Friday, March 18, 2011

A cat lover's story

a cat lover's story

by Manfried Starhemberg
The ubiquitous "They" say that there are "cat people" and there are "dog people." I happen to be a "cat people," as is thankfully my wife, though she strayed from the path a couple of decades ago by devoting her attention to a brute named Brutus, a beautiful but indifferently dispositioned German Shephard. When I was a kid back home in Austria we had Spaniels and I loved them, but eventually the chore of dog ownership became too much of a burden and I started my life long association with cats.
Some people will tell you cats show no affection. Incorrect. Just last night our little male 6 month old Feisty slept between us contentedly purring away, while the 15 year old female Filmore kept my feet warm and 11 month old Marko and 8 year old Tigger shared the top of the dresser, cuddled up in not-yet-put-away sweaters.
Even now as I am pecking away on my keyboard, Marko is curled up on my lap and Feisty is preening himself on top of the printer, while Filmore and Tigger are on the kitchen counter supervising Nancy as she does the laundry.
When we moved to Montreal in 1993 we acquired two pretty black male kittens, Nigel and Cedric. Just as we had opened our first bicycle store, we found a young female cat which had her tail cut off by some inhuman creep. Our vet got her straightened out and with the assistance of another one of our young males, Tommy, we became the proud owners of Filmore, the surviving cat of Spokes's first litter. Spokes lived in the bike shop (hence the name "Spokes") until she had Filmore, after which we brought her home. Another litter sired by Tommy gave us 5 beautiful cats, three of which we gave to friends; two of them, Smudgy and Spotsy (along with Filmore, Spokes, and Tommy) were transplanted to Sutton in 2000. Spokes died a few years ago and rests in our backyard, Spotsy was put down this February because he had renal problems, and one month later his brother Smudgy died of a heart attack, still desperately looking for his twin. They had been inseparable for 13 years.
A visit to the Animalerie in Cowansville got us Marko and Polo. We lost Polo when she raced across the street in front of a truck, leaving Marko inconsolable. He would not eat. A friend of ours just had a litter and we got Feisty as a just-weaned baby. Now Marko and Feisty are an item. If one is outside and the other in, a great howling and gnashing of teeth ensues until we reunite them.
Tigger was about a year old when someone left him at the doorstep of the Abercorn Bakery where I worked at the time, knowing that owner George Dmtruk had been known to find homes for left over kittens. Well, Tiggy, as we call him, has been with us since 2004, and contributed greatly in changing the color scheme of Sutton cats from grey to orange until we took care of that.
In 2000 we also inherited the late great Missy. She was 19 years old at the time, and we took her in as a charity case. She died at 26, outliving her original vet, who had maintained all her records, by four years. In 2001 and 2002 I had a severe health scare and was pretty immobile, but every night Missy would keep my chemotherapy-bald head warm by wrapping herself around it like a Russian Cossack's cap. We miss her.
But the beauty about cats is their antics. Even old Filmore will still joyfully chase rubber balls around with the little ones, and Tiggy will gravely watch the "kids" play in the yard, never far from where he can see them. Often the older cats would growl at the little ones when we were around, but ten minutes later we'd find them cuddled up together in a big ball of fur. For them its just a big production in appreciation of the people who serve them as caterers, commode cleaners, doormen (I often feel like "Carlton the Doorman" of the Mary Tyler Moore Show), and groomers and pedicurists.
Maybe I should ask Tiggy, as the man of the house, for a raise.
The best thing is that I do not have to cruise around with a plastic bag and scooper and leave my house every morning at six because Rex wants his walkie. When its cold, my cats love to sleep in just as we do.
So get a cat, it might be the best comic relief or companion you'll ever get !


Feisty in the sinkFeisty in the tubFeisty again
Filmore below, Feisty above

 Feisty and his lawnmower below, Tigger above
Feisty and his lawnmower
 Feisty and Tigger
Tigger and co.
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