Let me start off by stating there is no greater misconception than that of cat ownership. People with felines KNOW who the owner is, and it’s not the human! That settled, I shall go on from here, but that needed saying as first law of living with a feline. I was a quick study.
My first feline walked up on the balcony, and started rubbing his body against my legs and looked up at me. He did this a few times, and asked, with his eyes “can I adopt you?” I had never considered having a pet, and especially a cat, but this one was very handsome and very warm. He was an adult male orange tabby, which any Tennessee fan would recognize as a BIG ORANGE tabby. Noting how good looking and friendly he was I called him PK, for pretty kitty.
Well, the very first night he came to live with me, he just jumped up on the bed I was already in and curled himself up on a section of cover I was not already under. Smart fellow. I proceeded to buy canned cat food, and found out how I should do this. I daily gave him first refusal of what I was opening that day, let him have his fill. After eating, he promptly headed for the door, tail raised, and stood there, looking at it. Cats don’t talk English, but they do communicate very ably. I let him out, and when I left for work, put his food and water dish out for him to return for lunch whenever. After awhile, the neighbor cats were competing with him for his food. Hey, they weren’t stupid, they saw him go up for a bite, and knew this was a grub stop. Soo, after awhile, he had plenty of competition for his food, but he was used to that. He was, after awhile an outdoorsman, so grubbing for food was life.
PK didn’t lose too many fights, I gather, but he did come home one night with a hole in his left ear, meowing something to the effect of “yeah, but you shoulda seen the other guy”. I did not have time to deal with it that day, but had him in for a fix with his new doc, Doctor Steve, at Memphis Animal Clinic. The doc took care of him, and remarked that he probably won, as that was the only mark on him. So, I guess, the notion was “hail the conquering hero”, and petted him and praised him for winning. PK was a vintage orange tabby, very nice fellow. When I cut my arm one time, he could see I was hurting, and thus sat a lot closer to me on the bed that night, to tell me he felt my pain. AWWWWW!
PK sat everywhere the sun shone, including the rear windows of cars of other residents. If they took off, and didn’t see him back there, well, they had a passenger, and that was that. He didn’t fuss, and saw a lot more of Memphis than he would have wondering around on his own four paws.
PK made enemies for me, though, and I had to leave him inside a few days, to keep the neighbors from hurting him. He didn’t understand human relations, however, and saw it as confinement, which he hated. So he left me, and broke my heart.
Next cat I had, I decided, would be an indoor cat. None of this wondering off, just cause he was in a huff. I moved east, and didn’t have a cat at first.
But it wasn’t long before I was in a junkyard delivering scrap metal, when there was this orange tabby lookin around for a bite. I asked the yard manager whose cat he was, and he said “yours”. So I put him in the cab of the truck, and took off back to the office, cat in the seat next to me. On the way home, he jumped up in the dash to warm his frazzled, frozen fur in the sun.
I originally thought I would name him after the junkyard where I found him, Lazarov, and call him Laz. But I remembered myself saying my cats would be named after celebrities. So I called this one SnagglePuss, the tall skinny cat in the “Quickdraw McGraw” animated TV series of the early 60’s. (Remember Baba Louie? MAN, you’re old!) Snaggle Puss was voiced by Bert Lahr, who himself was the cowardly lion in “Wizard of Oz”. So there was a double feline connection going here.
I got a cat at the worst time to get an animal, financially. I told somebody about that, and lo and behold, the check for the metal I delivered when I got him, was put toward his checkup at the vet. I had taken him there immediately after I got back, and told the vet if he had leukemia to put him down. If he was clean inside, clean him up outside, so he was, and he got a bath. When you bathe a cat, feline fur looks like no fashion statement for a few days, so he walked around looking like he had seen a ghost.
SnagglePuss was an outdoorsman, too, and didn’t take well to the transition to housecat. Wasn’t long before I saw clawholes in the drapes at eye level. Walls weren’t climbable, couldn’t dig in, but hey, drapes! He got used to it, he was a flexible fellow. He was there for me after a breakup with someone I had been interested in, and made the perfect companion. I could lose my tears in his thick tabby fur, and somehow he understands, his human was hurtin. That connected us like nothin else.
Enter the Star! (Drumroll, please)
7 months after I got SnagglePuss, I was at church one morning. Our class was in the gym, and I saw a lady approach me, telling me to take a cat home for her. She had picked up a litter in her apartment parking lot, put them all in a box, and brought them to church. This was in a backroom off the gym. There she was, a tiny gray tabby, crying her little eyes out, hanging her claws out to grab some human heart. It worked. I took this tiny ball of fur home, and proceeded to pray about SnagglePuss takin on a new addition. OF COURSE, he fussed, growled, hissed and expressed this invasion of his space. I talked with him, though, and told him this one needed a big brother, a friend. Since he was the TOM, I called her Jeri.
I changed the spelling to accommodate her being female. I used the name of a female I had admired in college. So there they were, Snag n Jeri.