One book leads to another...

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Friends of the Famous - V

Rather than regale you with the story of the Roman poet Virgil, who was so incensed when his land was to be considered eminent domain unless he had a family member buried on it that he constructed an elaborate mausoleum wherein he laid to rest a housefly, thus saving his land from the greedy hands of the government,

 I share with you one man’s humorous and poignant journey with a “non-friend” cat he called Valdez.

I took Bob Valdez for a last ride on Tuesday. When I carried him out to the truck, he wanted to know where we were going. It was a rhetorical question. It's hard to fool a cat.

I answered him anyway. "We're going to the vet's."

"Good idea," he said. "I feel awful."

Sick and hurting, he still wanted to drive. I unlatched him from the steering wheel and put him on the passenger seat. He crawled onto the back and perched next to a headrest.

We didn't go straight to the vet's. I drove Valdez around the neighborhood for a last look. Yellow eyes studied the old ambush sites where he murdered anything that came by smaller than a dachshund. There was the tree he stayed in whenever my wife kicked him out over some felony to the furniture. Lately, he'd become incontinent and increasingly defiant. We would come home and find his business in a closet. He'd lie and say the dog did it.

His politics had shifted. A staunch Democrat for years, Bob had started tuning into McCain/Palin ads. We both had. But where I was only looking at Sarah, Bob actually seemed to be listening to John. I had no idea how old Bob was. He showed up at the house one day 11 years ago and just moved in. We never became what most people would call friends. Ours was a relationship based on a mutual distrust of most things.
Bob was intensely suspicious of closed doors, rearranged furniture, blinds, distant sirens and the doorbell. He hated dogs, other cats, loud noises, bright lights, rubber bands and squirt guns.

His worst foes were grandkids. He'd lay into them if they got too close. It was hard to blame him. You wouldn't like someone twice your size towing you around a hardwood floor by your butt, either.

He attacked our youngest granddaughter a couple of weeks ago, leaving a long scratch at the corner of her eye. And that, as they say, was that.

When I pulled into the vet's, Bob climbed off the seatback and into my lap. He'd never done that before. I patted his head. He hooked his claws into my legs. "You know," I said. "Mice in heaven are fatter and the dogs are dumber."

"Who cares?" he replied. "Only morons go to heaven. I'm going to hell. That's where the action is."

I carried him inside. In an exam room, the vet checked Bob over. We discussed the options, all of them delaying tactics against a growing agony. Bob sat in the window and ignored us.

When the time came, I told him I was sorry.

"Don't be," he said. "I'd do the same for you if I could." 

I have no idea where cats go when they die. Maybe like people it's to different places. If so, I'm probably going to see Bob again.

By Robert Kirby, Salt Lake City Tribune         The Infinite Cat

No questions this time folks, but I’d love to know your thoughts.


  1. Hi, dear Diedre!

    Surely many people have owned a cat like Bob, an animal that was set in its ways, one that never cared to have a close, warm and fuzzy relationship with its human owner or with any other living thing for that matter. If you can learn to love and appreciate an animal (or a person) that can't give you everything you want in a relationship, you are coming from unconditional love, the purest and greatest form of love. That's the kind of love that inspires me.

    Thank you, dear friend Diedre, and thank you also for leaving another wonderful comment for Margaret Schneider. Daughter Kathleen is babysitting my blog again this week and will leave a personal reply for you a.s.a.p.

    Happy Tuesday to you!

    1. Mornin' Shady!

      Cats are strange creatures in that it's okay if they adopt you, but not the other way around;-) The last one I had that was a lot like Bob Valdez was a mean old lady we called 'Granny'. But you know, she 'put up' with us for more than ten years and she was already fairly old when we met.

      It was such a sweet, endearing peek at Margaret's birthday week that I couldn't help commenting;-)

      I hope you're enjoying - whatever you are up to!

  2. This was both funny and sad. I didn't really care much for cats until I house-sat for some friends once and fell in love with their bossy and hilarious cat. There are some stories about that cat that I'm sure will make it into future novels of mine.

    1. Hi Quanie!
      I thought that too, the story reminded me so keenly of cat experiences I've had.
      I can't wait to read about your feline friend!
      Thanks for popping in, Quanie:-)

  3. i love cats and wish we could have one but the cat dander is too much for wifey.

    1. Hi Stephen!
      I adore cats too, and by the time I figured since the kids had wrecked the furniture before they moved out and it was safe to have cats around again, we'd adopted two large dogs and acquired an allergic son in-law! So now I spoil the heck out of cats of friends;-)
      Good to see you, Stephen:-)

  4. This was a poignant read... poor cat! We have one, and I will be very sad when her time comes, but I won't miss the fur, or the muddy footprints! The dogg is much easier to live with...

    1. Hi Liz!
      I have to applaud the writer's stoic resolve to lessen the sadness with sprinkles of humor. I'd have been a wreck myself;-)
      Funny,even with all the paw prints and defiant tricks you never want something more than when it's gone.
      Have a wonderful Wednesday, Liz!

  5. I'm not a cat person, but this one softened my heart toward them! And he buried a housefly? Really? That worked to get the government off his case?!

    1. Hi Stephanie!
      Thankfully, the writer interspersed humor to stem the flow of tears he surely must have shed himself.
      Yep, he buried a housefly! And evidently, it worked;-) Crazy, huh?
      Have a laughter-filled day!

  6. Awwww, such a sad post. The cat certainly had his own way, he lived the way he wanted to live. But even still, it was sad he was so ill he started to misbehave. It's rough being in a good mood when one is sick. One of the biggest fears I about getting a pet is the inevitable day I have to put it down. I'm far to emotional for that, I don't know how I would handle it.

    1. Hi Jeffrey!
      Yeah, a bittersweet story, indeed. There are times when bitter blends with better to make the best of days and you don't mind the rain as long as there are bells of laughter. All we can do is keep thinking the good thoughts;-)
      Have a rockin' Wednesday!


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