So we got this cat two years ago, and her name was “Tinker Bell,” but that really doesn’t matter, for reasons I’ll get to in a minute.
Owning a cat is proof that people can, indeed, change. And proof that at least this one old retired guy, who has owned black Labrador Retrievers (the undisputed Cadillac of Dogs) for all of his adult life, has EVOLVED over the years.
Even about cats.
It wasn’t always this way, friends. I used to write about how dogs, unlike cats, are loyal creatures who are ready at an instant’s notice to lay down their lives for the guy who fills their dog dish every evening. I waxed eloquent about how dogs get so excited when you come home that you just about have to peel them off the ceiling.
Cats, meanwhile, (I wrote), won’t even come to the door when you get home, and when they finally deign to recognize your pitiful existence, it is with a look that says, “Him again?” They climb curtains, relieve themselves right in the house, and eat food that smells so bad it could knock a buzzard off a stump.
There was no uncertainty about my feelings, much to the irritation of cat lovers.
Then, of course, my daughter came home from school one day with a kitten, and I was wholly incapable of telling her to “get that thing out of my house.” No, I was wrapped firmly around the finger of my daughter, and that was the day I had to start evolving on cats. A week later, another cat showed up, and when I was told it was either keep her or take her to the pound to be put to sleep, I suddenly had TWO cats.
It was like I had been run over by a truck.
And, wouldn’t you know, our family has had cats ever since, in addition to the obligatory Labrador Retriever.
So this latest cat was called “Tinker Bell,” but that name never seemed to stick. Raised on a ranch in Colorado, we got her when her owner couldn’t keep her anymore. And the cat made the transition with surprising ease. She fit right in in our family, and our Lab was amazingly tolerant.
But the name never quite caught on.
We tried “Belle,” but that didn’t seem quite right either. As a fan of the old “Gunsmoke” TV show, I called our cat “Miss Kitty” for a while. “Spooky” would have worked, because she skulks around the house at all hours. And I sometimes call her “Blackie.” Slowly, however, we just started calling her “The Cat.”
Her main job is to sit on my mother-in-law’s lap and sleep, and she has performed very well in that role. So well, in fact, that this former ranch cat has a pretty good gut on her now, and the vet tells us she’s too heavy.
The only downside of this cat is the one thing in the world that she really loves to eat. It’s not mice. It’s not that awful mashed up fish that comes in a can, looks like something that washed up on the beach, and smells worse. And while she eats dry food, it’s not what she prefers.
No, it’s much worse than that.
This cat will only eat raw, bloody LIVER, and she wants a fresh bowl every morning. Your hands get all bloody cutting it up for her, and it’s slimy, and even writing about it is making my skin crawl. Having raw liver in the refrigerator is bad enough, but washing her bloody dish every day is, well, like, WHACKED, dude.
So anyway, I’ve come to the conclusion that this cat doesn’t respond to any name we call her, so the name thing doesn’t matter. We could call her “Bob” and it would be every bit as effective as calling her “Tinker Bell,” “Miss Kitty,” or “The Cat.” Unlike dogs, I’m beginning to think cats don’t recognize names.
So, I figure it won’t hurt one bit if I try out one last name on this little black cat that came to live at our house, and has fit in pretty well:
“Old Liver Breath.”
Dave Simpson can be contacted at email@example.com