Thursday, November 29, 2007

When Gerald Was a Kitten

Hi, Oscar here, and I’ve been meowing a lot all this morning because everybody was sleeping late and no one was paying enough attention to me because I wanted a drink of water out of the tub but Uncle Kevin had his orchids in it and so Daddy gave me a drink from the sink but that’s not the same as a drink from the tub so I meowed and pestered until Uncle Kevin finally got up and moved his orchids out of the tub and gave me my drink but then he went outside to get coffee and Daddy was still sleeping and no one in this house has figured out that I’m the master of this house now and it’s not my job to go where Uncle Kevin and Daddy put themselves but it’s their job to put themselves next to me which is what they finally did in the mid-morning, so here I am sitting in my kitty tree ready for my mid-morning nap and Uncle Kevin and Daddy are both sitting next to me working on their computers which means they’re exactly where I want them.

And yesterday evening I meowed a lot because no one was paying enough attention to me since Daddy went into the office this morning and Uncle Kevin went too which left me alone for the morning hours and when Uncle Kevin came home in the afternoon I needed to be served so I meowed and meowed and Uncle Kevin decided to starve the poor little black kitty and waited until Daddy came home at 6:30 p.m. to feed me my dinner and I was about to perish from starvation even though my dish already had leftover kibble in it but that was the morning’s kibble and I wanted new kibble and I especially wanted some of that leftover turkey and when Daddy came home he finally gave me some turkey but then he had a turkey sandwich of his own so of course I had to jump into his lap to get some more turkey but for some strange reason Daddy doesn’t want me to sit on his lap while he’s eating so I had to wait a whole fifteen minutes before Daddy let me lick his plate and I swore I was going to die of hunger again while I was waiting but finally I got my fill and then I meowed for a drink of water from the tub and Daddy was actually listening to me this time so I got a nice drink.

It was Gerald who taught me how to drink from the tub because Gerald always used to drink water from the sink when he was a kitten but he stopped doing it when he got older, and in fact Daddy says there was a lot of kittenish behavior that Gerald grew out of but that I kept doing because I was always the little brother. So for today’s blog I thought I’d remember all the things people have said about what Gerald was like as a kitten before I came around, and I’ve seen the pictures so I guess I have to believe them.

It’s difficult to summarize a kitty cat’s life on a blog because kitty cats don’t have careers like people do, so I can’t say things like Gerald went to school at such and such a place or began his first job at such and such a time or worked for such and such a company or got such and such a promotion or wrote a book or sculpted a sculpture or starred in a film or those kinds of people things; and Gerald never got married and never had children and never even took care of his own parents the way people do. But then I’m a kitty cat writing this blog, so those kinds of things don’t really matter to me, either, since what’s most important in summarizing a kitty cat’s life are the memories of all the joy and laughter he brought to others, and an appreciation of his character, personality and temperament, because Gerald was a very proud cat and very different from me, and the more you can understand how special a cat it, the better.

It was September of 1993 when Daddy went to the Humane Society in Toledo, Ohio, with Aunty Amy to choose Daddy’s very first kitten and he wanted a black kitty like me but there were not black cats there that day and he chose Gerald because he was an adorable ginger kitten that had been picked up as a street cat and Daddy fell in love with him when he first saw him. And they gave Gerald a flea bath at Popo’s house in Toledo then drove to Daddy’s house in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and took Gerald to the kitty doctor for his first check-up and the kitty doctor said Gerald’s teeth were about four months old so they counted backwards and decided Gerald’s birthday was May 2 which was easy to remember because it was the same birthday as one of Daddy’ favorite teddy bears named Pebe, who looks like this:

This means that Gerald’s zodiac sign is Taurus, which means he was bull-headed and stubborn, which definitely describes him. And when Gerald first came to Ann Arbor he had ear mites, which is not unusual for kittens that are street cats, so Daddy had to put a yucchy sticky medicine in Gerald’s ears for a few weeks and Gerald always hated it. And Daddy lived with Aunty Beth and Uncle Brian and Aunty Sarah they all spoiled Gerald a lot and loved to play with him, but Gerald always loved to sleep right next to Daddy every night even though Daddy had bought Gerald a special basket to sleep in. And Gerald had his front claws in those days so he had his own scratching post but also loved to scratch the legs of Daddy’s chair and tore the upholstery to shreds. And when Gerald was about six months old they took him to the kitty doctor to get “fixed” but the receptionist at the vet forgot to tell Daddy not to feed Gerald on the morning of his operation, and Daddy did, so when they got to the vet, they said they couldn’t fix Gerald that day because he had eaten, so they had to take Gerald home again and kept saying, “Well, Gerald, you get to keep your nuts for a little longer,” until finally a few days later he went back in and this time he didn’t get fed anything in the morning so he came back from the vet the next day as a castrato.

And Gerald was very naughty as a kitten since one time he knocked over a lamp in Daddy’s room and the porcelain base broke into lots of little pieces and the lamp didn’t even belong to Daddy but it was a really ugly lamp and Gerald had impeccable taste so I say it was a good thing he got rid of that lamp but Daddy wasn’t happy. And Gerald loved to chew on plants but Daddy wasn’t exactly strict about it because he actually bought Gerald his very own fern plant to do with whatever he wanted, and this is what Gerald did:

and the fern only lasted about two years until one day Gerald knocked the whole plant off its place on the refrigerator and that was the end of that fern. And Gerald loved to chew things including the feather toy and Daddy had to be very careful when playing feather toy because Gerald would get the string in his mouth and keep chewing and one time he had almost swallowed the entire string before Daddy noticed. When Gerald was a kitten he liked to explore things so Daddy would sometimes put Gerald on a leash and try taking him for a walk in the back garden or down the street and Gerald would always walk very slowly and sniff out every corner or stop and chew on grass and it wasn’t like walking a dog at all, because dogs will follow their owners and heel, but kitties like Gerald just go wherever they please, and it’s people who heel to their kitties. And Gerald also loved to walk on his leash in the Michigan snow:

One good thing about Gerald was that he didn’t like people food but stuck to eating his dry kitten food and one time Daddy tried feeding Gerald some cooked shrimp but Gerald threw it all up because it was too rich for him. Gerald never really liked catnip either, so Daddy used to joke that Gerald was “saying no to kitty drugs.” So Gerald never really bothered people while they were eating, with the exception of one food that Gerald went bonkers for, and that was onion rye bread from Zingermann’s bakery, and whenever Daddy ate some Gerald would come running from his hiding spot and climb on Daddy’s lap and beg for some bread.

And did you know that Gerald knew how to read? Or at least he tried to read when he was very young, according to this picture:

Yes, Gerald was quite an intellectual kitty, which explains why he always climbed on Daddy’s desk whenever he was trying to study or jumped on Uncle Kevin’s lap whenever he was working on a bunch of papers because of course Gerald wanted to see what everyone else was reading; and he even helped Daddy print things from his computer, because of course Gerald wanted to proofread it first:

And Gerald liked to watch TV too, and one time Daddy had a special video tape for kitty cats which had scenes of squirrels and bugs and mice and fish, and Gerald would sometimes climb on top of the TV and lean his head over the screen and try watching the video upside down, but in the end they played the tape so much that it broke, so Gerald preferred watching cooking shows, and I myself prefer soap operas:

And when Gerald got to be over a year old he stopped a lot of his kittenish behavior and started pretending he was Mr. Independent by hiding in his special kitty spaces all day, and he would disappear for hours and everyone in the house would be looking for him and he’d usually be in Aunty Beth’s closet hiding behind her sweaters or he’d be in the very back of the kitchen cupboards sleeping behind the pots and pans or he’d be behind Uncle Brian’s computer, and a couple times he even got out the door that joined our apartment to a communal laundry room, and he’d run upstairs and get into the neighbors’ apartment, and the neighbors would knock on Daddy’s door and lo and behold they’d have Gerald in their hands.

And one time Gung Gung took Gerald to church because Gung Gung was a minister and one time he was giving a guest sermon at Home Acres Community Church in Toledo, Ohio (which might have been called Home Acres First Church of God back then) and he used Gerald for show-and-tell during the children’s sermon which was all about “bad habits,” but how God forgives us and loves us even if we have bad habits, just like Daddy forgave Gerald if he did something bad. So Gerald sat on a pedestal in the chancel of the church for the whole sermon and was very proud (but it helped that Daddy was holding him by the scruff of the neck so he wouldn’t run around).

And then in May of 1995 Daddy and Aunty Amy went to the Humane Society in Toledo, Ohio, again to try to find a black kitty, and they found me, and the woman who raised me aid I was exactly 2 months old, so they decided my birthday was March 17, which makes my zodiac sign a Pisces, which means I’m supposed to be shy and indecisive and little clueless, and I guess that does describe me, what do you think?

And I’ve told you all about how Gerald taught me everything I know about being a cat, and I sure do miss my brother Gerald because he was always good to me and as soon as I came along he mellowed out and let me be the rascal while he became the responsible older brother, and Daddy says I’ve never stopped being a rascal. But let’s not forget that Gerald was once a rascal, too.


No comments: