Thursday, January 10, 2008

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Cats

1. Cicero was the first cat I ever had when I was a kid, a black tom cat. He was an outdoor cat, who couldn't stand to be inside. We tried taking him to the vet for shots and he ran away. We lived about 20 miles from the vet's office so thought we'd never see him again. Six months later, he returned. That was about 1965.

2. Cluster and her sister, 3. Nebula were two tortoise shell cats. We learned our lesson with Cicero. These were indoor cats.

4. Irving was a gray cat. We thought she was a neutered male and thought that she was a banker's gray so that's how she got the name Irving for Irving Trust. Well, we couldn't trust Irving. One night he was acting funny and the next morning she had kittens. Around 1968, she took off to bestow kittens on another family I guess. Maybe she thought we'd neuter her.

5. Woody was the first cat I had as an adult (1972). I carried her in a suitcase on my bicycle while she yowled all the way. She was a nice gray tiger cat.

6. Peggy was a Siamese cat, whom I adopted in 1973 as a humanitarian, or rather felinitarian gesture. She had been in an accident in which she lost a hind leg. Her owners wouldn't take her back.

7. Saita was my first Seattle cat, after fast forwarding a few years. In between cats, I got divorced, moved to New York City, hitchhiked around the country and finally, in 1978, decided to live in Seattle. One day I was walking around Green Lake and a nice looking young man with soulful eyes convinced me to take this kitten. When I left Seattle for another long trip, not sure if I would return, a friend took care of her - and wouldn't give her back.

8. Hatty - in 1983, some friends who had moved into a loft together had cat wars. She had two big cats and he had Hatty. Hatty became absolutely catatonic and refused to eat or come out from a hole in the wall. By that time, I had moved into a house which I shared with a friend so I took her on. She remained neurotic - she didn't like to be outside so she would climb up on the roof and yowl for hours until I got back home. Equally embarrassing was that she would get on the fire escape of the apartment building next to our house and yowl into people's windows. Fortunately, I worked night shift so I didn't have to meet people's eyes. When I went to work in Thailand, I had a traumatic experience trying to find a home for her; it eventually worked out all right though.

9. Unnamed Cat in my Office who had three kittens under my desk and then they all disappeared one night. When I worked in a refugee camp in Thailand, I was amazed to open my office one morning and find a cat family there. While the refugees were not allowed to have pets, many managed to find cats or bring them from other camps. The mother cat was quite aggressive and when she felt my office wasn't secure enough, she dragged the kittens across the outpatient department and into our field coordinator's office. The following morning, she would not let her get into her office. Pretty wild!

10. Som - again more fast forwarding. I left Thailand in 1990 and returned to school. After graduation, I worked in rural community health centers in Arizona and California. Finally, when I returned to Asia in 1996 and got my own house in 1997, I could have a cat again. I inherited Som (which means Orange in Thai language) from a friend. Unfortunately, in the upcountry site where I was working, there were too many rats and people bought rat poison to take care of the problem. Som caught a rat which had been poisoned and then he died. I almost didn't want to have cats again.

12. Neung, Song, Sam- Then someone gave me these three black and white kittens. The names mean One, Two and Three since I couldn't think of what to name them. Sam eventually ran off, and other people in the neighborhood absorbed the others. I was doing a lot of traveling at the time so the cats found families to adopt.

13. Shadow was a tortoiseshell cat. My landlady in Vientiane decided that I needed to have a cat so she brought Shadow to me from a Buddhist temple. Often people will leave kittens and puppies at the temples because there is always surplus food and a lot of mice and rats. She was my constant companion for five years and a very Buddhist cat. When people in the neighborhood had ceremonies where the monks came to the house to chant, she would sit in the back of the room, listening. She had many litters of kittens who found homes around the country until two years ago, when she was run over. I still have three cats from her last two litters.

So that's my contribution on a Friday. But since I still have work to do tomorrow, I'll consider this a Thursday and date it so.

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Amber Gilchrist said...

I just love cats. I could probably make a list of at least thirteen. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for that. Very interesting. And welcome to TT! I hope we'll see lots more from you.

Anonymous said...

awww you really are a cat lover aren't you? i grew up with tons of cats around me, and then became allergic when i hit puberty, i still consider it one of the great tragedies of my life.. great T13!! sniff sniff