I’ll put up slightly different posts for the rest of the week. I wrote the other day about my dogs so today I’ll recount the cats of my life.
My life was cat free until I moved into my first apartment with two friends on 22nd Street and Ave U in Brooklyn. I was eighteen years old, it was 1981 and we worshipped at the altar of Hunter Thompson, Lou Reed and Nicholas Roeg. Into the lunacy of that time waltzed Chortle and Guffaw, because one of my roommates decided that the fact that we were incapable of taking care of ourselves had little bearing on whether we should have pets.
I’m not sure if Chortle and Guffaw and the subsequent Two Female Cats Named Dave were the same cats or if they were separate pairs. I know Chortle and Guffaw came first and we might have simply changed their names, but we were such amoral people back then that Chortle and Guffaw could have run away to be replaced by two other cats that would ultimately run away as well.
They were all sweet kittens but they weren’t mine and my roommate who inflicted them upon us was not really capable of caring for them. If memory holds, this same roommate found it too difficult to wash the dishes that he put the cat food in so he would simply put down another dish until the otherwise unused kitchen was littered with bowls and plates flecked with dry cat food.
We have to fast forward before I would truly have a cat to call my own— another Dave, a big Maine coon —this time a male. Dave was my first introduction to a mouser. Out of nowhere my apartment in Carroll Gardens had become over ridden with mice and I went to the pound in search of help. Welcome Dave who never once killed a mouse as they simply disappeared within a week of his arrival. I then cut a hole in the door to my apartment and with Dave roaming the stairs the whole building was soon vermin free.
About a year later a yoga teacher friend of mine, was going on holiday and wanted to know if I would house sit her two cats. By this time Dave was taking advantage of the building’s basement and backyard so I figured it wouldn’t be a problem for a couple of weeks. She brought the cats over, opened the box and out walked Mu a sleek and slender Persian that stole my heart instantly. Stuck in the box was a black ball that soon darted out and down the stairs into the basement not too be seen again for five years (another story).
For a time it was animal heaven—two dogs, three cats (though we didn’t actually see one of them), and a backyard to roam around. But, as but must follow for a time, our fence had to be changed and the cats were free to leave the confines of the backyard and see the sights. All of a sudden I was faced with the dilemma of whether or not to make the cats stay indoors or let them try their luck in the big bad world. The world won and I lost. Mu disappeared about a month later with the crazy lady down the block calling me to screech that someone stole her, though the most likely culprit would have been the crazy lady herself. And then the ultimate indignity occurred when Dave moved out on me. He started hanging out in another apartment and then moved in. I later realized that they fed him cheaper and therefore more appealing food and that is why he left. But walking down the block to see him in another person’s window was heartbreaking.
But I got over it and got Bhavani, a miniature tabby that was just the most wonderful cat. Oddly, Dave, who will be the subject of another post (The Dead Cat Story), decided to come back to visit about ten months into Bhavani’s tenure. I walked in the door and there was Dave sprawled across the kitchen table as if I should pay no mind to the fact that he jilted me for another couple. So I didn’t and he stayed the weekend but left again before I knew it.
Carroll Gardens was my home for fifteen years and when we moved Bhavani came with us to our new neighborhood. After eleven years she shuffled off her feline coil and left us fairly suddenly with my daughter Ida and I at the vet’s for what we thought was a minor problem.
This brings us to the present. We have moved a number of times over the last few years and this last move was into another mouse infested apartment that I was assured by the exterminator couldn’t be helped because our landlord did a poor job of closing up the holes behind the cabinets in our kitchen.
Enter Princess (a male) and Superkitty, our latest and greatest cats. They both slay me with their completely different personalities. Princess is warm, social and inviting and the perfect cat for my son who likes to wear him like a stole. And Superkitty—he wants love but can’t be bothered to come looking for it. He sits upon our bed waiting for us to attend him and pay our respects. And one by one, in the course of the day, we usually do.