Sunday, April 20, 2008

Missing My Cat Friends




We get so attached to our pets. These are the cats I came to know and love and still think about and miss:

My Dad's cats My dad took fed and took care of the cats who came by his house. Some he let inside but always fed the outdoor ones as well. He spent more money on cat food and litter than he did on food for himself. He built a kitty motel for the strays in the neighborhood to give them shelter and food and even heat in the winter! (Read more about dad's cats in the book I wrote in his memory, My Funny Dad, Harry, available on http://www.bn.com/ and http://www.amazon.com/):

Razzle Dazzle a/k/a Razzle Frazzle (right) was a very big and bushy cat. I think in may have been a Maine Coon. It's tail was huge. He was the dominant cat of the neighborhood for the most part. He was leary of people and it took a long time for him to trust me, but he finally got to the place where he even let me pet him! He'd let me pet him while he ate, but then would run away as soon as he was finished. My dad tried getting him to come in the house but this cat wanted no part of that! Once he did go in, but ran back out right away and that was as close as he got to being an inside cat.

Bootsie (top) was the first cat my dad took in because he noticed it was sick and although my mom didn't want any cats in the house, she relented and allowed my dad to bring Bootsie into the hallway. This was my first experience with a sick cat. My dad took it to a vet and got some pills that he was supposed to get the cat to take orally which didn't work! Bootsie was nice cat who liked being pet.

Blackie (bottom above) was my dad's very good companion. It would follow him around and watch him whenever he was working in the yard. Once my mom died, Blackie then became his first indoor cat. It liked being pushed around on the wheel chair and rolling on the floor.

Another cat that came in shortly after Blackie was Diamond Jim (right). Both lived upstairs at first. Diamond Jim is the one with the white flea collar. He was another all black cat that was very laid back. I don't remember what happened to him, but he was a nice cat too.

On the right Blackie is sitting in the window looking out and her friend, Timi, is lying on the chair. I named Timi that because he was so timid, but eventually he did let me pet him. He was actually more petable than Blackie. Timi never got over his love for the outdoors though and would often sneak out and then come back in a day or two. When Timi caught a cold that wouldn't go away, my dad and I took him to the vet, but before we got in the building, he busted out of the carrier and ran away!

Here's a picture of my dad, Harrington ("Harry") Arlettaz with one of the strays he took in, Sweet Thing a/k/a Whacky. Sweet Thing was such a nice cat. It was a bit shy and didn't let just anybody pet him, but he let me pet him a lot. He also liked it when I brushed him. All I had to do was stand by the table with the brush and up he'd jump. He was friends with Softie (below right). They would both jump up on the kitchen counter and eat together every morning. Sweet Thing's favorite spot to lay was on top of an air conditioner which was still in a box in the middle of the dining room. My dad bought three at once because they were on sale but only got one installed. Both Sweet Thing and Softie lived in the upstairs of my dad's double house.

Softie was all black with big eyes. She loved to play with the feather on the string. Her fur was so smooth and soft that I named her Softie. She was a fairly small cat and very playful. Sometimes Sweet Thing would chase her but she didn't seem to mind. She liked looking out the front window.


Sylvester looks like a little bobcat. He had feline aids and had to be separate from the other cats so had a private bedroom upstairs with Sweet Thing and Softie. My dad replaced the wood in the bottom panel of the bedroom door with plexiglass so they could see each other and so we could see in to see where he was before opening the door. My dad put a chain lock on the door so it would open only so far so in the hot summer months, Sylvester's door could be open slightly to get air from a fan. The air conditioner in the dining room (one was installed in the window) worked very well. Sylvester was usually great with people. He had a bad case of ear mites at one time and scracthed his one ear so much that it bled. I finally convinced dad to take him to a vet and we got it cleared up with some medication. Sylvester would lay on my lap and loved to be pet. But sometimes he'd get out and he and Sweet Thing would have a big cat fight. Softie just went and hid while they went at it.


(left) Striper was a pretty cat and extremely friendly and loved to climb. He would climb on dad's back and dad would walk around with the cat hanging on. Dad let him come in the house, but the other cats were not happy about it so Striper pretty much camped out in the basement. He liked laying in the clothes chute and climbing on dad's workbench. He didn't mind all the junk and clutter at all. He loved the cat nip so much that one day he jumped up on the kitchen counter, opened up the cupboard and helped himself to the catnip dad had put away in there. When he got sick, (some kind of blood disease) he climbed up into the drop ceiling of the basement and we couldn't get him down until finally after several days he came down on his own and we took him to the vet, but it was too late. I'll always remember that day because it was on the fourth of July.


Shortly after Striper died and Timi ran away, there was a litter of four kittens born. They are all huddled together in my dad's front yard here in the corner by the porch. The black and white one on top is the one I took to live with me named Spunky Rooey, later Spunky Bookie and now Spunky Doodle. Here she weighed about 3 lbs. and now she weighs 13 lbs. and is 4 years old!


This poor calico was a mess, but oh, so friendly! It was just starved for attention and found my dad's house. It always wanted to come inside, but my dad was 89 and already had three cats to take care of that he could barely manage. I felt so sorry for this little one, but knew it would need medical attention and I couldn't take in another one either. It would come over in the morning when it saw me arrive at my dad's and then follow me part way to the bus stop. One day when my dad came out to feed the outdoor cats, Scruffy went right by the door waiting to go in. My dad used a cane and could not move fast. He knew Scruffy would run inside if he opened the door, so he waited on the porch for two hours until the cat left to go back inside. My dad was a very patient man!

Please know that there were many more cats who frequented the kitty motel, but these are the only ones I have pictures of. My dad was such a gentle, kind hearted man that he let his cats rule the house. Even when he had trouble walking because his legs were so weak, he'd still climb the stairs if he could and go outside, even in the winter, to feed his outdoor friends and give them water.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I love cats. Check out litterhouse.com to see my great invention

Bcarter said...

How kind of your dad to take all of those cats in; that really touches my heart.

Karen Zemek, author of "My Funny Dad, Harry" said...

bcarter:
My dad was a very kind man indeed! thanks for commenting!

anonymous:
That litterhouse is very attractive but $70 is a lot of money. Maybe that would make a nice Christmas present for my cats this year.

Amel's Realm said...

Oh your Dad is really something!!! :-))))

Peanut said...

Youz Dad had lots and lots o catz. I'z got ony 1 catz in my house, and he'z biggers dan me. With so many catz I bet youz stayed real warm at night.

JD at I Do Things said...

Oh, I love your dad! I have an aunt who takes in stray cats. At one time she had as many as 12, and some of them were entire families. I wish my husband would let me have more cats. Altho if left to my own devices, I wouldn't be able to turn ANY away!

Shadow / Molly said...

Yoo know we fink dat any bean dat is nice to us kittehs is a furry good bean!

Fank yoo fer stopping by TT's remembrance today.

Karen, author of "My Funny Dad, Harry" said...

Amel's Realm: Thanks for commenting on my dad! He definitely was really something!

Peanut: Funny about my dad's cats, they seldom slept on his lap (he slept in a chair when he had all these cats because it was easier than getting out of bed when he broke his hip).

JD: I know what you mean about not being able to turn any cats away--they are all so cute and amazing and need care. Your aunt sounds like a great "cat lady." Sorry it took me so long to respons to your comment.

Shadow/Molly: My dad loved kitties very, very much! I'm sure TT was a great cat! Our cats will always have a special place in our hearts.

Nikita Cat said...

Your Dad was a Hero, & an Angel, to care so much for so many members of Pussydom Asembled!

Such wonderful pictures!

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