She Didn't Like Cats!
Can you believe it? Our Mom said that when she was a girl she didn't like cats. She told us this story about how she grew to love cats.
When she was four or five years old, she DID like cats. A stray cat came around to her house and she wanted to keep him. But her daddy said, "NO, we don't like cats. We have a dog." Well, our Mom, being the goodie two-shoes that she was, decided to listen to her daddy and she decided she didn't like cats either. She told us that was her way of coping with her disappointment at not being allowed to adopt that stray kitty. (We can think of better ways!)
She liked DOGS and decided she would be a DOG PERSON. She grew up with those funny weiner dogs. She had one named Fritzi who used to sleep with her. He would take up most of her little bed because he liked to sleep across it. Poor Mom was squished in the bed by that dog, and to this day she can still sleep in a tiny space. She did love that dog very much. Sigh.
Years go by and Mom's little sister learns of someone at school who has a cat with kittens. She comes home from school and asks her Dad if she can have one of them. "NO! We don't need a cat." Little sister cries, but her Dad seems firm. It turns out that a man where Mom's Dad works, has a cat with kittens. Mom's Dad (we called him "Grandpa") didn't like his baby daughter to be sad, so one day he brings home one of the little black kittens. Mom's sister names him Tony.
Mom's family didn't know much about caring for a cat. At the time, Grandpa seemed to believe that the way you prevented litters was by having a male cat. He didn't think that getting a cat neutered was important. Tony was a wonderful cat, very loving and nice, but he was a Tom Cat and he prowled the neighborhood. He got in so many cat fights and sustained many cat bites. Mom remembers having to clean his awful abscesses with hot epsom salt water.
At least Mom's family made sure that Tony had his vaccinations. One day they drove him to the vet for annual shots and, when the family was getting out of the car, Tony pulled the leash out of the hands of the little girl. He totally escaped and could not be found.
By this time, Mom had fallen in love with Tony. When he stayed in the house overnight, he slept with her (maybe because he knew that she didn't move much in her sleep and gave him plenty of room). He was a tough boy, but very affectionate. Mom said that he loved to stalk bugs and it sounded like he was eating potato chips when he would crunch on grasshoppers and crickets in the summertime. Of course, he was a good mouser too. He even got along with the dogs.
But he was lost. The family was despondent. Even Grandpa loved him very much. No one around the vet's office found him. Cars went fast around there , so a car accident was a real possibility.
Two l-o-n-g weeks went by, when who appeared at the door, but Tony the cat! He was all scrawny and his collar had rubbed a lot of the fur off around his neck. But he was home and Mom and the rest of the family were so happy! How did Tony know where home was? It was only a few miles away, but he went there by car. It wasn't exactly the incredible journey, but I don't know if we could make that trek.
Unfortunately, Tony did not live a long life. He died at the young age of seven when Mom was taking her final exams at the end of her first year of college. Grandpa and Grandma didn't tell her until she returned home for the summer after exams. They knew that she would be very distraught, but there was nothing she could do about it. The whole family was very sad because they all had really loved Tony the Tomcat. Because of Tony, they decided to become better cat guardians later and always spayed or neutered their cats.
If it weren't for Tony (or Mom's insistent little sister), Mom might never have learned about the wonderful world of cats.
~Jake and Bathsheba