The Cat Lady Is UsThursday, November 17, 2011
Ever since I was a little boy I have been attracted to all sorts of animals. In our Buenos Aires home we always had some sort of animal. Most came from my Uncle Tony as his wife protested having any pets in their apartment. So he cast off in our direction, collies, poodles, a deer and I brought a tero (an Argentine collared plover) from a summer at “camp”. The poodle took care of the tero and we soon gave up on animals.
I tried to bring cats into the house but they would mysteriously disappear in a few days. I blame my mother as she did not like cats.
|Antonio in Veracruz|
In the 60s in Veracruz she had a pair of beautiful Boxers and she gave us the male, the older specimen, called Antonio.
My neighbour friend Felipe Ferrer, who was to become the chief of the federal police in Acapulco went as far as asking me if I had some sort of hidden border living with us. “Who is this Antonio you keep calling or shouting at?” We were much too stupid then to understand that a back garden was not enough space for a dog. We never walked Antonio. Nobody knew we had him
I finally had to take him to the SPCA to put down. He was much too old and sick. It was then that I came to understand that to lessen the loss of a pet you acquired one immediately. Rosemary and I came back with a mutt (quite ugly) we called Mouche as she was colored like a fly.
Mouche was not fixed and she was always having puppies nobody wanted. This was a problem and I will not go into the details on how I handled the problem. When we left Mexico for Vancouver we gave Mouche away to our friend Andrew Taylor who gave Mouche all the attention she deserved and she died of ripe old age.
|Gaticuchi makes the cover|
In the late 70s when we lived in Burnaby we lived next to a woman (we thought she was eccentric) who had a dipsomaniac of a husband and she was always talking to her cats. She was the neighbourhood “cat lady” - does not every neighbourhood not have one?
We finally had a cat, a cute kitten that stared at our two young daughters from the window of a garage. I could not say, “No!” to them.
This was our first cat, Gaticuchi. Since then we have had 6 cats not including our present Casi-Casi, an 18 pound male owned by Rosemary, and Plata my sophisticated little female who is now 14 years old, Most of our cats came via the SPCA and looking back at all our felines, I would suppose that had I been another of our neighbours in Burnaby I would find that we are not less eccentric than the “cat lady”.
Rosemary talks to Casi-Casi in a way that makes me wish the early years of our marriage would suddenly come back. In those days Rosemary called me Cheri and she was melodious in her conversations with me. Those days seem to be gone and I feel most jealous of the attention Casi-Casi gets. Since this makes Plata jealous she sits on her lap for attention.
But I do get attention from Plata. When I arrive in the Malibu, she comes to car door as I get out and makes a unique little noise and jumps up so I can pet her on her head. Plata also walks with my two granddaughters and in the summer. We go around the block to the surprise of our Oriental neighbours who have never seen a cat that acts like a dog.
Plata is particular about where she gets her water. As an older cat her kidneys are beginning to fail so she drinks lots of water. We have a dish in one of the bathrooms, a drinking fountain I the kitchen, one outside but, her favourite source is the water from the tub. When I get in she comes around and gets on the ledge. I pour water from the tub and she laps it up. Then she stays and keeps me company.
Am I the “cat lady”? Perhaps.