I’m not a “cat person” per se, because that implies a species-specific specialization (say that five times fast and you win a kitten). Not me. I love cats, dogs and bunnies equally. And marmosets and mongooses too (mongeese?), for that matter. But I’ve only had one dog and one bunny, and no marmosets or mongeese. On the other hand, I’ve somehow managed to have—correction, be had by—almost a dozen cats.
I captured the first two, a couple of feral kittens dubbed Blackie and Grayie. But being more panther than domestic cat, they soon disappeared. The rest of our cats, on the other hand, captured us–and chose to stay.
Mr. B was a gorgeous ball of fur who loved to nibble buttons. Hence, Mom named him “Buttons,” but it very quickly turned into a misnomer. Born shortly before we moved to a new house across from a vast, untamed Field made for hunting, “Buttons” morphed into the largest, most magnificent cat anyone had ever seen. At least part Maine Coon Cat (or lion), Buttons soon became “Mr. B,” a feline Sean Connery who liked his mice shaken, not stirred. He was feared by every tom, and adored by every molly. The scars he acquired (“you should have seen the other cat”) only made him more magnificent!
Our other cats feared the vacuum cleaner. Not Mr. B. He hit it, bit it, clawed it, and stood his ground. So Mom taunted him with it. Mercilessly. Then he would find me, wherever I was, and bite me in retaliation, but never Mom. Mr. B’s sun rose and set on her. If he could, he’d have had a heart with “Mom” tattooed on his bicep (catcep?).
Zipper, on the other hand, whom I’d rescued from a truly evil man, was all mine. Zipper was a lover, not a fighter. And among those he loved was the flirty little molly next door. In the heat of passion, Zipper and Molly failed to use protection and, voila…
Our next cat was born. Molly’s human mom insisted we “do the right thing” and adopt the most incriminating evidence that these were indeed our mutual grandcats, that evidence being the one kitten that looked exactly like his hep daddy.
Mom named him Ginchy after the beatnik term for “the coolest cat” (popularized by Edd “Kookie” Byrnes on the TV series 77 Sunset Strip). Ginchy’s full veterinarian’s office birth certificate name was Ginchell Russell Teemley (Mom’s play on my name Mitchell Russell Teemley), indicating that we were brothers.
Ginchy was aptly named. You didn’t tease him, he teased you. I played hide-and-seek with him, and he always figured out where I was. But when he hid, I was completely mystified. If he was a chess player, he’d have beaten Bobby Fischer. I always felt he was smarter than me. But I didn’t mind because, well, we grew up together and…
He was my brother.