Search This Blog

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween 2011


TBT:  Today is a grand holiday of fun and mischief, and I hope all of you have a wonderful time with little kids in costumes coming around tonight.  They don't come through this neighborhood anymore.  Mostly, for me, it is a day of remembrance.  You see, today is the 19th anniversary of Skeeter's Gotcha Day and the 18th anniversary of LC's Gotcha Day. 

I got Skeeter on this day in 1992 on a whim.  There was an old fashioned pet store on the back street of my town, and I stopped by on the way home from work.  The place was a renovator's nightmare.  The same day in 1993, I got LC.  at the same place.  It was a lot calmer then.

When I started cat-blogging in 2006, both of them were elderly, but it was a new exciting adventure for us.  Skeeter went over the Bridge in December 2008.  LC followed him in January 2010.  But I kept a cat diary many years of them and before them.  Please recall that this is what was written  In a diary, before I blogged. though it IS what I blogged later.  I hope that makes sense.

I think I will copy the first Halloween days of our blog to remember this date...

(From The Big Thing's Cat Diary, 1992)

Having heard of the enjoyment that some other cats have gotten from having a playmate, I decided to get a playmate for my adult cat Tinkerbelle in Fall 1992. I had in mind finding a female Siamese (my family had female Siamese cats when I was young, and I seem to get along better with female cats than males), but I ended up with an orange male kitten!

On Halloween Day, I passed a pet store I hadn't noticed previously. Upon entering, I was assailed by commotion, noise, and a multitude of workers busily engaged in renovating the entire shop. As I turned to leave, the owner told me they were quite open for business and asked what I was looking for. It turned out that the only kitten available was an orange tabby male. What a sight! The poor thing had been alone in a small cage and engulfed in dust, noise, and strange people for over a week. He clung to me and cried; my heart went out to him and I brought him home.

How purr-fect! My Halloween cat was orange and was born (as near as can be determined) on the 4th of July. It took two days before he would come anywhere near me, but by getting down on hands and knees (closer to eye level), I eventually got to scratch him on the head. Talk about a complete change! After that, I couldn't get him away from me for weeks! I learned that any approach from above panicked him, especially combined with a reaching out (and down) of hands. I concluded that he was abused by humans as a kitten and feared hands! The noise and dust from the pet shop renovation seemed to have him permanently afraid of sudden noises. It seems that, even when I buy a kitten, it has been psychologically harmed. From that rough beginning, we have become inseparable.

His name took some time to discover. I worked on his orange/white color, his Halloween adoption date and his 4th of July birthdate. I finally decided that he hung around me like a mosquito, so I named him Skeeter.

Unfortunately, Tinkerbelle did not take to Skeeter as I did. Poor little Skeeter wanted nothing more than to become friends with Tinker, but she would bat him and drive him away. He put up with that for months before he gave up trying to curl up next to her or eat out of the same food bowl. He was happiest when draped over my shoulder like a bag of sugar, purring away. While Tinker was my companion from our times of troubles, Skeeter became my favorite cat. He is so friendly and affectionate. When we are outside together, he wants to stay nearby.

Skeeter became a dedicated lap cat!  If I sit down for a minute, he is there to hop up and curl up on my lap. He will even leave a heated waterbed in preference for my lap and some scratching. Sometimes his eyes roll up from the pleasure of being scratched around the head. One time, I think he actually passed out from it.

There’s a little bit of a saber-tooth cat gene in Skeeter. His upper fangs extend beyond his lower jaw! It is so cool to rub my finger along his jaw and feel the tooth points. It’s a good thing he’s not a “biter”! He has got to be the friendliest, easy-going, person-oriented cat ever. And so handsome with his symmetrical white boots and chest. Too bad he is so afraid of strangers and noise; he’d have been a non-purebred ribbon-winner at any show.

(From The Big Thing's Cat Diary, 1993)

LC came to me on Halloween 1993. I decided that the reason Tinkerbelle and Skeeter didn't play together was because of Tinker's age and solitary habits. I took a chance and decided to get a playmate for Skeeter since he was still young. Going back to the same pet store where I got Skeeter, I found two kittens in a cage: One was an utterly cute and friendly calico, while the other was aloof and tried to hide. You guessed it, I ended up with the aloof one! It took two of us to unhook her claws from the screen cage and get her into a box (the calico was already promised to another customer). LC is a “tuxedo” female. As with Skeeter, it took 2 days to get her to come near me, but she is not as oriented to me as Skeeter is. Partly, that's because she fulfilled expectations of being a playmate to Skeeter!

LC is a cat's cat! She and Skeeter hit it off at once and have become nearly inseparable. Skeeter is her "big brother". They play together constantly; he lets her bunnykick to her heart's content (she doesn't seem to hurt him very much) and she is just feisty enough to make up for his advantage in size and weight. She doesn't care to be held like Skeeter does, but she has learned that I have magic fingers that please her greatly.

Her name comes from her black/white markings. She has a strong resemblance to a cow (so I thought of Elsie from Borden's).  From "Elsie", came the letters "LC", which in turn stands for "Little Cow".

I had to do quite a lot for her health those first few months. Her black cowl extends below her eyes, so I didn't suspect at first that the beautiful black color inside her ears was the result of a serious ear mite infestation. It took several visits to the vet and drops/cleaning by me twice a day for weeks before that cleared up. Possibly as a result, she then developed an infection in both eyes. Her eyelids would seal shut from dried "stuff" every time she slept. I didn't notice that until I realized she was moving around uncertainly and finding her food by smell rather than sight (her black face and very dark eyes make it hard to tell when her eyes are open). The poor little thing was going around blind until I got home each evening and dabbed her eyelids clean with water each day. It took over a week of antibiotics before the problem cleared up! After that, she turned out to have worms, which meant that Tinker and Skeeter certainly had gotten them as well. I had to dose the bunch of them!

Not a good start for a pretty kitty, but she got over it all. The vet receptionist calls her "Lucky Cat" because the vet said that most people would have returned her to the pet store, which would have been the end of her!

LC is a frog-hunter, for some odd reason. She loves them as toys and as food. Skeeter will go sniff one of her frogs sometimes, but they aren’t warm-blooded and he can’t seem to see them as alive if they don’t move. LC knows, though. She loves live baitfish, too. She didn’t learn it from another cat; it’s all her own discovery!

LC has a weakness for being scratched under the chin. She’s quite affectionate as long as she is not being held, which she will not tolerate! 


The present...   That's the original stories of Skeeter and LC, my original blogging cats.  I think of them many days, but mostly this day.  They each had their own Bridge Days, but Halloween was their common Gotcha Day and I always try to remember THIS day for that reason.  
 Skeeter was "the cat of my life".  I couldn't imagine him dying...  But he did.  To this day almost 3 years later, I cannot read of any cat going over the Bridge and not cry for him.  He wasn't my first cat, and I cherished the ones who came before.  I loved LC, but she was HIS cat by my deliberate actions.  It was months after Skeeter left us that she came on my lap for the first times.