The following and all of the other episodes to come are snapshots of what goes on in my head, now and in the past. There are times none of this will make sense. There will be times when I might get lucky and the blog I post will be well constructed and will flow like a mountain stream to an awaiting lake below. Other times it will seem like the ramblings of a madman and you’ll ask yourself, “What the……?”
You should probably get used to the latter.
EPISODE ONE HUNDRED THIRTY TWO: The Cat’s Meow
This blog post was written before my CJ crossed over that famous rainbow bridge. Another sweet cat has come to be in our home and heart since then. I’ll write about Watson in all due time.
This is dedicated to CJ.
I love you, buddy. Forever.
If you don’t know me or have never read any of my blog posts, let me say this: I’m a cat person.
Those that know me, KNOW this to be true.
Understand, when someone says they love something doesn’t mean that don’t love other things related to said thing. Just because I love cats above other animals doesn’t mean I don’t love dogs or birds or fish or goats. (Not a big fan of rabbits, though. Watch Monty Python’s Holy Grail. You’ll see what I mean.) I love most animals, with a few exceptions (like rabbits).
Since I was a young child, cats have been numero uno in my book.
It all started with Tom. He was an all white cat my sister brought home. Oh, man, there was a lot of pleading back and forth about Tom. My parents were not happy about a cat in the house and my sister was very headstrong about him staying. She won out (after a while) and we had a cat. He lived in the garage with the occasional romp into the house. Not the best life we could have given him but it was better than living on the streets. An all-white cat on the streets is a death sentence. There was a cat before Tom, one I don’t remember because I was too young. He got killed when a neighbors dog came into our open garage door and killed him.
Anyway, a couple of days after he arrived, I found myself in his presence. I took to him immediately. And, after playing with him for a few minutes, I started to itch…bad. To this day, I’m not sure if he got into something like fiberglass insulation or I had some sort of reaction from him, but I itched like crazy for the rest of the day. After I got over it, I was told to stay away from him. Now, I’m not sure if it was due to my stubbornness or my sudden love of cats, but there was no way I was going to do that. I would sneak into the garage and love on him. And I would start to itch all over again. I would keep this from my parents and go take a shower, which seemed to help.
As time went on, the bad reaction became less and less. Within a few weeks, I was able to play with him with no problem what as ever. I made a feline friend.
But, as a child, I wasn’t the best friend he could have. I did spend more time with than anybody else (my sister soon had other interests) but there were times I wasn’t kind. The one thing I did that was not nice and I’m ashamed to admit it was put him in a bucket and swing him around and around to make him dizzy. Of course, I got just as dizzy but regardless, it was my choice to make myself dizzy and he had no choice in the matter. And that made me a little asshole. I would dump him out on the floor and try and watch him walk while I tried to steady myself enough to watch him.
Stupid, stupid kid.
Then I was struck with something I knew a little about at being so young: guilt. I started to feel horrible for doing such stupid things to this poor cat, this cat who had given me love and I treated him so badly, at times. I didn’t do those things anymore. But the damage had been done. He didn’t trust me anymore. He would allow me a few minutes to pet him and then he would slink away. If I tried to pet him more, he would try and scratch me. He’d get me more than not.
After a couple of years, he got sick. He would sit and meow mournfully. He had developed feline leukemia. Then one Saturday morning, my dad took him to the vet and had him put down. I got to pet him one last time and say goodbye. My dad took him and I got on my bike and rode around the block. I didn’t want to be at home. I cried as I rode, not really caring if anybody saw me.
Since then, I became a cat’s best friend. I never harmed a cat. I wanted them to all know they could trust me. And I wanted to make up for being such a little prick to Tom.
Over time, I have had a lot of cats. I mean, A LOT. A few have stood out in my life. Ones that were more than just ‘cats’ and more like my best friends. They had something special that made them feel like a gift from God (if you believe). These cats seemed to be on another level.
Let me tell you about them.
From our house in the city, my parents had a house built in the country. Once I got out there, I wanted another cat. After some begging a pleading, I got the OK to get one. I went down to the local animal shelter and went to the cat section. I looked into each one hoping to find one that was linked to me in the cosmic sense. I pasted one after another. As I passed one particular cage, a white paw shot out and grabbed my arm. I turned to see it was attached to a black and white cat. I looked into his eyes, he looked into mine and that was all she wrote.
“This one. I’ll take this one.” Papers were signed, money was exchanged, and off we went. As we drove, he laid in the passenger seat of my car and was chill. One of my favorite songs was from the ’60s, at the time. And for that, I named him Louie, after the Kingman’s classic song.
Louie lived in the lap of luxury. He was an outside cat during the day and stayed in an unattached garage at night, to keep him away from nighttime predators. He brought me mice and moles and lizards and once he brought me a little green snake. He held it with his mouth as he trotted to me, the snake sweeping around his head trying to get away. He dropped it at my feet. I petted him and loved him and told him how good he was. Then I put him in his garage and took the snake back into the woods to, hopefully, get over the trauma of being caught and to live a long life.
Louie was smart, too. At night, before I settled in, I would go to the large gate that marked the entrance into the woods and call for him. After a few minutes, here he would come, trotting out of the darkness and up to me. I’d pick him up, I’d love on him, and then take him into the garage, where there were fresh food and water. I’d close the door and know he was safe for another night.
All good things come to an end. One day when I was in town, Louie got run over. My dad told me when I got home that day. He found him and buried him while I was gone. I went to his grave and cried. He was absolutely one of the best cats this world ever produced. Smart and loving. He was a cat anybody would love to have. I was honored to have him in my life. Maybe the word I should use is blessed.
Since then, there was my cat Sphinx (which I’ve talked about before) and Max (another all white cat and deaf on top of that) and, of course, Trinity (see blog post-Trinity: Queen of Felines for her story).
And now, there’s a cat, who is the epitome of all things that make cats awesome, the captain, the monkey kitty, Mr. Handsome, the king of cats…CJ. Because of him, I have become partial to black cats.
For over eleven years of him being here in our home, he has become my four-legged best friend. He is usually sitting near me. As I sit on the couch, writing this, he’s right next to me, so close I can lean over slightly and kiss him on the head (which I just did).
This behavior is looked down on by his brother, Sam, and our boxer, Louis. I do make sure I spend time with them, too.
And there have been other cats that have a special place in my heart and mind. There has been Baby Doll (not named by me but from an ex-girlfriend who couldn’t take her with her when she moved away) who had four of the prettiest kittens (Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter). Winter, a huge black cat who was part domestic feline and part moose. Not fat but just HUGE, as if he was training with weights. He fell from a tree, about twenty-five feet in the air, chasing a squirrel, and landing on his side. He was so muscle-bound, I felt the ground shake when he hit it fifteen feet away. He got up and acted like it was nothing. And Spring, who I brought with me when we moved. She had a kitten of her own but after a few weeks, but both were killed by a dog that belonged to our neighbor. She was one of those most beautiful cats I have ever seen, orange, black, white, a calico from some sort of magical royal breed.
Yeah, cats have had been a huge part of my life. I understand that there are people who don’t like them. They prefer dogs with their abundance of loyalty.
I get it, I totally understand why some people rather have a dog. People can find cats too aloof and solitary to be trusted.
You see, though, the way I see it, you have to work harder to earn the trust and loyalty of a cat. They can be sensitive and if they are put out by you, they remember, and it may be hard to earn the trust again.
They remind me of human beings. We can act exactly the same way.
I made a promise to myself that I would never be without a cat in my life. I will have a cat in my household until the day that I die. And I hope and pray, that the cats that have left me to cross that famous rainbow bridge is there waiting. I hope they have been saving up headbutts and are ready to express some very loud purrs.
My life has been a lot less lonely with cats in my life. They have been my companions, my friends, and in moments when humans have left me alone or forsaken me, they have been there.
If you’re somebody that feels the same way, we are in an awesome club (or cult). We have earned a place in the hearts of what some people think are unlovable animals. Maybe that makes us better at loving. Maybe we know how to go the extra mile to earn love.
-Loyd Elmore Jr.
November 30th, 2018
I’ve decided to keep a blog about how I’m dealing with depression. I’m going to consider this a form of therapy. It might not help anybody else but it might help me.