Probably the hardest thing to leave behind when I left my wife was Munchkin, the wonderful butterscotch tabby who has been my avatar on another discussion board, never mind one of my favorite pictures of him. He’s my bestest buddy and I’m his person, and he was one of the very few things that made living in that house tolerable. Would have loved to take him with me, but he’s my daughter’s cat, as described elsewhere here. I still see him now and again, and he hasn’t forgotten me in the least bit … but I still miss him.
We started out with two cats at my gal’s (and now my) place: Boo and Sadie. Boo is a sweet ol’ lady, a bit stand-offish, but a decent cat. Sadie (short for Sadist!) is a bit bipolar. She likes a good pat-pat and will even sit in my lap now and then, but can be downright nasty when she’s of a mind. Neither Boo nor Sadie are quite so gregarious as Munch is, and I honestly miss that. It still doesn’t stop me from giving them a scritch-scritch or brushing them now and again … but it isn’t the same.
Last summer, my gal told me that one of her clients was moving to a place that didn’t allow cats, and would we be interested in adopting theirs? Honestly, I was a bit dubious. Two cats in an apartment isn’t bad; three might be pushing things slightly, and there is always the matter of how the newcomer will or will not get along with the current residents. Still, there was no harm in taking a look, so after work one day, she and I drove out to her client’s location on the West Side. After some fits and starts about getting admitted to the building, we entered and found their apartment … and met Morris:
My first impression was: what a handsome fellow, a long-hair with a beautifully marked coat which was positively silken! I picked him up … he wasn’t totally wild for being picked up, but wasn’t averse to it, either, and my impression was that he was a friendly fellow and of a mild temperament. My gal and I exchanged glances … yeah, let’s go for it! Properties were gathered up, his former owners said their good-byes, Morris was loaded into his cat carrier, and the three of us headed home.
Opening the carrier back at our place, I was not surprised that Morris was in no ways interested in leaving it. The poor fella, he had just lost what he had known as his home, and that kind of dislocation is no fun for humans, let alone cats. I took the top off the carrier in the darkened room and set some treats in front of him. He may have hissed at me once or twice, but he could hardly be blamed. Poor guy had no idea where he was.
It was a day or so before Morris decided to explore outside the spare bedroom and begin to integrate himself with the rest of the family. Sadly, Sadie and Boo wanted nothing to do with this new interloper. He might walk up to one of them, no fuss, no threat, only to have the other hiss and make a fuss. Occasionally he might lift a paw to bat at them (though it’s obvious he doesn’t mean a thing by it); he wants to play, but they aren’t having any. There are the inevitable disagreements between Morris and Sadie or Boo, frequently repeated. There’s never any harm done, but neither Sadie nor Boo have figured out that all Morris is looking for is a friend to play with.
And it may be that I became that friend. I’ve made a point of paying attention to him when I’m home (which is most of the time, these days), though at least part of that time I have to remind him not to piss off Sadie or Boo when he attempts for the umpti-umpth time to say, “Hi, what’s up?” I pet him, talk to him and brush him and have discovered something he has in common with my buddy, the Munch: he LOVES to have his belly rubbed! Neither Sadie nor Boo will have anything to do with belly-rubbing. Morris is quite happy to be massaged, petted, rubbed or scritched anywhere on his personage and invites more! Though his coat doesn’t particularly need to be brushed, I brush him every couple of days, if for no other reason than to prevent hairballs (and he has DOOZIES, too!), but in so doing, I discovered that Morris especially likes to feel the tines of the brush on the sides of his face! In fact, there have been times when I started brushing him and he turns to me as though to say, “Get that thing up here!” and I’ll alternate brushing either side of his face. He just loves it.
Something else to note: Morris is rather a long cat and associated with that is an interesting talent. First of all, Morris is a flopping kitty-cat. He will unceremoniously drop himself just about anywhere there’s enough space. Not only does he flop, but he can just about flop in two directions at the same time! As proof, I offer Exhibit A:
No, this picture is not posed; I’ve seen Morris either in this pose or something very similar more times than I can count, and every time I see him like that, I have to chuckle, at the very least.
In addition, Morris is a ghostbuster. That’s the only way I can explain it. He will, out of nowhere, take off at a dead sprint, chase after some invisible monster, attack it on the floor or jump at it on a wall, several times, if necessary, then ZING someplace else to continue this same process until the aforementioned ghost is dispatched. Hey, it’s handy! If we didn’t have Morris, I’d probably have to call Bill Murray and/or Dan Ackroyd about the ghosts, and that could run into money.
Oh, and I almost forgot! Morris is also a guerrilla cat! He will hide behind bed shams or my robe if it's draped over a chair and attack feet passing by! I was reminded of that this morning, when passing by the corner of the bed. Seemingly out of nowhere, a paw flashed out and POUNCED! I've occasionally found him with his butt sticking out of one side of a bed corner, pouncing from the other side of the corner! Stealth cat ... yeah, right! I should mention, too: he has claws still ... but he doesn't use them. Just a sweet ol' cat who couldn't mean any harm if he tried.
So, has Morris taken Munchkin’s place? Nope, that’ll never happen, though Morris works to endear himself to me about any chance he gets. If I’m at my laptop typing and he wants my attention, he’ll start with a strop at my legs. If that isn’t sufficient, he may say, “Aaooww?” [What the heck, guy, I need a hand here!], and if that doesn’t get it done, I will shortly feel front paws on one side of me or the other and a furry head bopping at me – [C’mon, guy, I mean right naaaoooow!] He still doesn’t sit in my lap. Actually, he jumped into my lap once and stayed a while. I think it surprised both him and me, and I wonder if he wasn’t taught at some point that lap-sitting was wrong [gad, I hope not]. He will join me on the couch to watch TV or listen to music and he will frequently talk to me, just to say hi. AND it may be that the other cats are mellowing to Morris as well. In fact, he and Sadie were caught briefly grooming each other, before Sadie remembered, "Oh, wait, I'm supposed to be bipolar - RAAAWR!!!"
He is a gentle, comical, sweet-tempered cat … and I just plain love him to pieces…