6.14.2012

Thumper

Thumper, the three-legged wonder.
In my life I've only ever liked three four* cats. I'm a dog person from a dog family, so it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise.

Splotch was a tortiseshell cat that we adopted when I was four or five years old. I vividly remember going to pick her out at the home of a family friend. She spent a lot of time hiding under my bed, trying to escape the clutches of my twin toddler brothers. When I was nine or ten, she ingested rat poison and died shortly thereafter. Her death was one of the most traumatic experiences in my life (and one of my mom's admitted worst parenting moments). Long story short, my mom was trying to get my brothers and I off to school. Splotch started to move around, and I thought she was trying to get out of the carrier she was in. But no, she was seizing right before dying. I literally held my cat in my arms as she died. Then my mom said, 'Well, time to catch the bus,' and sent us out the door. Of COURSE I cried the whole way to school and cried through art class before Mr. Gribble, bless his heart, took me down to the office so I could call my mom. She rescued me and we went and got donuts at the grocery store. I have since recovered from the trauma, though I do bring it up occasionally to harass her.

*****

We didn't have another cat for many years. My brother found a tiny black kitten somewhere and brought it home. My parents really didn't want a cat in the house, so they agreed to let the mewling creature sleep in our shed across the street. As the weather grew chillier, my mom brought the cat into the mud room and we named him Alfonso. No more than a month later, Fonzo was living in the house, wearing a collar with vaccination tags. He made the move from Nevada to Peru several years later. After several days of international travel, it would be an understatement to say that he was upset. Upon opening his travel crate, my family saw a flash of black shoot past and didn't see Fonzo for a month. He hid behind the stove in the kitchen, coming out in the middle of the night to eat and do his business. Once he came out of hiding, he refused to go outside. In order to get him to cooperate, one of us would hold open the screen door and someone else would chuck Fonzo as far as they could. He would stalk back across the yard with his ears pressed against his head. He would launch himself onto the screen door with a THWAP and growl until he was allowed back in. He eventually grew accustomed to Peru, disappearing for weeks at a time and returning with fox-bitten ears and dead birds. He eventually succumbed to the effects of feline AIDS, but he was feisty until the very end.

*****

Right before she bit me.
My in-laws recently took in a three-legged cat. She is still a baby, and a pissy one at that. I like her because she stands up to Greta and my brother-in-law's dog, Jake. Let's be honest, though, Greta is afraid of paper bags and dry leaves, so that's not saying a whole lot. Jake, on the other hand....well, Thumper puts him in his place. My father-in-law named the cat Thumper because she pounds her tail on the floor when she wants to play with the laser pointer or her catnip-laced mouse. My mother-in-law told me that she's been the recipient of a dead bird and a partially dead mouse in the last week. Despite having three legs, Thumper is not disadvantaged by any stretch of the imagination. Now if I only I could get her to stop biting me when we play...

*****

Thank you to Kelly for reminding me about Tiny, the birthday-cake eating phenom that I got to know in Massachusetts. I'm so embarrassed that I forgot about him!

3 comments:

Maggie B. said...

those are just love bites! =) i miss having cats, but my mom has 3 so i get my fill when we visit her. we're down to just 1 dog now {we put our other dog down earlier this week} so the house is feeling a bit empty.

what a charming cat thumper is though! =)

Kelly said...

Don't you mean 4 cats? Surely you have a place in your heart for Tiny the Cat. :)

Señora H-B said...

Maggie - Good reminder. She's a feisty little baby.

Kelly - How could I have forgotten Tiny? I'm amending the post!