Cats I Have Known and Loved

My Real Memoir

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.

My Real Memoir is a series. To read the next one, click here.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Humor, Memoir and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

40 Responses to Cats I Have Known and Loved

  1. kindfeelings says:

    My cat is like Buttons, even though I feed him a lot he’s always hunting and bringing his prey into the house.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Bet you chuckled out loud when you wrote this one. Thanks for the tags which took me to Flopsy-Jean. Had to share that one with David LaBelle, a white-bearded photographer who just adopted a rabbit.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jennwith2ns says:

    Grayie??? I had a bunny named Grayie!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Jennwith2ns says:

    Also–have you seen The Electrical Life of Louis Wain?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ejstoo says:

    As a child, we had a dog and a few cats adopted. Since marrying, we’ve had cats, but Sam is the only dog. My cats have always had unique names. Cymba, Tonka, Cairo, Ramses and even in childhood a dog named TV. Sam is the most normal name for any of my pets 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  6. This was such a fun post! I enjoyed every ginchy moment of it.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. I have a Blackie named Nora Lea Jones, a panther indeed. I hope she sticks around. She seems to like us. And there’s my group of girlfriends (from elementary school) self-dubbed Ginchy, for life.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Hey Mitch, your post is the cat’s meow!. While this Tom has yet to be owned by a cat, should that occasion arise, potential names would abound; for starters, the first name “Cat”. Next, depending on gender / personality, there’d be the middle initial “A” (when needed). Lastly, the surname; e.g., Clysm, Comb, Gory, Log, Pult and Tonia. A few would be minus the “A”; e.g. Burglar, Call, Fighter, Nap, Nip, Suit, Tilly (extra “l” an affectation) and Walk. As for the esoteric (apt for the mysterious, extra cool cat), how about Astrophe (sorta mythological) and Echism (sorta spiritual).

    Liked by 5 people

  9. We had Thumper and Termite. Thumper made so much noise running through the house the name came easily. Termite took a few days longer but when my daughter found her chewing on a log it was a cinch. We also had the TV detectives — Starsky, Hutch, Columbo, Monk and two more I can’t remember, all litter mates. They were house cats until some of them escaped out the door while one of them remained inside until the constant purring in our ears at night kept us awake one too many times. Incidentally, the photo of you with the cat on your head reminded me of the many times I would look out the window to see my husband going past with a cat on each shoulder.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. murisopsis says:

    All the links and all the feels!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I laughed so hard about your Mom taunting Mr. B with the vacuum and then he takes out his retaliation on you. That pretty much describes most cats I’ve known. Great story, Mitch!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. KT Workman says:

    I’ve been owed by a plethora of cats in my lifetime. I like dogs but love cats. I enjoyed hearing about yours, and can hear you singing: “To all the cats I’ve loved before, who traveled in and out my door…” lol

    Liked by 2 people

  13. leendadll says:

    Damn, that’s a majestic cat!!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. alison41 says:

    My whiskers are trembling in anticipation of 2nd installment of the Cat-chronicles.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Charlene says:

    Very funny and so true. I’ve had several cats over the years not one of them the same. They all have very unique personalities except for one common thread. You don’t own them, they own you.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Nancy Richy says:

    Over the course of 50 years my husband and I have had 14 cats. Let’s see if my memory is as good as it once was. We got Pokey in 1972. Put him together with my brother-in-law’s cat and we had a litter of 3. Benny was part of that litter. Benny had some sort of neurological disorder and kept running head-first into things .. hard things like refrigerators, stoves, the wall. He eventually passed away – very sad. We then acquired Smokey who was a sweet tabby. She and Pokey got along well but both were neutered so no babies. In fact, all our cats were neutered. Soon after Smokey, Dusty arrived. She was a round ball of fluff, a blueish-grey beauty, definitely no stray. How she ended up in the humane society is beyond me. Smokey passed away and we adopted Casey. He was my lover-boy, a smushy orange tabby who’d curl around my neck and sleep on my head. He was probably my favorite cat of all time. Casey sadly developed feline leukemia and we lost him, too. Still had Pokey and Dusty (affectionately known as Tubby). How my husband loved Tubby. Her ashes eventually ended up on a bookcase next to Casey’s. In the years that followed we adopted Samson, Floyd, Alice, Lucille, Grady, Max, Patch, Mickey and now Lucy. All our cats were adopted, never bought in a pet store, and the most we had at one time was 5. That’s a lot! Each one had a distinct personality; some were trouble-makers and got into fights like Grady who got beaten up so badly it took months for me to nurse him back to health. The following summer he got into another fight and wasn’t so lucky. Others were adventurous: Max loved to chase squirrels. He finally caught a small one and ate it – bones and all! The squirrel’s bones tore poor Max’s insides apart and he died the next day. Mickey suddenly passed away one day, totally unexpected. All our other cats died of old age. Pokey, our original cat, used to sleep on an old towel on the floor of our son’s closet and that’s where we found him one morning, having passed away peacefully in his sleep. He was 23 years old! That was a tough one, for sure. Now we only have Lucy – a mix of tabby and Maine Coon. We waited 8 years after our last cat died to adopt again. She’s a beauty but very aloof. We believe her father was feral and she inherited a lot of those qualities. I tried working with her, desperately trying to get her to be a bit more friendly, but haven’t had much luck. Shs’s mellowed a bit but still hisses at everyone and swats at me when I get too close. I wish her behavior was different but she is what she is. She’s difficult to love. We thought about bringing her to the animal shelter because our baby granddaughter is terrified of her; we have to keep Lucy in the basement when we’re babysitting. The problem is Lucy is un-adoptable; no one wants a mean cat and to ship her off to a shelter would be a death sentence and I can’t do that. So here she’ll stay, living the life of Riley, until her time comes to cross the rainbow bridge. With her tenacity, she’ll probably outlive us all! Yeah, we’re cat people. 😹

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Scott says:

    Cats are cool… but since I’m a dog person…. 😉 Dog or cat, I’m just thankful that God gives us these special companions to remind us of His goodness. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Susie says:

    We kind of never kept cats long enough to name them- edge of town edge of woods edge of scary road… but we acquired a black cat we named Spooky. He was sweet and we had him for quite a while. He used to catch and kill baby copperheads ( eastern Ohio). As an adult I’ve had several, usually black.. Houdini the escape artist, Clark ( after Gable) and now I have Jpeterman who is snow white and elegant. My sister has an orange idiot cat I won’t talk about….

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I admit to being a cat lover, cat woman, and I really enjoyed your style of telling about yours. It seems you are very much a cat person to me😀

    Liked by 1 person

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