feline, longer than I co-habited with those two cats.
Pumpkin was delivered in the basement of a house I rented; Hamlet and Vicky wouldn’t tolerate him, so he went to live with my parents. Unfortunately, he had an inherited kidney disease and did not live that long – but while he did live, he was happy, comfortable and well-cared for.
Pieface and her kittens Oy, Apple, Paws & Martin I inherited with the house my wife and I purchased in Florida; we’d feed her with the racoons and several other feral cats. One day, we noticed she was pregnant. Pie was a tiny little thing, but oh so sweet and loving. She disappeared for a couple of days (delivery), but showed back up for a feed and I followed her to her lair. Four gorgeous kittens we named Oy, Apple, Paws and Martin, for various and sundry kittenish reasons. Pie had previously gotten mauled by ‘something’, but we took her to the vets and she recovered, only to get pregnant. Then the racoons came looking for a meal, so we set her up on our enclosed porch (the kittens played with Bo the puppy); Oy and Apple disappeared (mom had chewed a hole through the screen); Oy turned back up several weeks later and we managed to place him, Paws and Martin with nice homes. Sadly, Apple never returned. Pie was going to become a regular member of the indoor family but before that could happen she got hit by a car. Pie’s story is tragic, but she was a happy, friendly girl while she lived.
Ben & Jerry, two litter mates adopted by my parent’s by way of an anniversary gift from my brother. They brought great joy to my parents and were always fun to hang with when I visited.
Stimpy was my step-cat son, brought into the marriage by my wife. Stimp didn’t trust or like me at all (he was a one person – KAREN! – cat), until the day I untangled his claw from the carpet. He then decided that I was “OK”, at least enough to take food from or even sit in my lap for a while. Stimpy lived a nice, long life here in casa Davidson, and was famed for catching bats.
Sadly, none of them are with me these days and they are all greatly missed.
Bo the Wonder Dog is a great companion and friend, but he’s not a cat (“Thank goodness for that!” he says).
There’s something special about them, isn’t there?
Pictured is Oy sitting among his cat toys