Friday, February 24, 2012
Not too long after I met Fritz in the spring of 1997, we went down to the Animal Shelter in Boston that's just on the border between the South End and the Theater District. Over the years, I'd gone there for several cats. There was no record of her date of birth; like so many of their animals, she had come from someone who couldn't keep her (a lot of the cards on the cages said "Owner incarcerated," for example). She wasn't a kitten but clearly a young adult. I figure she's now just about 16 years old, still very healthy and active.
I don't think I would ever given her the name Starr. The associations for me are Ken Starr, the sleazy lawyer in the Bill and Hilary Clinton Whitewater investigation, and Brenda Starr the cartoon character. But she knew and answered to the name, so Starr she has remained.
Starr is very vocal. It's unquestionable that there's a fair amount amount of Siamese in her background; the voice is unmistakable. We like to have "conversations" back and forth. We have no idea what each other is saying but there's a real give and take in our utterances. But she has one or two yowls, markedly different from each other, that she uses for one thing and one thing only. There's a very loud and deep one that sounds like O-yow that means a hair ball's coming up. It gives me just enough time to steer her off a rug and onto some bare floor.
She has her rituals. After we've been out of the house for a while, she'll greet us at the kitchen door with a lot of yammering and then run just inside the living room, throw herself down on a hand worked Moroccan rug and roll over on her back for a tummy rub. If the rub isn't forthcoming when she feels it should be, there will be a great deal of writhing around making chirping sounds. When I dress or undress, she's always in the room on her back on the rug looking for a handful of fingers to rake her tummy fur back and forth.
One of the rituals I wish she'd drop is the walk she takes some time, or a couple of times, each night through the entire house from the living room through the kitchen, down the long hall through the dressing room into our bedroom, yowling all the way. Sometimes I sleep through it but it frequently wakes Fritz.
We have simple but very nice pocket doors in various places in the house, mostly in the back hall area and dressing room to eliminate lots of doors opening into the hall. They're pine and their bottom surface rides about an inch and a half above the floor. It took her a couple of years to teach herself how to open them. She drops to the floor on one flank, gets her paw under the door and hooks the leading edge of it with a claw or two. It's simple then to pull the door open (the concealed overhead tracks roll very smoothly and easily) and in two or three seconds she'll have the door open enough to get in and out whenever she wants.
I couldn't live without a cat.
We brought him into the house during our recent extreme cold spell, but we had to keep the dog and cat separated at all times. The cat's ok with the dog, but the dog only wants to chase and snap at the cat. No amount of return aggression from the cat will deter her.
I know what it is like to love an aging cat.
I have to come out of the cat closet & just admit that we now have a cat. We had an orphan living in our basement who moved in with his ancient cat- Henry. This person ended up in prison & we were stuck with Henry. He is sweet & has his charms.