Cheap entertainment. Ain’t it grand. I’ve got two live-in, live entertainment sources. I’d like to introduce you to Jackson and Harrison, my two cats.
I’ve had two cats since I was 22 years old. The first two were Dave and Bailey. They’ve all been SPCA cats, so who knows their lineage…I’ve never “gotten” people who spend their hard earned money on purebred cats. They’re CATS, people!
Dave was an amazing guy. He chose me. I’m convinced of that. I originally decided to get A cat because of my stressful work life at the time. I lived at work and had very little time to do anything else but sleep. I found myself getting more and more depressed by the day, though I loved my job. A good job isn’t always enough. Anyway, I decided to visit the SPCA in Calgary, Alberta and while in the cat room, was looking at a cute kitten in a cage at about eye level when a paw reached out from a cage at knee level and touched my leg. I knelt down and felt fate smack me upside the head. I probably never would’ve gotten down to Dave’s cage if he hasn’t chosen me.
Dave was named before I even walked into the SPCA that day. A friend actually named him in a conversation years earlier when we realized that in our lives, in every circle we had – work, friends, etc. there was ALWAYS a Dave, David, Davey, or such variations, but that we had never known an animal to be named Dave…common for humans, not for animals. I decided then that when and if I got a pet, it would be Dave. Dave suited the name perfectly, being a true and loyal friend. In what was probably the most difficult three days of my life, back in 1999 (I find it interesting here that I’ve paused for quite a while to count back in my brain to verify this year and my mind has wandered instead to thinking about Dave rather than care about the accurateness of this) while living in Cranbrook, British Columbia, I took him into the vet for a checkup, found out that he had a huge cancerous tumor under his tongue and had to have him put down. This all happened in one long weekend. I cried. A lot. I’ll never forget him.
Backing up 6 years, three months after I got Dave, I realized that now HE was bored to tears being alone at home all the time because I was still working all the time. I realized that Dave needed a playmate and made another trek to the Calgary SPCA. There were very few cats in the shelter that day, but I noticed a dark blob in a cage on the floor. A mother cat had been found with her three kittens at Spruce Meadows, a horse racing facility outside of Calgary. The mother had died. There were these three, barely alive little brown things curled up together. I decided to adopt the one boy, who fit in the palm of my hand. When I brought him home I had to bathe him in the bathroom sink a few times before his fur wasn’t matted. His health wasn’t the greatest and we had many trips to vet and I was up all hours caring for him, giving him medication and watching to make sure he stayed alive. That was Bailey. He was originally a very angry kitten, I imagine from his early rough start, but he quickly became Dave’s best friend and my stalky-walking, runt-sized guy.
Last year I discovered a lump on Bailey’s back, took him to the vet and found he had cancer as well. I had the lump removed, but within a couple of months it began to grow back and then one day, he appeared to be paralyzed on one side of his body. Many, many trips to the vet and many many tests couldn’t figure out what was causing it. Bailey was clearly in pain, unable to eat, get into his litter box or walk properly. He would drag himself to the bed at night, I would lift him up and then later when he decided to leave, he would fall off the bed with a thud, rest a while and then slowly drag himself away. I cried. A lot. This lasted about a week while my vet continued to hold hope that we could figure out what was wrong, but ultimately, over a weekend I decided that Bailey’s quality of life was no longer good. I had him put down that Monday morning after an emergency call to my vet. I cried. Bailey was a true friend for 10 years. When at his prime, he used to let me use him as a pillow, not moving when I laid down with my head on him. I miss him a lot.
Wow…this isn’t turning out to be a fun ramble at all. I had this great idea, inspired by what’s happening in my apartment right now and now I sit here, crying and going in a completely different directly.
Backing up to 1999 again, after putting down Dave, I visited the SPCA in Cranbrook and found a kitten they had named Flint, because he’s grey. I brought him home and decided Flint was a stupid name that didn’t suit him. For a few days I named him RC – Replacement Cat. After getting to know him, I realized that his name was Jackson, or, as my brother said to me when I told him the kitten’s name was Jackson – “okay, Jax it is”.
Jax is a great guy. Spastic and snuggly all in one. Jax loves to lay on me, regardless of where I am or what I’m doing. When I’m in bed, although the entire bed is available for him to lay down, he’ll climb on top of the covers which are on top of me, and lay down there. Usually, as soon as I move, he jumps off and settles next to me, but he always starts off on top. What I’ll always remember Jackson for is his love of being under blankets. He often comes to the top of the bed and pushes his nose and pulls with his paws until he can get under the covers…then he goes under and rams his nose up to create a bit of a tent for a millisecond. He’ll do this until he’s found where he wants to lay down.
After Bailey was gone, I had only Jackson. Jackson was still a kid at only 3 years old. I decided that I didn’t want another cat…not right away, anyway. I waited about a month I think it was before I ventured back to the SPCA, now in Yellowknife. I had always thought that I should adopt a cat and not the kittens I kept getting. I found a pure white, 6-year-old, de-clawed, long-haired female named Sasha and decided to bring her home. That lasted a week. Sasha was the biggest psycho bitch cat that I’ve ever seen. She hated to be touched, wouldn’t come near me, hissed at Jackson non-stop and ate more food in her week here than Bailey and Jackson used to eat combined in a week. When I had adopted her the SPCA stressed – emphatically stressed to me that if it didn’t work out I could bring her back as long as it was within two weeks. I was clearly not the right home for Sasha, so brought her back. She did end up getting adopted, successfully, by someone else some time later. I wish them luck with her.
I figured Jax and I would go it alone for a while. I knew that I had to start with a kitten again and wasn’t sure if I really wanted to do that again. My commitment to my boys, when I adopt them is that I’ll keep them for life – theirs or mine. When I told that to Dave and Bailey back in the early 1990’s I never really thought about the day they would be gone.
The day I brought back psycho bitch Sasha, my vet asked if I wanted to get a kitten – born 5 days earlier there at the clinic – nobody knows they’re here yet – you can jump to the top of the waiting list for an SPCA kitten. I insisted that I was in no rush and that those ahead of me could have them. They asked again. I repeated. They asked if I wanted to at least see them. Geez. Okay. You know I was sold right there. I chose a little brown kitten with tufts of white hair on his chin and belly. Trouble was, I couldn’t take him home until he was about 7 weeks old.
For the next 7 weeks I visited twice a week, taking pictures and keeping my friends and family updated on his development. He was, of course, the smartest and cutest of the four siblings and remembered me when I would visit. Of course he could! He’s my boy!
I did a survey of friends and family for name suggestions. I took their suggestions and of course immediately ignored them all. I decided on the name Harrison and knew it was right. Nicky, from Australia, now living and working in London informed me one day that Harrison’s nickname should be Hazza. Right. How does that work? She related some soccer player’s name in Australia who’s nickname is a similar “azza” name and so, that’s just what it should be. So…should Harrison happen to grow up, move to Australia and become a soccer player, he’s got a name for himself already. I’ve told you that Nicky insists “there’s always wine”, right? I’m thinkin’ the night of that conversation that there was no more left.
SO! Why did I start writing this in the first place? Entertainment value! I decided this evening that Jackson needed a bath. Trouble is, when I bathe him, he makes noises that sound like I’m trying to drown him and he’s calling all the cats on the planet to come save him. I decided to take a different approach tonight and filled a bucket of water, put Jax in the bath tub and scooped cups of water onto him, then lathered him up, then scooped cups of water on him again to rinse. He was never immersed and could clearly see he wasn’t going to drown. He still attempted to alert other cats, but the volume this time was probably only calling those in Canadia. I think my neighbours think I kill cats for a hobby.
Anyway, so shortly before I started writing this, Harrison suddenly appeared, having been hiding from the now wet Jackson and Jackson saw him, so went to visit. Harrison decided that Jackson was evil somehow and started hissing up a storm at him. Jax is an absolutely wonderful guy, but not the brightest feline on the planet and began chasing Harrison around the apartment, wondering what was wrong with him – wanting to help, I suspect. Meanwhile, Harrison would turn around every so often, jump up on chairs, run into other rooms and hiss constantly! He didn’t want a wet Jackson near him! This went on for about 5 minutes until I think Jackson decided Harrison is just insane and finally let him be. It’s cheap entertainment for me, but I thought it was funny.
The other cheap entertainment tool for you cat lovers, or friends of cat lovers – a laser pointer. I swear to you that you’ll enjoy it more than the cats. Get a laser pointer for someone who owns cats and you’ll be entertained for hours…days…months! They chase around the little red dot like it’s going to taste like something when they catch it. Harrison follows it all over the apartment while I have it shined on the ceiling. I don’t know if he thinks he’ll catch it when it comes down or something. Jackson has spun himself dizzy a few times chasing the evil red dot in circles until he finally fell over.
Was there a point to this ramble? I probably could’ve simply said “buy a laser pointer if you have cats”, or “my wet cat is chasing my other cat”. That wouldn’t be like me to be succinct, though. I ramble, therefore I am.