For my last-column-before-Christmas, I innerviewed a Cool Catnip dude of the feline persuasion: Mr. Ralph Getson. He’s around 18 in human (like 89 in cat), an he’s got It Goin’ ON! He even has his own Instagram – ralphpurrusual.
Mr. Ralph is a long, lanky, orange Tabby who recently moved from Clearwater to this side of the state with his Mom an Dad. He loves humans, but I’d heard he could be a liddle crotchiddy with fellow pets so, when the door opened, I wagged in place and said in my Pleasant Pooch voice, “Good morning, Sir.”
Mr. Ralph strolled slowly but suavely over for the Sniff-an-Size Up. “Welcome, young fella. Bonzo, is it? I’m Mr. Ralph. This is my Momma, Mollie. My Papa, Mike, is at work. Come’on back.”
His voice was raspy, but he wasn’t crotchiddy at all. We sat around a table by the pool cuz Mr. Ralph’s an outdoor kinda guy. He wore a snazzy bowtie and totally rocked a Regal Lion Look.
“So, how does this work? You ask questions, I answer?”
“Yes sir, pretty much. Maybe start with how you all got together.”
“Can do. About a year anna half ago (in human) I was livin’ on the Mean Streets: sleepin’ under cars, skinny, a total fleabag, with a bad cough anna chipped tooth. A real paw-to-mouth existence. I musta used up at least 4 of my lives.”
“Woof! That’s harsh. You look great now.”
“It was a close one. Just when my lives were passing before my eyes, an I figured I’d never have a loving family, my (future) Momma an Papa scooped me up and whiskered me away. (Papa’s a lifelong Cat Guy, but I was Momma’s first cat experience.) I had no idea what was happenin,’ but they were talkin’ gently like they ackshully cared about me, even though I was a fleabitten mess. Somehow, I felt safe.
“Anyway, long cat-tale short, they took me to a doctor an, after (among other things) having ALL my hair shaved off, I was proclaimed Flea-Free and I recovered. I think of it as my “Pavement to Plush Transition.” Now I have a Forever Family, my own saucer, a cozy bed, an a sunny porch for daydreamin.’ I have everything I need. Momma even wrote me my Very Own Song! If you have time after the innerview, I’ll sing it for you. Momma plays MEW-zick onna violin. When she’s wearin’ boots, it’s called a fiddle. I don’t know why. She does one song with other humans on guh-TARS an stuff called ‘The Tabby Went Down to Georgia.’ I can’t even swish my tail that fast.”
“Pawsome, Mr. Ralph! What’s life like now that you’re in the Plush part?”
“Well, THIS was Super Cool Catnip: when Papa proposed to Momma, I was a major part of the engagement.”
“It was SO ro-MAN-tick. Momma was holdin’ ME, an Papa was holding The Ring. Then Papa asked Momma The Big Question. (It’s a human thing.) Then, instead of Momma accepting with ‘YES!’ she chose the symbolic ‘Handing Over of the Cat’: placed me right in Papa’s arms. Honest, Bonzo, if cats could cry, I woudda, I’m not ashamed to admit. Couldn’t stop purring for weeks.”
“Humans. You gotta love ’em,” I said.
“I didn’t make it to the wedding, but I prepared some Words of Advice that were read on my behalf.”
“Here’s some of my favorites: ‘spend time together outside, under a canoe stored on the porch is an ideal spot; be forgiving if the toilet seat gets left up: everyone makes mistakes, and it is, after all, an excellent source of drinking water; share your food with one-another, ’specially tuna; an, most important, always greet each other like it’s been forever since you were together, cuz there’s no concept of time when it comes to being separated from the one you love.’”
“Woof. That’s a lotta wisdom.”
“Here’s a funny story,” he continued. “I love exploring.’ They don’t call cats curious for nothin.’ Our yard was fenced, but when did that ever stop a cat in Exploration Mode? I just squeezed under the fence an had myself a liddle adventure. Well, Momma went buh-listic. She an Papa searched for HOURS, lookin’ low an high for me. Finally they gave up an came home, probly plannin’ to call the Marines or something. And there I was, lying on the porch, wonderin’ where the fluff they’d been all that time.
“I’m not as stealthy or fleet-of-paw as I usta be, but I still have a blast with a crinkly paper bag. An, once I got the harness figured out, I enjoy leash walks around the neighborhood. We’ve only been here coupla months, so it’s a nice way to meet the neighbors. I’m also a great fan of catnip imported from Maine. One of my Maine Coon street pals from the old neighborhood turned me on to it. Nothin’ better for reclinin’ on my mat, chill-laxin.’”
“I’ve heard that.”
“My besties are Momma’s Godfather Bruce an his dog Addie. They’re up in Maine. An Aunt Alyssa, who I stayed with when Momma an Papa went to The Moon after they got married. I thought it’d take a lot longer than it did. As for toys, I’m not into laser mice or feathers-onna-stick. My favorite’s a long ribbon. It’s old now, but still fun. Now I LOVE getting’ brushed. But I. Don’t. Do. Baths. Just thinkin’ about my one-an-only bath experience still gives me the Utter Willies. I’m pretty sure Momma feels the same way.
“I sleep with Momma an Papa, except when I awake at the purrfectly reasonable hour of 3 a.m. and wanna have a conversation. Then I sleep in MY room, or hang out on the porch with the raccoons.”
Heading home, I was still hummin’ the song Ralph’s Momma wrote for him. I know he’s gonna have a very Meowy Christmas, and I wish the same for all you pawsome pet pals an your humans.
Till next time,