I went shopping for cat quotes via Google. Alas, all the quotes seem to be mostly holding cats in awe...sleek cats, silent cats, wise cats, poetic cats, elegant cats, snooty cats, cats that are never slaves, cats that sit on people's laps not because they like them, but because the laps are warm. Always aloof, always mysterious.
Where are the neurotic cats? The goofy cats? The lovey cats?
When I was about eight or nine, I started pestering my parents for a cat. I just wanted a cat--any cat would do. Puh-leeze, moooooooom! I'll take care of it!
So after months of this, my parents finally broke down. My dad had a coworker who had a Siamese who had just had kittens. We got a three or four month old chocolate point with vivid blue eyes, a stocky frame, and a wide face, who went by the oh-so-elegant name of Tuffy. Or Toughie. Not sure which. And I'm not sure who named him.
At the very same time--like that same weekend!--my oldest brother, knowing I reeelly wanted a cat, took me for a drive to pick up a tiny, petite lilac point kitten, dainty, delicate, pointy-faced. My mother named her Blossom. (I wanted to name her something like Arabella, if I remember correctly.)
Toughie marched in like he owned the place, swaggering, and clicking his toenails on the linoleum.
Blossom leaped from my coat, digging her claws into my shoulder, scuttled through the house, and settled into the deepest, darkest corner of one of the kitchen cubbies, and spent a few days peering out and hissing.
Blossom was neurotic. Toughie was the "Polish prince". Blossom slinked. Toughie swaggered. Blossom was snarky and not really cuddly (to me). Toughie loved me, and put up with stuff from me that would drive any sane cat crazy--being stuffed into drawers, being stroked with a wool sweater in the dead of a winter night so we could watch the sparks, being rolled and pushed and shoved and treated, generally, like a stuffed animal that just happened to purr.
Poor Blossom! When she first went into heat, Toughie proved that he was not a lover, but a fighter--he did her wham-bam-thankyew-ma'am, and two months later we had two kittens, one of which (a female) we kept. Blossom stayed scrawny and bony; she always reminded me of a Siamese version of those raw-boned women in pictures from the Dust Bowl.
Many years later, shortly after we moved to another house, Toughie vanished one night and never returned. But one night, while I was asleep, he came and visited me, nose-diving and purring. Oh, it was probably a dream, but it felt so real to me. It was as if he had come back one last time to say goodbye, and to let me know everything would be all right.
Blossom lived a long time, getting scrawnier and bonier. She was always skittish, but seemed to become accustomed to me once I left my childish ways behind, and would sit on my lap and cover me with pale grey-white fur.
I moved out, on my own, but always--always--had a cat. Our current Piggy cat reminds me very much of Blossom--neurotic, skittish, not very sociable. And Wooly is proving to be the dotter's Toughie.