Friday, March 30, 2007

A dear cat

When the tulips bloom under our peach tree, we remember our dear cat Breeze, who loved to sit among the tulips, I think because he knew that red was his color. I guess it was ten years ago now that he died, and we buried him there under the tree, and planted tulip bulbs to mark the spot.

Breeze was a very intelligent cat, who seemed to think he was a dog. He came when he was called, and vocalized a lot. He was part Himalayan, one of my sister's cat's many litters. Breeze's mother was a scruffy looking calico, but all of her kittens were spectacularly handsome. I took Breeze home with me to California in 1980 in a shoebox. He was very small and didn't mind when I put him through the x-ray. The people were a bit surprised, though, to see his skeleton on their screen.

I was living in a household with two or three other cats (and a bunch of people) at the time, and no one liked Breeze but me. He was very hungry and used to eat people's food if they left it out on the counter at night. This did nothing to help his (lack of) popularity. One time, he ate half a loaf of bread and a whole avocado. We lived on the second floor of a Victorian near Golden Gate Park. The flats were very close together, and if our next door neighbors left their window open, Breeze could jump from our bay window to their sill and go inside for an extra helping of cat food. One day, he was there next door and someone in our flat closed the window. We were sitting on the couch, unaware he was over there, when I happened to glance up and saw him jump towards our closed window. His paws grabbed at the sill, and he had the most surprised look on his face as he failed to get in, and fell down to the backyard out of sight. I ran down the stairs in a panic, but by the time I got down there, he was sauntering towards me, not a hair out of place.

Later, we moved to a larger place, he had the run of the neighborhood. He would climb up on the roof to sun himself, and he had several more places to dine. He got bigger and bigger, and with his long hair, he cut an imposing figure. He weighed about 23 pounds, I think, at his peak.

There are a lot of other memories about him, about how he lived and about how he died, but today I'll look at the tulips and remember his beauty and how people would gasp at how big and handsome he was. For certain people, especially those who did't like cats, or were allergic, he would approach and circle their legs, looking for a pet. If you gave it to him, he would say "twww-eerpp" and flick his ears back and forth and start purring his deep rough contentment.

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