Tim worked as a manager in an engineering section for the railroad and could be said to be a pretty stern taskmaster, though it was doubtful his department referred to him in quite those terms. He walked out of his work place into the parking lot and heard someone call his name. “Tim, come over here!” He saw his boss’s wife standing by her car. She had one hand on her purse and one hand behind her back. This was probably not good.
Walking over expecting a pink slip or a reprimand or maybe a gun, he was totally surprised when she brought her hand around and in it was the tiniest tortoiseshell kitten he’d ever seen. “The little thing was about the size of the palm of her hand,” he said.
“This poor little kitten was abandoned down the road,” the woman said, “we think you need to take her.”
“Oh, no,” Tim said, backing away and waving his hands, “the last thing I need now is a cat!”
“You don’t understand,” his boss’s wife said, “you’re going to take her because Cuddles has been gone so long that you’ve become a total S.O.B. (she did not spell it out) and we all think there would be a lot less yelling around here if you had another cat.”
“I’m not over Cuddles yet,” he said.
She said they’d all heard the stories about Cuddles and, basically, she indicated that he didn’t have a choice. She was, after all, his boss’s wife.
So Sweetie, as his boss’s wife had named her, went home with him to his single guy’s house and they spent the next 13 years together, leaving their papers and toys wherever they pleased. Sweetie lived up to her name. Whether or not Tim was any less of a taskmaster is likely since no one tried any further interventions with kittens or other methods.
So when it comes to human cat daddies, I’d like to first recognize this friend both for his compassion for cats—and for humans! He’s my neighbor, retired now and I used to visit Sweetie when he was away, and he often took a shift of visiting my cats when I was away.
He also supported me through the loss of my four oldest cats, Moses, Cream, Sophie and Stanley, and then of Lucy at 15 months. Right after I lost Lucy, my cardiac patient, Namir, went into congestive heart failure, and I had no hesitation asking this friend to drive me to the emergency clinic because another potential loss was just too much for me. Namir made it through, and so did I, glad for the conversation of a good friend while I waited for the news. Tim had also driven me to a few vet appointments with Cookie this past January, and on the day in February when I sat vigil holding Cookie as she slowly faded in my arms I called Tim to tell him I needed a cup of coffee but was out of half and half. He didn’t even question the senselessness of this, just went to get a quart of half and half so I could at least have that comfort for the next hours. I also give him gas money to run the errands I can’t make it to on a busy day, and to chauffeur me to places around town that have difficult or expensive parking when I need to meet with a customer or take a special photo.
Three years ago nearly to the day Tim called me on a Sunday, worried about Sweetie. After describing her condition to me, I told her I thought she needed to go to the emergency clinic, the sooner the better. He hesitated, and I offered to go with him; he immediately accepted. I knew he was frightened, and though I held to the most positive thoughts for Sweetie, I knew the situation may not have the best ending.
As it turns out, Sweetie was completely blind, and the veterinarians could find no immediately apparent reason for her blindness. According to Tim, Sweetie had jumped off the bed and raced down the stairs to the kitchen the previous morning and seemed completely normal until later in the day when she seemed a little confused. The next day, she didn’t eat, and stumbled over a door step, her pupils completely dilated, then laid down and seemed unresponsive. Then she started grumbling, then meowing.
When I checked in on her when Tim was away, I would have walked off with her in a minute if I thought I could get away with it. A pleasantly plump tortoiseshell with round eyes and a mischievous attitude, she always played a game with me when I stopped there, either hiding somewhere and not even moving until I found her—and I’m pretty good at looking for cats—or thundering from room to room and up and down the steps as if she was being chased. She was 13, and in the years she had been with her person he had spent a few years out of town five days a week for business, but she did fine in the house alone on those days and never developed any bad habits as a result of being left alone. Later, after retirement, he went away for weeks at a time to help family members, and this was when I checked in on her, always pleasant and happy, ready for play or hide and seek. But she was devoted to her person, and when he was around, she was on his lap or under his feet or inspecting what he was doing.
Although she was in excellent health otherwise, the condition that caused her blindness was apparently acute. Animals can often adapt to these changes, much easier than we do, but the testing to find out what was wrong would probably have shown a stroke or brain tumor, likely to only get worse. My friend decided not to put her through the rigors of discovery, and she even seem resigned to her fate, so he decided to let her go and have her put to sleep.
Tim was traveling quite a bit after he lost Sweetie, until his mother passed away, and had a few health conditions on his own, averting a heart attack last year by warning his doctor and being rewarded with heart bypass surgery. He’s recovered from that and not traveling as much any more, so I’ve been shopping for another kitty for him, one of those who needs to be an only cat and have one person to own. One came along through other channels, a lovely 10-year-old long-haired black and white kitty named Puffer for her tendency as a kitten to puff up in alarm at almost anything. They are getting along just fine.
On the human side, Tim’s oldest daughter was diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome when she was an infant and has lived through countless heart and organ surgeries, broken bones and vision treatments but is now 48 years old; they had their heart surgeries done at the same hospital and by the same doctor! And the whole family is a bunch of cat rescuers as well.
So any cat who would live with Tim would be one lucky kitty, and while my cats don’t have a cat daddy they do have cat “uncles” and Tim is one of them, and the most convenient!
Other cat daddies I’ve known
In Great Rescues Calendar and Gift Book I included the rescues of cat by several cat daddies, and have known many more. Here are two of my favorite stories.
Bandit’s dad arrived home early from vacation and decided to visit the gym. Exiting the building after his workout he saw in the parking lot two women trying to coax a small black and white cat, four to six months old, from under the front of a car with offerings of tuna. The famished kitten finished his second plate but went back up into the wheel well where he was seeking sanctuary. When they left, Bandit’s dad went around to the side of the car. Bandit came down from the engine compartment, covered in grease and oil, looked his future human companion in the eye and let the man pick him up, trembling in his hands. “He needed a friend and I gained one of my best.”
Holly’s dad was working on his apartment building in a small town 50 miles from his home and noticed a tiny kitten, maybe five weeks old, running from under the porch at the house next door; apparently they were just letting a new litter run the streets until they decided what to do with them. He put milk out for the kitten as she visited the back stairway, then went next door to confirm the kittens belonged to them, asking if he could adopt the little calico, to which they agreed. He took her into an apartment and fed her there, took her to the local vet for a checkup and kept her with him for about 2 weeks as he worked on the building. The neighbor stopped him in the driveway a few days later and said she had promised the kitten to her sister. Holly’s dad immediately replied that he had already given her a new home in Pittsburgh, 50 miles away, and she was no longer available. Later, he secreted Holly out hidden in a cereal box and brought her home.
Other more famous Cat Daddies
Visit The Conscious Cat today for a write-up of three pretty famous guys who are cat daddies celebrating today. And one of them, Peter Wolf of Vox Felina, are in a contest with Smudge in Stray Cat Alliance’s Cat Daddy Photo Contest, which ends at 6:00 pm PST. There’s still time to vote if you’re reading this before 9:00 p.m. EST!
Nominate The Creative Cat for an award and help to win $1,000 cash for the Homeless Cat Management Team
and $10,000 for the shelter or rescue of your choice!
Nominate once daily, each day from now until June 29.
Click here or on the logo below to go to Dogtime’s Petties 2012.
All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.
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