Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My New Cat Comes Home!

It's been a rough summer for cats in my life. Back in May, Doggie (my faithful cat of 10 years) passed away without warning. Anyone who's ever read the dedications in my books is surely familiar with Doggie. She was my buddy. She was also my other cat Mitzie's playmate, though Doggie didn't exactly see it that way. 

Then, just a few days ago, one of my best friends had to put his cat to sleep. Scratch was a great cat who my friend got around the same time I got Doggie. People who don't have pets never understand how devastating it is to lose one. It isn't "like" losing a member of the family, it is losing a member of the family.
My wife and I were determined to get another cat sometime this summer. Partially for us, but also for Mitzie, who obviously felt really alone after Doggie died. But the idea of going through the process, of saying to ourselves now is the time, was really difficult because you can't help but feel like you're betraying the memory of the cat you lost.

Well, we successfully avoided making that choice when last week, a stray started showing up regularly at my wife's work. The cat had been seen during the winter, but not since. Then...TA-DA! There he was again...hungry and attention starved. I've never seen a cat outside who would come up to a stranger as eagerly as this guy. He was mangy, dirty, has extra toes on all four paws and totally in need of a home, so we decided to feed him for a few days and get him used to us before taking him to the Vet to see if he was healthy. In that time, we named him Mowgli after the Jungle Book character (the personality seemed to fit). 

Yesterday, he got a clean bill of health, got his shots, and we brought him home. He's got his own little room for the time being and he seems to be settling in nicely. 

For anybody who's never had a cat, they are remarkable creatures. They are a completely different kind of pet than dogs. I love dogs and have had my share of dogs. I'm not taking anything away from man's best friend, but cats are special in that they seem to chose you rather than the other way around.

In The Cat Inside, William Burroughs said this about cats:

The cat does not offer services. The cat offers itself.

By that, he's trying to say that a cat, unlike most dogs, doesn't seek your approval, it seeks your friendship. It finds humans that it unhappy cat will always find a new home.

We hope Mowgli will be happy with us. For whatever reason, his last home didn't work out. Either he was left, or lost, or ran away. Regardless, we are going to do our best to give him a good place to stay. We're taking the introduction of two cats very slowly. The last time was a disaster...but we have high hopes that Miztie and Mowgli will be buddies. They're both goofballs after all.

As a celebration of all things feline, here's a list of some of my favorite cats.

Hello Kitty! I love Hello Kitty. As anyone close to me knows, she was the first cartoon I ever had a crush on way back in first grade. I actually wrote the book pictured above. I've written several Hello Kitty stories. 
Sorry Garfield, I'm a Heathcliff man. His rowdy attitude is much more appealing to me. I love his junkyard vibe and his hankering for fish...(lazania? what's that about?)

Hi, Cat! by Ezra Jack Keats is a great picture book. I'm a huge fan of Keats' books. This one is dear to me because the cat looks just like Doggie and the story is of a NYC stray...just like Doggie was.

Alamo Race Track: Black Cat John Brown - the title track off this Dutch band's second album is a great cat themed song. Plus, there's a catgirl on the cover. 

Skippyjon Jones - I love El Skippito...these are great picture books about a mischievous kitten.

CatKid of course! My own half-cat, half-kid character who's just plain CAT-TASTIC! She's two full halves fun...if you haven't read yourself a favor and get ready to laugh your pants off...only they might not even really come off...that's just an expression.


  1. Awesome cat, Brian!!! Sorry if this comment comes up twice... for some reason Blogspot didn't let me sign in the first time. And I think I read somewhere that Hemingway had a bunch of polydactyl cats. In any event, don't hold the whole Papa thing against Mowgli... even though he may be related.

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