RG the Cat Guy’s nine lives of cat tales
Today, August 8, has been designated as International Cat Day — a notion scoffed at by our current Head of the Household, who believes that this celebration falls shy of reality by some 364 days.
And, sometimes, 365.
Still, for the past 20 years, the International Fund for Animal Welfare has singled out this date to remind us to not only consider the health and well-being our feline overlords, but to cherish their presence as well.
As if our cats would let us get away with forgetting that.
With that in mind, those of us took a trip into the RGtCG Archives this past week, pawing through memorable moments of some of those who have strayed into our lives.
A grayish, brownish tabby with little puffs of white toes, Marshmallow was responsible for an astonishing feat of prestidigitation. She climbed into my bed when I was 8 or so, and made me disappear in the middle of the night … only to wake the next morning in my parents’ bed across the hall.
She accomplished this by deciding to have her litter on my pillow in the middle of the night — an event which I slept through, but which awakened my younger brother.
We don’t speak much or often of this creatively named orange tabby, who wandered into our home one day and was gone as quickly as he arrived. The legend goes that he was playing with the detritus of an overturned garbage can when my older brother decided to scare Tiger off with his BB gun.
The shot was said to puncture an aerosol can, which set off a chain reaction that resulted in Tiger being buried at the edge of the backyard in a makeshift grave marked by a large stone … which we would subsequently use as first base in kickball games.
The first cohabitant that I ever thought of as “mine,” she was a calico with a Zen-like nature, and the ability to control and soothe any emotional upheaval.
Visiting from college during a rather fractious period in our family history, I woke in the early morning hours to get a glass of water.
Entering the kitchen, I saw my father sitting at the kitchen table, smoking a Pall Mall and staring through the sliding glass door into the morning mist. In his lap was Mitzi, who gazed at me with a look that said “You’re not thirsty. Go back to bed. I got this.”
Was it when he went charging down a chipmunk hole? When he slid off a slate shed roof, with the countenance of Wile E. Coyote stepping off a cliff? Singeing himself on a wood stove? Covering his eyes while riding shotgun as we drove through Chicago?
The tuxedoed crown prince of the goofballs was clueless, loyal, unintentionally funny, anti-social, headstrong, occasionally affectionate and did not suffer fools gladly. My mother-in-law called him “Little Rob” … although neither of us saw the resemblance.
A stray tabby that was passed among the residents of a Florida apartment complex, Junior ultimately adopted us and lived to aggravate Bogey merely by his presence.
When we moved and arranged for his next home, they rejected each other — which led to a telephone operator from Atlanta sending a distress call to us in Seattle, which then led to my enlisting a two-woman team of former co-workers to retrieve Junior, who was in rough shape.
One of the co-workers took him in until a home could be found. Junior spent the night sleeping in her young son’s bed (although not giving birth) and, well, a suitable home had been found.
Unlike those cats who automatically became the smartest creature thing in their home, Kira actually could back up that claim.
A calico with an uncanny ability to contort time, space and her body to wedge herself in the unlikeliest of spaces, she also was a planner, a plotter whose cognitive wheels were always turning.
We watch in amazement more than once as she worked at trying to escape through the sliding glass door to the back yard. Having seen us do it, she pawed at the wooden stick that kept the door from opening completely. Once she had that out, she’d turn her attention to the door latch.
How she planned to actually slide the door, we never discovered … but she undoubtedly had that figured out as well.
More than willing to play second fiddle to Kira, the two of them performed a musical act as Kira would play air vents like a washboard as Dax provided percussion using whatever was nearby.
A gray tabby with a bellyful of spots that led to her Trillian monicker, Dax sought nothing more than to love and be loved and to be included in her big sister’s adventures.
We learned this early on as we entered an upstairs bedroom to find Kira staring out the window in another Goldberg-like escape plan and the screen partially open.
Are you kidding, I asked her. You’d hurt yourself at this height — a piece of information she’d learn and we both looked down at Dax, who had been Kira’s test subject. She was uninjured, but she stayed away from windows when her sister was in the room.
The RGtCG Archives are littered with her exploits, although not with her name assigned.
The current Head of the Household, for all her majesty and dominance, has a huge heart … which she demonstrated by giving an ailing Dax a loving tongue-bath shortly before she would ascend to the throne.
There are, for certain, many more adventures, ahead of her … and us.
That, of course is only eight. The ninth spot is reserved for The Next One, which will arrive eventually. Tiffany is far from ready to abdicate, and has made clear that she needs no consort.
But, someday, there will be another cat. There’s always a cat.
Mail Tribune news editor Robert Galvin fills the food bowls at firstname.lastname@example.org