Sunday, February 16, 2014

Song of Solomon

I met Solomon on the day he was born, February 12, 1979.  Momcat Satia was jet black and she had miraculously birthed a virtual rainbow of kittens.  There was an orange tiger, a solid gray, a dark tabby, a black and white cow kitty, and Solomon - solid white and a polydactl like his mommy.

The litter was ensconced in a comfy box in the closet of Gary's tiny apartment overlooking Symphony Circle and Kleinhan's Music Hall.  Gary's massive record collection, lining every wall, made the place even smaller.  I frequently stopped by on my way home from work to see the kittens and listen to new music.  A few days after his birth I noticed Solomon's legs and tail had begun to darken.  Gary laughed at me when I told him Solomon was going to be Siamese.  A Siamese polydactl - very funny!

His points continued to darken and by the time he came home with me he really looked like a traditional apple-head sealpoint Siamese - with his huge paws looking very much like boxing gloves with claws.

Solomon was a friend to every cat he ever met.  He was Uncle Solomon, grooming and encircling his friends with constant love and attention.  He ended up with more nicknames than any cat I have ever known:  Mamou, Solo Moose, O Solo Mio, Moosie Boy, Big Mamou, Solid Moose, Bigfoot, Sweet Mamou and Uncle-the-Moose.  He grew and grew and grew - probably weighing 15 pounds in his prime.

One of his best friends in the kitty household was Junior, tabby daughter of tabby Leelah.  When Junior became pregnant, I figured her dear friend Solomon would be the perfect surrogate father to her litter.  I could not have been more wrong.  The first time I introduced him to the nest of little squirmy babies, his eyes widened in terror and he ran for the hills.  He was petrified of those little balls of fluff.  He would not even go near poor Junior; she was crushed and confused to lose her dear friend.

One evening after the kittens had ventured forth into the big world of the hallway, I watched as an amazing tableau unfolded.  Solomon had decided to stretch out in the middle of the hall and the kittens were playing and frolicking around him.  Every time a kitten ended up within his reach he batted it away in disgust.  But they kept coming, one after another, a furry little battalion of determined soldiers on a mission.  This went on for at least a half an hour.  Kitten after kitten tried, failed and then tried again to win him over.  He was having none of it - bat, bat, bat!  The kittens were flung this way and that.

I do not know how or why the switch got thrown in his mind, but very suddenly he licked a kitten's head, instead of batting it across the floor.  And then, just as suddenly all of the kittens were all over him and he was grooming them and enfolding them in his mighty embrace.  Uncle-the-Moose was on the job!  And Mama Junior was once again his best friend.

Solomon lived a long, healthy happy life. His blue eyes glowed with unconditional love. His purr was loud and resonant.  His whole body vibrated when he was purring.  Then, suddenly in May of 1992, his purr fell silent.  A most mysterious sickness overtook him and I became very afraid.  On the last night he spent in the house, I slept on the floor in the hall closet to be close to him, to comfort him.  He went to the vet the next morning, dehydrated, nauseated, not eating.  He was whisked away for treatment and the vet said he would call when he had news.  Unfortunately, when the vet did phone, it was to tell me Solomon had passed away.  It was only the necropsy which revealed the cause of death - peritonitis. My only solace was knowing he had not suffered a lengthy illness - but I wish I had been able to say a proper goodbye to my Sweet Mamou.

Solomon February 12, 1979 - May 31, 1992