Woof! It seems like years since I innerviewed my First Cat. I was so nervous I even borrowed a book from a pooch pal who has a coupla cat stepsisters: “Basic Cat for Dummies.” I still think cats are Mysterious, But I understand ’em better now, and I have several cat frens.
So, when me an my assistant knocked at the home of Hector Heyward an family, I kinda expected a few meows an maybe a coupla toy mice lying around. But, when Hector’s Mom opened the door, I saw no cats whatsoever.
Then, purposefully padding down the hall toward us came a dark gray mackeral tabby cat, with white paws an face, an a long, gray tail.
“Hector Heyward, I presume,” I said, wagging in place, as per “Basic Cat for Dummies” Rule 1: “Let the cat come to you.”
“Indeed,” he said, approaching for a Nose Bump. “And you’re Bonzo the Columnist, of course. Meet our Momma, Marilyn, an our Papa Ben.”
Hector led us to some cozy-lookin’ couches, by a shiny white piano. “Make yourselves cumf-tubble,” he said, snuggling next to his Dad on the couch, a paw over his hand. “As the Family Spokescat, I am prepared to answer your questions.”
“First off, I’d love to hear how your blended family got together.”
“We all joined the family as kittens, back in Albuquerque: first Chloe, then Harley, me, Hooper, Aubie an Tobie. Except for Chloe, we’re all rescues. Momma worked with a coupla no-kill shelters (still does), and she’d keep getting’ kittens to foster an then couldn’t part with ’em. She was a Foster Failure. Lucky for all of us!”
“That’s what you’d call Cool Catnip, right?” I said. “So, where are the others?”
“Right! Oh, they’re around. See,” he pointed a paw toward the dining room. “That’s Harley. You’d never guess he had to be bottle-fed, cuz he was so teeny. Now he’s the heaviest.”
Relaxing on the lace tablecloth was a brown an white tabby. He licked a paw delicately. “I’m Big-Boned, thank you.”
“Oh, right,” said Hector. “It has nothing to do with you an Papa Ben hangin’ out, eatin’ chips an hot dogs an watching football. Oh, an don’t forget the time you stole the bacon when Papa Ben was makin’ baked beans.”
“Humph,” grumped Harley.
“This is Aubie,” said Hector, turning to the piano, where a handsome, fluffy gold tabby reclined majestically, lion-like, mane an all.
“I’m just 3,” said Aubie. “I got my name cuz of my auburn fur, an cuz Papa Ben graduated from a big school called Auburn. I just got my Summer Lion Haircut. Whadyda think?”
“It looks terrific,” I said.
“Come’on, let’s go out to the patio,” said Hector. “The others are out there.”
Hector pointed to a liddle white an gold cat hidin’ behind a plant next to the Cat Climb, way across the patio. “That’s Tobie,” he said. “Hey, come’on over, Tobes! Bonzo’s cool.”
“Hi, Mr. Bonzo,” called Tobie, not moving an inch. “I’ll just hang out over here. No offense.”
“None taken, Tobie. You look pretty comfy behind that plant.”
A fluffy dark an cream-colored cat ambled across the table and peered down at me. He looked like a Siamese I met once, only fluffier.
“I’m Hooper. I’m a Himalayan. NOT a Siamese, so be sure to get it right, if you please. OK? Are all those notes about us? That is So Cool Catnip. You don’t look scary. I thought you’d be scary. I wasn’t gonna come out, at first. It’s OK, Tobie,” he called. “You should come over.”
Tobie didn’t budge.
“When me an Hooper were kittens,” Hector said, “I got real sick an weak. Couldn’t even walk. Took me months to get better, and Hoop stuck with me the whole time. Well, look!” Hector turned. “Here’s the Queen Bee! Bonzo, may I present Chloe. She’s 17. She’s a Ragdoll.”
Chloe was dainty, with bunny-soft white and dark fur. “Happy to meet you, young fellow,” she said. “If these boys start cattin’ around, you just let me know. I’ll set ’em straight.”
“Thank you, Miss Chloe,” I told her politely. Then, “You all have a nice pool. Do you swim?”
“NO!” said Hector emphatically. “We do NOT swim!”
“What about that time you leaned over too far an fell in,” said Harley. “Boy, you were a hoot, draggin’ yourself out by your elbows, all Wet Cat!”
“Thanks for reminding me, Baconator!” Hector said. “We do enjoy chasing the occasional lizard,” he continued. “Specially Aubie. One time, Momma found us all in a circle staring at the rug, so she came over an pulled it back. There was this liddle snake Aubie’d caught. We’d NEVER heard Momma holler that loud before.”
“Musta been quite an adventure, moving all the way from New Mexico,” I commented, cleverly changing the subject.
“Oh, it WAS!” said Hector. “We each had our own carrier. Momma had Chloe and Hooper in her liddle car, and Papa Ben had me, Harley, Aubie an Tobie in his big one. When we left there was 16 inches of snow, an it was frosty-whiskers cold. The trip was three days an two nights, an (soon as we ree-lized we weren’t going to the vet) we were Very Well-behaved. We mostly napped while we were riding, an then, at the motel, we were ready to play all night. But, Momma an Papa Ben, not so much.
“Florida’s way different from New Mexico, but we love it. Out there, we never ever went outside, cuz an owl or coyote could grab us for lunch. Now we have our own owl- an coyote-free outdoor space. We are happy cats.”
Heading home, I was thinking about Hector’s frenly, easy-going, stylish cat family. An wonderin’ what I’d look like in a Summer Lion Haircut. An if, by chance, there was any bacon in the fridge.
Til next time,