Thursday, February 16, 2012

Training a Hell Cat

    Before beginning this post, I just have a few things to share as a follow-up to yesterday.
    The Hippie called and told my mom what happened. She still needs to get ahold of my dad. Anyway, tears filled her eyes as she explained about practicing math on the iPad before she dropped it-- which was true.
    The Scribe felt bad for what she said, so today she surprised the Hippie by cleaning her room for her. (She did this on her own.)
    I also set up an appointment to visit the Apple Store.
    Thank you so much for all of your help! It means a ton to me.

Now onto the post . . .
When I was little, all I wanted was a cat. 
    I knew I'd be a great mommy if I just had a kitty.  I'd dream about that ball of fur, pretend it was my pillow at night.  I'd squish it hard and love it with all my heart!  Once I even made a paper airplane and took it for a walk because my cat would be so well-mannered, it would go for walks.  I spent years dreaming about cats, until one day my beautiful aunt (who lived down the street) showed up at our door.  She cradled a kitten in her arms, a black kitty with little white feet.  He had a red ribbon around his neck and when I found out she'd brought him for me, I thought I'd explode from happiness
    That was before I realized Bootsie was 1/2 felis domesti-catus, 1/4 mountain lion and 1/4 crocodile.


    There must be something to black cats.  They're either the sweetest things ever, or the meanest.  If you've met one, you know what I mean.  They're supposed to resemble bad luck--that's what people say.  The thing about Bootsie though, was that he held something special deep inside.  My aunt and I both saw it.  I knew if I made him love me, I'd have a friend for as long as he lived.
    Well, Bootsie WAS NOT the sweetest thing ever.  In fact (even though no one else believes me) I think Bootsie killed a cat.  I found a dead cat in our yard one day--it was a brutish-looking tabby.  Bootsie strutted from the bushes nearby; he was all scratched and his right ear no longer perked straight, instead it folded on itself in a crippled way.  I decided that's what happens to cats that are murderers!  They lose an ear just so all the other cats will know what they've done!
    My family swears Bootsie didn't kill that cat, but they didn't know Bootsie like I did.  They didn't understand that cat's rage!
    Shortly after witnessing the crime scene, I started operation "you're going to love me."  Bootsie was a cat-killer, but I'd help him turn from his sinful ways.  He'd love me someday--I was determined.  
    So in an effort of hope, I'd chase that cat around the yard, up a tree, even into the neighbor's bushes.  I'd brush him hard and love him tight!  I remember tying Bootsie up in a blanket, swaddling him like a baby so only his face showed.  Then I bounced him on the tramp, knowing he needed to see that it was okay to have fun and smile.  But Bootsie didn't smile.  Bootsie gave me the glare of death.
    That afternoon as I sat singing a sweet song to Jesus, Bootsie lurked in the grass behind me.  I remember feeling something wasn't quite right.  I wonder if that's how the other cat felt before it died and Bootsie got "the mark."  I turned around, but no one was there.  So I continued singing to Rainbow Brite, telling her how she could go to church and accept Jesus.  Sure she'd have to walk up and confess in front of all those people, but no one said going to Heaven was easy!  
    The thing was I'd been preaching to the wrong soul.  Bootsie crouched behind me, ready to deal out another death!
    With all the pent-up aggression a cat's ever seen, that feline jumped from behind an apple tree and attacked me something unfathomable.  I wished I had my blanket!  I'd bounce Bootsie on the tramp again, but not nicely this time.  I wanted to play crack the egg, or dead man standing!  I'd like to baby him--oh I'd show that cat.  He dug his claws into my shirt and my first-grader arms barely held him at bay.  I was lucky though, that beast hadn't even scratched my skin.  I laughed, an evil wizard's laugh.  That's when Bootsie showed me the meanest face in the world!
    I felt fear, real fear as I studied Bootsie's ear and thought of "the mark" of a murderer!  Visions--of the dead cat--danced behind my eyes when I blinked.  Maybe I'd be next, but I needed to be brave.  I thought hard and realized the only way to win this battle, was to be a pirate!
    I'd always be the pirate girl who stowed away, then saved the ship and swooned the cabin boy.  I flew into the moment as Bootsie stared at me.  I knew we were about to have a showdown.  I'd win, or sink trying.
    "You scurvy piece of a barnacle.  I'll rip ya from stem to stern."  I didn't know what a stem or a stern was, but I'd heard those words on an old black and white movie and they sounded mighty fierce, like something a pirate girl would say!  "If ya try movin', me arms'll wrap ya up like a baby codfish.  I'll rock you 'til it be night night.  So, don't move or you'll be rocked until I make you walk this here plank!"
    I'd expected Bootsie to shake in his little white boots.  But instead he didn't seem bothered by my perfect speech.  He waited quietly, let me go on.  Then, like a blind beggar with only one ear, he struck out his arm, clutching for treasure.  Too bad that treasure was my scalp!  
   I screamed!  Tried to throw Bootsie off, but when you're part crocodile, you know how to hang on!  Bootsie's claws sunk deeper into my hairline.  The only thing I saw hanging by my eye WAS HIS EAR.  I screamed!  Bootsie HAD killed that cat.  I just knew it!  No one wanted to face the truth, but he had "the mark."  Couldn't anyone else see it?  Didn't they have eyes to see his ears!
    I screamed again, harder that time, hoping my sister would hear me.  She'd always save me when something wasn't going right.
    "Help!  Help!  I'm the next victim!  Bootsie is a cat-killer."  I shook in pain and ran around the yard.  But it was scary running like that because I couldn't see where I was going and we had a window well!  I stopped nervously, even though I still pretended to be a pirate.  I tried looking around, but all I saw was that damn ear!  "HELP.  I told you he killed that cat!  Now he's trying to kill stowaways too!" 
    My sister ran from the house--thank God.  I knew she was there because I heard the panic in her voice.  I turned toward her, but still couldn't see a thing.  
    "BAD CAT!  Bad.  Let go.  You let go of my sister!" she warned.
    She tugged, doing the only thing she could and we played the strangest game of tug-o-war anyone's ever seen.  I got whipped around, cause crocodile's don't let go.  Then my sister finally won.  She pried Bootsie off my face and I cried.  Even though I hated crying since stowaways don't cry, but I hadn't won the battle.  I'd sunk trying.  Plus, my head AND my heart hurt.  
    But everything did turn out okay because my sister hugged me.  Her hugs were the honey of life.  She told me she loved me and I'd be okay.  That sweet teenager even brought me into the house and gave me a free makeover.  I felt better after that.  She always knew what I needed.  And a few days later I felt so great, I continued operation "you're going to love me" with Bootsie the crocodile.
    As shocking as this may sound, I never gave up on Bootsie.  A couple years later he did turn from his life of crime and we became best friends.  We were nearly inseparable and the funny thing was that Bootsie liked playing pirates and even went for walks with me sometimes.  
    Bootsie really was the best cat in the world.  I miss him dearly because sometimes I think I appreciated our bond more since I worked for it.  I guess that's why I still miss that cat-killer.  I'll never look at a crocodile the same again.

Today I have one question for you:  
What was the name of your first pet? 


  1. Brandy was my first pet. She was a beagle although I don't remember much more. I was pretty young.

    I agree with the sentiment on black cats. They're either the sweetest things or complete psychos. We just had one of the former put down. Spike was a wonderful cat. Dumb but wonderful.

    However the opposite of him is Angelina...also a black (ish) cat but a complete psycho hellbeast when she wants to be. She hasn't killed any other cats (yet) but she's taken down a squirrel with nary a scratch to show for it. She is attitude incarnate.

    Speaking of crocodiles, I had a pet Caiman (South American alligator) for a pet when I was in sixth grade. Oh how I loved Harry. Sadly, Harry didn't love me. Harry didn't love anyone. Harry was a soulless spawn of Hell if ever there was one. We used to keep some goldfish in his tank. He would occasionally catch one and kill it...not to eat it, but just because it had to die.

    Alas Harry finally met his end against a foe he couldn't defeat...the power cord of the new water heater we put in his tank. *ZAP*

  2. My sis had a black and white cat that eventually went to my parents when she got married and moved away. Talouse was a nasty thing. He was huge and would let you pet him one second and then attack you the next second. He and my dad ended up being best buds and my dad still gets a little choked up when he talks about having to take him in to be put down. Talouse got horribly sick and went from a 17lb cat to about a 4lb cat in a matter of months. My first cat was Sam but I mauled him too much so he ran away. Then my true first love of a cat was my Scaredy Cat. She was white with black spots so the opposite of evil. I still well up when I think about holding her as she was put down over 5 years ago. She was 19. Best cat ever.

  3. My mind has gone blank, I cannot recall and it made me want to pick up the phone and ask my Mum, but sadly that is also no longer an option. Sorry about the ipad. Thanks also for your comment about my ice heart.

  4. No cat tales (tails?) to relate, but I just want to say again--YOU ARE A WONDERFUL STORYTELLER!!

  5. Great story, as always. My first pet was a cat we rescued, and named him Sidney after actor Sidney Tolar.

  6. I just noticed, but Angelina, the aforementioned squirrel killer, looks almost identical to the cat in the b&w pic above.

  7. LOL Bootsie sounds like fun, besides the whole claw in you head thing..hahaha Black ones usually are the meanest or the nicest, no in between. My grandmother has one that is the nicest cat ever to everybody but me. My legs always had scratches as he'd attack me the first chance he got and he'd purr the whole time he did it, I sorta, maybe egged him on in his old age but still gives me a mouthful. First pet was black lab named Bear, first cat of my own was Cassie i.e. the cat's Miss

  8. My first pet was: Pushkin. I loved that cat so much. He got hit by a car and my neighbour came to tell my 7 year old self when I answered the door at 6am in the morning. "That grey cat you have?" she said. "Yes," I answered. "It's dead on the side of the road." My mother woke up to my wailing.

    We now have a black and white cat - or my husband does, and she's adopted me. However, she is both the sweetest and the meanest and you NEVER KNOW which one she'll be until she purrs for you or tries to attack you madly. She also body slams doors... but that's another story ;)

    Bootsie sounds awesome - despite being part crocodile.

  9. My first pet was a dog named Gypsy. She was a mutt but the sweetest, most lovable dog ever. In a week she went from an outside dog to sleeping in my mother's bed. She went everywhere with us and I played with her all summer long during school breaks. Loved your story about the cat-killer!

  10. Cats are crazy. Bootsie sounds like my little crazy cat. lol Good thing those two never met!

  11. My first pet was Katy, an elderly female tabby cat - a pedigree moggie - who my parents had had since years before I was born. She taught me and both my brothers to be gentle with animals without ever offering to scratch or bite: she used to hit us on the head whenever we got too troublesome, and walk off. When I was older, I loved to sit next to her - she had a favourite spot in the sofa, and spent a lot of time relaxing there - and start stroking her. She didn't usually want to sit on laps, but if you sat next to her you could reach out and immediately, without fail, hear the engine start up. Sadly, when I was about nine, she fell ill with diabetes and kidney problems - both common in older cats - and didn't respond well to treatment, so we decided to have her put to sleep.
    She always had the most beautiful, gentle, serene nature: although I only knew her when she was getting old, my parents said she was always a very calm and mellow cat.

    One of the things I love most about cats is how they (at least, traditional 'pedigree moggies') have as much variety in their personalities as people do. Poppy, the cat I've had for the past eight and a half years, is an incredible contrast to quiet little Katy. Tortoiseshells have a reputation for attitude, and although it's only anecdotal evidence, Poppy absolutely embodies 'tortitude'. She's a feisty, extremely intelligent little madam, who knows exactly what she can get away with, and who with! When I'm away in term time I hear dozens of tales about how naughty and demanding she is, but with me she (usually) has perfect manners. We both have each other's complete trust, and when she's indoors she is the most loving and affectionate little hot water bottle in the world.

    Outside she is a Wild Thing and won't let even me near her - that's another thing that is wonderful about cats, they are virtually unchanged from their wild ancestors, and it seems like such an incredible privilege to have this little wild predator, that should by rights be afraid of me, and would also be perfectly capable of inflicting serious damage, that likes nothing better than to go to sleep pressed tight up against me.

    I also love the fact that a cat's love and respect is true friendship: you have to work for it and you know that they aren't simply slaves to a pack animal's instinct (I have nothing against dogs). Poppy and I are definitely equals and friends rather than pet and owner.

    Bootsie sounds like a real character; thanks for telling us about him.

    Sorry about the essay, you didn't ought to have gotten me started on my cats! I'll shut up now.

  12. I hope the Apple store gives you good results!!!

  13. I love the picture! That looks just like the cats I have now! When I was little we had a cat named "Dutchboy." My father named him that so when he died, he could bury him in a Dutchboy paint can and it would all ready have his name on it. My father loves to tell that story, lol. (For the record, he was not really buried in a paint can.)

  14. A little over a year ago, I rescued a stray kitten (so tiny it could fit in one hand) and then my little kitten grew up. Somewhere between kitten and cat it decided that it was also part mountain lion and is the craziest animal I have ever had. She's nice to me but will hiss and swipe at any of my siblings and when we are at my parents house she chases all of their cats into submission/deep dark hiding places. So I definitely believe you that your little kitty was part mountain lion...I don't know about the alligator part though lol ;D

  15. My first pet was a toy poodle named Jacques. I think I was 7 or 8 when we got him. He lived until I was about 22. He liked to sleep in my bed. I enjoyed your story about Bootsie. I think he might have needed an exorcism. Only a demon cat would torture a sweet little Christian girl that way. We used to have three cats. One was an angel, one was stupid, and one was the toughest little bitch on Earth.


  16. The name of my first pet was Ryan (the boy I had a crush on at the time)...oddly enough I named a chinese fighting fish Ryan! I'll tell you too, that fish lived an awfully long time. 5 years. Which when you are a kid seems like forever. I'll never forget that little strong willed fish.

    I loved this story by the way. I love that you never gave up. Loving someone to death can help bring them life.

  17. Jeez your cat sounded possessed!

    My first pet was a bunch of goldfish but I can't remember their names. I always wanted a cat though, but we couldn't because Mr. Technology was allergic. Still is even though we have cats (all adopted/rescues). In between we had domestic rats (cleaner than they sound - we got them at the pet store).

  18. Cats can be really scary and I say that being a cat lover myself. I once had one follow me when ever I crossed his path and he would jump up at me and attack. That is a long story that I should tell some day :D His name was casper, and as far as I know, he was not a ghost....

  19. I couldn't even tell you a "first" pet, because I grew up on a ranch and we always had a couple dozen cats, a dog or three, and other various, assorted creatures. The first dog I remember was named Daisy - a Cocker Spaniel mix. Apparently before her was a hound dog named Sam. The first cat I remember was named Kink - I don't remember what color she was, but I do remember she was missing a leg and part of her tail from getting caught up in a farm machine of some kind. She was the Grand Matriarch of the cats when she was alive, too - she used to go with my dad when he would go to feed the cattle and catch mice in the granary while he was bagging up feed; she would line up the mice in the back of the truck and when they got home, she would divvy them up among the other cats back home. After her was Clementine, who was a gray tabby with a small, yellow streak on her head. I always managed to let her have her kittens in the house. When I was 10, I got a small tuxedo (black & white) cat from my music teacher - Pepe le Pew ('cause she had a problem with farting) and she was my "house" cat until she died - I think she was maybe 5 or 6 and I just found her dead in the barn. *sigh* We also had an old pony named Clyde - he had been my brother's pony, and then mine; all of my friends learned to ride by riding that old pony. He was an ornery thing, too - I have a bad shoulder because he brushed me off against the barn once when I was quite young.

    I've always loved critters of all kinds, and have had all kinds of pets - cats and dogs, of course, but also rats, hamsters, kangaroo rats (briefly), ball pythons, geckos of various types - Leopard, Golden and Tokay; ferrets, a sugar glider, mice, fish ... you get the idea. I currently have three toms - Erasmus is the eldest, a classic red tabby of almost 4; then the "babies" are Fluff and Tiger. Fluff is a long-haired, silver, diffuse tabby - lovely little cat - while Tiger is a spotted grey tabby. We also have a dog who is of unknown origin, but appears to be a mix of several different types of terriers. All of my current crew were strays - Fritz (the dog) and Erasmus literally showed up on the doorstep, while a neighbor called me to come and get the babies from him - they were a feral litter he had found, somewhere between 2 and 3 weeks of age; they had their eyes open, but no teeth yet, nor were their ears fully erect yet and I had to feed them for a week or so before they could eat on their own. Erasmus played nanny and did the clean-up duties for me, so it was probably easier than it should have been to raise them.

    The story of your demon cat provided me with fond memories of a demon cat that my 2nd husband and I shared while we were still dating. Her name was Raz, she was solid black, and she was a lesbian separatist - despite the fact that I didn't have her spayed, and that she did have access to toms, she absolutely refused to allow herself to be bred until she was 3 years old. She would be curled up on your lap purring away, and then suddenly sit up, swear vehemently, bite your hand, and run away. Ah, I loved that evil critter ... :-) Demon-cats are my favorites - they are just so charmingly unpredictable! Heh. My babies now are all sweet things, though, even if Fluff is a bit gay and very prissy, and Tiger tends to poop wherever he is because he's too lazy to move more than a foot to get things done ... Heh.

    And I've written a blog, too - I also tend to ramble when I get to talking about my babies. Great story - thanks for sharing!

  20. L.O.L.! Hilarious- A cat is a cat no matter what- and they know who they are- that's for sure. I have a black kitty named Bill and he is just the greatest, nose licking kitty ever. He is lovey and sweet-but, (and, there is always a but : ) my little, adorable baby absolutely transforms into a mighty beast when he has to go to the vet. I mean, seriously, the last time I was there the people waiting in the lobby all stared at me in disbelief when we emerged from the examination room- the sounds emanating from behind the locked door were unnatural and terrifying. The funniest part is, they never even got him out of the carrier. It took three people, two towels, thick rubber gloves, and a truly brave assistant just to give him his regular shots. Not only is his file highlighted with a big "aggressive" written across it, I can hear them cringe whenever I call to schedule an appointment for him. I told them that he's really sweet; never even lifted an angry paw to me. They suggested I get a vet to visit me at home the next time : ) Great post! My first pets name was Teddy, and he was a surly hamster.

  21. First of all--kudos to the Scribe and the Hippie!! :):)
    I have my fingers crossed for you with the Apple store.

    Reading cats is harder than reading dogs--and cats will retaliate if you don't pay attention to what they're telling you. Makes no difference to them if you are not fluent in cat--LOL! They also have such a variety of personalities--from very testy and moody to an imperturbably mellow. I didn't notice my black cats being any different. The only ones I noticed being consistently moodier, testier, and with more attitude have been all of my calicos (of which my present cat, Karma, is one)--but then I've only had three calicos.

    My very first pets when I was nine were guppies that had no names. Then I had Teddy the hamster, Tiger the cat, and Candy the dog. The list exploded with hamsters, guinea pigs, mice, rats, fish, lizards, amphibians, birds, and a skunk by the time I graduated from high school. :)

    I'm glad you and Bootsie became friends and worked it out. ;)

  22. Dear Elisa,
    As a child, I didn't have an animal companion. My brother did--a dog whose name was Kentucky. We lived out in the country and mom wanted to be sure we'd remember what road we lived on just in case we got lost and had to ask for help. So she named that dog "Kentucky." He was faithful to my brother. A wonderful companion to a boy on a farm with acres to explore and a large creek running thorough it.

    The first animals who became part of my family--in Dayton after I left the convent--were Dulcy and Ishmael. We lost Ish in Stillwater when we were there for a visit. That helped Dulcy and I bond even more. Unlike Bootsie, Dulcy never attacked me, but then the only black she wore was spots.


  23. I'm so behind in your posts! Loved the story telling in this one!
    My first pet was Tiger, the cat. He was a big, fat striped cat...he adopted us. He was an inside/outside cat (always let out at night). I used to sneak him into my room via the flowerbox in the window. There was a small hole in the screen that eventually got bigger and bigger. My mom was not happy. He was a great cat!
    Bumper is a black kitty...he is sweet as pie to people and Nightmare on Elm Street to other cats. We recently gave Squash to a friend because Bumper was attacking him (stitches and all). Bumper was harder to find a home for (he has FIV and a diarrhea problem), so Squash was the better choice...though a hard one.