When Abigail was born we already had Daniel and Velcro. Dan was our best ever son and Velcro was our best ever cat. I guess it’s not really PC to announce that you had a “favorite” and I feel sort of unfaithful, given how much we love the current two but Velcro was that once-in -a-lifetime pet for our family. He was all feline, solid and sleek, silver with big round amber eyes. He alternated nights on the children’s beds and they always got a thorough cat bath along that damp sweaty hairline of childhood before sleep. He gave Dan a semi-permanent cowlick, er, catlick.
On Abby’s first day of preschool her teacher sat with her and made a construction paper portrait of her family: there was a daddy figure, a mommy figure, a boy labeled “Daniel”, a yellow cut out cat labeled “Whisker” and then a pasted on outline of a gray cat- with no name. When I picked Abby up at the end of that very first morning the teacher stood next to us as Abby proudly showed her family picture. The teacher said approvingly, “Abby told me all about her family and Daniel and Whisker but she wasn’t certain about the other kitty’s name.” Abby put her hands on her hips and piped up defiantly, “I tol you! His name is Fucko!” It wasn’t Abby’s fault she still wrestled with certain consonants and I said, “Yes, that’s right. His name is Velcro.” Always with the last word, Abby pronounced, “See? I tol you! His name is Fucko!”
Velcro was a constant companion and, in the end, curmudgeon, for all of their growing up years. He lived to be slightly more than nineteen years old and died just as Abby took flight on her own. She still misses Velcro and more, she has been missing an animal in her life.
You remember Compassionate Care, at the end of our Chicago alley? Home of the 450.00 feline enema? Right. Well, cost factor aside, it’s a fine place. They have a little room dedicated exclusively to housing an animal waiting for a new home. You can see it on the right side of the photo, with the cat tree in the window. For the past month there’s been a handsome cat on that tree and he swipes at the window when people walk by, as though to say, “Hey! Hey you! Consider my plight here!” Rich and I, unbeknown to the other, had stopped in and made his acquaintance. I’m not sure which one of us broached the subject first on an evening walk-probably Rich because I know he was the one who campaigned for that cat to come live here in the brickhouse. I held firm, knowing that I just couldn’t endure the adjustment problems or transporting yet another cat across state lines each winter. At some point I mentioned to Abby that Rich was haranguing me about this cat and Abby started asking about him.
Meet Grey. Grey is three years old and the elderly woman he lived with died. Grey is neutered and, although we would never do it, there are some advantages to the fact that he is front declawed. He’s tidy about his habits and content on dry food. The vet has given him a complimentary free physical, all of his immunizations and cleaned his teeth. Grey is affectionate and healthy and playful; each afternoon when I visit he hops into my lap and rubs and rubs. When he is supremely happy he forgets to pull in his tongue. The other day I bought a flight bag for him and left it open in his little room and he has been napping comfortably in it each afternoon.
Tomorrow is an auspicious day for airplane trips but Grey and I are heading down to Florida where he will get a second shot as a companion- this time to a young woman who can barely contain her excitement. I’ve never flown with a cat before so keep your fingers crossed on that front. I’ll take a few photos en-route and then in his new home.
(The title of today’s post is compliments of FC, who commented yesterday: OGNAC! Oh God, Not Another Cat! I think he’s a dog person…)