This Cat

Abraham De Lacy…Giuseppe Casey…Thomas O’ Malley. Abe for short. I think I’ve seen the Aristocats a hundred times. It’s still one of my favorite Disney movies. When we found some kittens “free to a good home” and saw one was orange, I HAD to have him even though we were there for his calico sister. I took them both. When I got out of the truck with a kitten in each hand, my husband just rolled his eyes. “They were practically giving them away!” I squealed; a phrase used often around here when any of us has succumbed to the “buy me” feeling.”

Once, he went missing for a whole week. I thought for sure he was lost to coyotes, like Chairman Meow before him. But one morning there was a loud meowing at the front door and when we opened it, an orange streak went straight for the water bowl. He was skinny and smelled like cars. My guess is he got locked in the closest neighbor’s garage and came running home as soon as he escaped.

A year later, his sister went missing. Lucy never came back. I assume she was coyote food. It happens. Outside animals need to be smart, fast, or big, otherwise they end up being someone else’s food. That sounds like good words to live by these days.

Abe, aka Mr. McFuzzbutt, is my constant companion. He wakes me up in the morning, follows me to the bathroom, leads me to the living room with his incessant meows to his food bowl, which is usually full of food. It’s as if he honestly needs an audience to eat his breakfast properly. I get my coffee and my book and sit down next to my husband to read while he attempts to sit in my lap and then settles at my feet after a bit.

He loves to drop live mice on my youngest son’s bed in the middle of the night. Jake has learned to meow at Abe when he feels him jump on the bed. If he meows back, he rolls over and goes back to sleep. If he doesn’t, he sits up to catch whatever Abe has brought him.

He scratches at the door if I lock him out. He sheds something fierce. He naps next to me. He follows me around the yard with Chili, his dog sister. He has recently been hunted by a large pack of quail, pounced on and chased by the dog, and dive bombed by hummingbirds. He has scratched me good when I didn’t deserve it and relaxed in my arms or on my shoulder, complaining about how cruel I am to him.

My favorite trick is when he sits on the freezer where his food bowl is and meows for me to fill it up. Like all cats, half full is unacceptable. If no one comes, he scoots the bowl around with is paw. If that doesn’t work, he knocks it off onto the floor making a big noise. And when you come to feed him, he’s curled up politely waiting for you to do the right thing.

I am a cat person. My dog, as much as I love her, annoys me. Dogs are always begging for love, giving you sad looks when you’re not nice to them, and running up to you like you’re the coolest. Have some self-respect, animal!

Cats want to be around you but not too close unless they want to, but then they don’t. They go missing and come back. They pretty much take care of themselves. And I love their “I don’t care” attitude. That’s why I loved Thomas O’Mally in the Aristocats. He was smooth and aloof…but a lover.

My kind of babe.