Thursday, March 20, 2008

NPR - Friend and Newcomer

I talked about the last two cats I had, and about Alexander a Siamese I had for 21 years. Before those two came two domestic cats Linda and I had before we were married. Or really Linda had and we inherited when we moved in together. I can't recall what they looked like other than they were free spirited cats who came into our lives separately but formed a bond together and we were their home. They allowed us to take care of them when they wanted.

Linda lived in the farther rural areas north of Sacramento, even north of McClellan Air Force Base where houses were still on old farmsteads with open fields in between them. The suburbs were sneaking up to them but for the late 1960's it was still open country where, when it was dark without any street lights, it was dark, and the stars were easily visible.

Where I lived in NCO quarter on base, Linda lived in a small one-bedroom house behind a family house. I'm not sure what the house was originally for but they rented it out and Linda was the current resident with the various animals who inhabited the property, including Friend, a cat that liked everyone. Sit down and Friend would be in your lap in a heartbeat.

Linda also had an puppy that was a cross between a Spaniel and a bigger dog, no one knew what, but the puppy was big in terms of size, not height. It was the height of a Spaniel puppy but the size of a laborador or similar large dog. It weight over 40 lbs in its less than one foot stature. Its paws were the size of a man's fist. It was a super friendly dog, loved people, but it was also dumber than any dog I've ever known. It just didn't know what danger was and did really stupid things.

Anyway, when Linda and I were coming home one night, can't remember from what,but our transportation then was bicyles, during a moonless night we noticed something behind us, trotting along as fast as we pedalled. When we got home, a cat walked up, checked us out and went inside Linda's house. He stayed around the place for a week, made friends with Friend, the puppy and the other animials.

After a week he suddenly left. We thought he was just a drifting cat who wandered home to home. About a week later, he came back. He never left us again. Apparently he was comparison shopping for homes and we won. So he became Newcomer. He and Friend became inseparable, even when we finally moved into an apartment in Sacramento to be closer to work and places.

They loved the apartment complex and being outdoor cats, would wander around the immediate neighborhood, but almost always we could find them around the courtyard inside the complex and the swimming pool, usually on people's lap or lounging at their feet. They were never at a loss for people there. Occasionally they'd come home with grease spots on the top of their heads or on their body from exploriing cars and such.

The were a talented pair. They learned to open the cupboards for food and even the fridge for scraps. They ate anything left out, and it wasn't hard to see nibble marks on any food we forgot to put away. They even managed one time to get the Thanksgiving day turkey out from the fridge and we found the carcass under the dining room table with two very stuffed cats sitting upright with swollen bellies on the couch moaning, "We ate the whole thing." look in the eyes.

Despite that it was hard not to love them. Sadly, they were both killed within a week crossing the street. One first and a week later the other one in the same spot, we assumed looking for his lifelong friend. Had we known they crossed the street we would have moved where this wasn't a problem, but they always came home, the two of them.

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