Monday, September 12, 2016

Four Cat Stories

One of the countless benefits of being known as a cat lover is the abundance of cat tales that people share with me.  Here are four of my favorites.

A woman who stopped by our booth at Music is Art told me two great cat stories.  The first was about her aloof kitty named Snowbell.  She liked to keep a bell on his collar and over the years he had managed to ditch every single one.  But she stubbornly continued to buy new bells for him.  She ran a day care in her house and one day a child came up to her and said, “That cat hates bells.”  She immediately removed the bell from the collar and the word “bell” from his name.  Snow transformed into a friendly, playful, and snuggly kitty for the rest of his life – and when she replaced her old refrigerator she discovered almost a dozen dusty bells on the floor.

The second story she told me involved Snow’s brother.  I cannot remember his original name but he was almost as reserved as his brother and a troublemaker to boot.  She kept a framed photo of her late husband Gus on the mantle and almost every day this cat would leap onto the mantle and knock the photo onto the floor.  One day she caught him approaching the frame, ready to swat it down.  In her anger she yelled out her husband’s name instead of the cat’s name. “Gus!  Stop that!”  The cat stopped immediately, jumped down, ran over to her and kissed her on the cheek.  He never messed with the photo again and she changed his name to Gus (apparently with her late husband’s blessings).  Gus the cat never messed with the photograph again.

Two of my favorite cat stories came to me from one of my dearest customers at the shop.  Beverly Goldsman was a brilliant and meticulous collage artist and a whimsical storyteller.  She loved to tell stories about her quirky kitty, the inimitable Theodore Roosevelt Goldsman – Theo. 

Theo was an indoor/outdoor cat with friends all over the neighborhood.  Then he went missing.  A search was launched, but after a week there had been no sign of him.  The whole family was upset, but Beverly’s teenage daughter was especially distraught.  One day she stayed home from school because she was so distressed and her worried mother stayed home to be by her side.
As she was comforting her daughter, an unusual vision popped into Beverly’s head - a local street sign at a nearby intersection, by the bus stop bench.  With no explanation to her daughter, she grabbed her car keys and dashed out the door.  She drove to the intersection and there on the bench sat Theo.  She opened up the passenger door and he hopped right into the car as if  he had done it many times before.  If her daughter had been astonished to see her mother rush pell-mell out the door, she was even more amazed when Beverly returned with a very smug Theo.
On another occasion, Beverly and her family had been away on vacation for over a week.  A neighborhood girl had been in charge of feeding and caring for Theo.  On the day of their return, Beverly could hardly wait to see her beloved kitty but he was nowhere to be found inside the house.  She went across the street to speak with the teenage caretaker who told her Theo had been seen only that morning.  So Beverly set out down the street to locate him, calling his name.  About a block away from home, she spotted him halfway down the next block.  He saw her and began running towards her, as she ran towards him (yes, just like that old commercial).

When he was about ten feet away from Beverly, Theo suddenly remembered that he was angry at her for abandoning him for so long and he skidded to an abrupt halt, turned slowly around, and sat down with his back to her.  She told me it was like watching a cat in a cartoon.

To quote cartoonist B. Kliban, “Mysterious little creatures, aren’t they?”