The Incomplete History of Cats

I have two. I adore them. They are polar opposites.

I adore them. I just can’t help it.

A warehouse worker named Justin brought a girl kitten he’d named Cali to us one morning some ten years ago. An adorable little calico his own cat had birthed.

A recovering tweeker, Justin never had a shot at being anything but a knife with a dull blade, some rust, in an unpopular drawer. He believed KFC was selling cloned chickens. He believed homosexuality to be a sin despite never having seen the inside of a church. He ruined every CD I ever loaned him and refused all accountability in almost every situation.

He was hoping we’d take her as a warehouse cat. Rick and I love cats. No brainer.

I became Cali’s dad. I fed her, scooped and changed her litter and made sure she always had fresh food and water. I loved her, petted her and played with her for almost a decade.

Since then:

My girlfriend The Fish, moved into my Hollywood apartment. We got our own cat from an animal rescue.

The Bean. Tondaleo Bean The Negress. A shiny black little girl kitty with a head way too big. Early photos are evidence she was in danger of tipping over. She was a delight. We loved her. She was willfull, spoiled and incredibly bright. In my dreams she spoke to me while she wore glasses. She didn’t like the vacuum cleaner and would try to pick a fight with it if we left it out. She would literally punch it. Certain closet doors had to remain open or she would throw a fit.

Her entire life she joined me in the bathroom every morning while I took my constitutional. Every morning I gave her the hard rub. I would lower my hand to arms length and scratch her head with considerable force she supplied. She would signal she was done with a quiet yelp and I would pick her up and kiss her head. After that I’d let her out, finish my business and get in the shower. Every morning until the day she died. She once woke The Fish after knocking a roll of toilet paper in the open toilet.

We moved to the Valley and got another one. Hoover. Hoover Congolia The Simian. A cautious tabby with her own agenda. Very sweet and gentle. Hoover loved The Bean and it didn’t take her long to win her over. We were a happy family. Me, The Fish, Hoover and The Bean.

Hoover and The Bean waited every night at kitchen’s edge for a treat before I made my martini.

We got engaged. There was a gorgeous ring. We bought a big beautiful house in a bedroom community and got ourselves a boy. Havoc. Lawrence The Earl Of Havoc. A good boy. A sweet boy. Yet we named him Havoc for a reason.

“The naming of cats is a difficult matter. It isn’t just one of your holiday games. You may think at first I’m mad as a hatter, when I tell you a cat must have three different names.” -T.S. Eliot

I taught all three of them to fetch. They became experts, all three.

On December fourth, two thousand and four, The Fish found The Bean dead at the bottom of the stairs by the entrance to the laundry room. There was a small puddle of urine where her bladder had let go. I was devastated. She was already somewhat stiff when I lifted her to a box. Barely six years old. Her cremated remains are on top of my fridge to this day. She liked the top of the fridge. Her mission was to seek and then conquer the highest point in any room of the three places she lived. Upon achievement of her conquest, she indulged herself by standing proudly and staring down at anyone who happened to pass by.

She showed up on schedule the morning before her death for the hard rub and a kiss on the head.

I suppose I’m lucky to tell you that it was the saddest time of my life so far.

My life became flat. No real highs and most of it below the surface. There was no reason for her to leave, no reason for her to die. I’d invested my heart into this gorgeous animal. I loved her very much.

We moved the business to another warehouse that had been built out to our specifications. Cali had a new home. First thing every morning was to drop my stuff in my office and go looking for her. She’d call to me to let me know where she was.

Her name became Gurly Gurl, The Gurry and then The Swirly Gurl with a whistling ‘s’.

Time passed. Still I was sad. Everyday was a competition with melancholy.

Things seemed good. We gardened and landscaped and took out a home equity loan. I loved and fawned over the two cats we still had. It wasn’t the same. Neither was I.

More time passed.

We vacationed in the wine country and took a cruise.

Then, The Fish and I split up. We divided most everything and sold the house. We each rented apartments. I started therapy, went on Paxil and blood pressure medication following some debilitating panic attacks.

She took Hoover and Havoc, we weren’t interested in splitting them up and Hoover was her daughter.

I had a dream last night that Hoover had drowned and I could see her floating just below the surface. It killed me.

After eight years in two different warehouses, I brought The Swirly Girl home. She sits next to me, staring at me and frownng a little as I write this. She owns an excellent frown.

She is voluptuous and soft. Huge green eyes and a naked stare. Very funny when she wants to be. Comes to bed with me and positions herself within petting reach. Doesn’t like being kissed on the head but will tolerate it occasionally. Bails once I start to snore.

She’s gotten a little grumpy in middle age. I like to make fun of her when she gets that way. I like it when she hisses at me, that’s when I kiss her head. She has the best face on the planet.

I adore them.


There’s the little one too. Rick found a litter behind the warehouse, days old, put them in a box and brought them inside. I was crapping in the bathroom next door when I heard them yelling. Timmy washed them off in the sink and The Fish took them to the Vet.

She bottle fed them, massaged their naughty bits so they would poop and pee and basically did a wonderful thing. She kept one named spider, Rick took one named Sumo and I took the female, a runt named Beddy, short for Bedhead.

Gorgeous medium fur, shiny black. A long body and long legs but very petite. Her fur grows long between the pads on her feet. I’ve never seen that before.

She has a sharp angular head. Aerodynamically sound. The longest tail I’ve ever seen on a feline.

Half squirrel. She’s quite the athlete. From the bed to the top of a six foot bookcase, no sweat. From a granite counter to the top of a very expensive and smoothly finished speaker three feet away. She does it by hopping and there’s not a scratch on that speaker.

I’ve had her over a year. She’s tiny. Hysterically funny. If she’s not trotting with urgency she’s strutting with a brusque demeanor. I’ve taught her to yell at me in the kitchen for a treat. She’s gotta speak up or try again later. She talks a lot. I like that.

When she wants my attention, she hits me in the back with her two front feet. Then she jumps on my shoulders or she yells at me.

They get along. Swirly would make short work of her otherwise. She is twice her size. They are not the friends I’d hoped they would be however. They don’t seem to mind.

My reward as I climb into bed is an elongated stain that is both clumpy and wet. My left ankle sends me messages about what it’s encountered and it’s all wrong.

I get up, turn on the lights and find a towel for my ankle. I wet the towel. Wring it out and wipe my self off again. Repeat and then go it to wipe up the puke and hair one of them has deposited in my bed. I find some clorox wipes and use them. I fall asleep sweating from the effort.

They visit me before dawn. I rub on them and they park their bodies warm and rattling with happy breathing against mine.

It’s always so pristine before the sun busts the horizon.

When driving, if I see a dead animal on the road, it never fails to ruin my day.

Every action is accompanied by an equal and opposite reaction don’t ya know.

Proof of a higher power can be found in the benevolence of cats.

Drinks for my friends.

4 Responses to “The Incomplete History of Cats”

  • Solsarosso:

    Another reason I love your wonderful wordworld! You know we all needed some kitty in the middle of all the madness.

    Also, just wanted you to know I’m here…I read…I laugh, I nod, I like…I don’t comment.

    Just this once, I thought I’d switch it up.

    Make my drink something green…in a bowl.

  • admin:

    Thanks for reading 🙂

  • I have two cats, and I adore them as well. My oldest just turned 8 yesterday. She’s going to the vet. Hope she doesn’t have arthritis…she’s not walking on her back legs the way she used to…..but no matter what, her mama’s gonna be by her side.

    Loved the story!

  • admin:

    Thanks doll 🙂

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