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The Cat Who Taught Me Chutzpah
Cape Cod Times ^ | January 07, 2011 | Saralee Perel

Posted on 01/07/2011 3:01:43 PM PST by nickcarraway

I can still picture the morning I was sitting with a dozen mewing kittens at the animal shelter in Brewster. There was a slight movement between two pillows on the far side of the cage. That's where I found Eddie. He was on his back trying to get some sleep "in this lousy joint," as I imagined an independent cat like him would say.

He was a plain gray tabby, as common as a housefly.

"He's the one," I said to my husband, Bob.

Eddie swaggered to the food bowl, pushing four kittens out of the way.

"He's so ratty," Bob said, picking him up. "And he only has one whisker."

Eddie tenderly pressed his face against mine. Then he put his sharp baby teeth around my gold earring and yanked with the strength of a sumo wrestler.

Eddie had chutzpah and he knew how to use it.

That first night home, he was restless. I calmed him with a song from the musical "Oliver!" I sang it softly, as a slow ballad, "Food, glorious food, hot sausage and mustard." He closed his eyes and purred. From then on, that song always soothed him.

Eddie got up before we did. I knew that from the sound of breaking glass.

We found him on the mantel where my Sydenstricker glass plate used to be. The floor was covered with glass shards. He quickly put his paw behind a blue china vase and chucked that off the mantel, too.

At first I felt bad. But that didn't last. Things are just things. Our pets are family.

While we were sleeping, Eddie bit our earlobes, toes and fingers. He preferred protruding parts. Imagine what poor Bob endured.

When we'd watch TV in bed, he'd scratch us for attention. Eventually I learned that there are times when family, friends or pets are more important than TV. And when are those times? Always.

Years ago, I was on the phone with a rabbi. He asked about my mother's interests for his sermon at her funeral. I said, "Mom loved painting and ..."

That's when Eddie came running in with something in his mouth. He had opened the new box of tampons I bought that morning. He started flinging the tampon in the air like it was a toy mouse.

I couldn't stop laughing. The rabbi assumed I was having a traumatic stress reaction and said, "When we lose a loved one, we're often not in control of our emotions and that's OK. It's fine to laugh."

That cracked me up even more. I managed to blurt out, "She made jewelry!" before seeing the tampon go flying across the room. Then I hung up — on a rabbi yet. Oy vay.

Eddie opened cabinets by putting his paws around the knobs. Vitamin bottles made great rattling noises upon crash landings.

We bought childproof magnets at the hardware store. Eddie simply tugged a little harder.

Back to the hardware store for hook-and-eye locks. Eddie flipped the hooks open with one paw.

Back to the hardware store for deadbolt locks. He easily slid those bolts to the side.

The guy at the hardware store already had combination locks on the counter.

Eddie came into my life when, because of an illness, I needed to learn a lot from him. And I did.

To Eddie, obstacles were challenges. When barriers thwarted him, he never quit trying. Words like "can't" and "hopeless" were only beliefs. Beliefs can be changed.

For the past two years, Eddie had been sick. I spent lots of time massaging his face — he always loved that. One afternoon, I used my fingers to comb through the lovely set of whiskers he'd eventually grown. That's when I discovered the side-effect from the medicine he was taking. As I gently rubbed along his face, his whiskers came off, all but one. I placed them in a tiny needlepoint purse my mother made for me.

He came into our lives with one whisker. And that is how he would leave.

Three months ago, on a quiet Sunday afternoon, I kissed his forehead and whispered, "I love you." He looked up at me. His face showed the love he was never successful at hiding.

As Bob softly sang, "Food, glorious food, hot sausage and mustard," Eddie took his last breath.

While his body was still warm, I cradled him in my arms and rocked him. I held his head so he was nestled against my neck. "Eddie, you will always be a part of me." I didn't want to let him go from my arms. But Bob, so lovingly and slowly, gently took him away.

And so, I honor the life of my wonderful cat who, from the beginning, stood apart from all the others. My beautiful cat, my Eddie, just a plain gray tabby, as common as a housefly.

Saralee Perel is a retired psychotherapist. Her column appears the first Friday of the month. You can reach her at 508-428-8676 or sperel@saraleeperel.com. Her website is www.saraleeperel.com.


TOPICS: Pets/Animals; Religion; Weird Stuff
KEYWORDS: kittyping
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1 posted on 01/07/2011 3:01:45 PM PST by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway

All cats are chutzpahnicks, only some have more than others.


2 posted on 01/07/2011 3:07:31 PM PST by Panzerlied ("We shall never surrender!")
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To: nickcarraway

Silly blurry monitor.


3 posted on 01/07/2011 3:07:35 PM PST by skr (May God confound the enemy)
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To: nickcarraway

All cats are chutzpahnicks, only some have more than others.


4 posted on 01/07/2011 3:07:45 PM PST by Panzerlied ("We shall never surrender!")
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To: Panzerlied

But I repeat myself.


5 posted on 01/07/2011 3:08:55 PM PST by Panzerlied ("We shall never surrender!")
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To: nickcarraway

Love is ever lasting.

Very nice post.

Thank you.


6 posted on 01/07/2011 3:13:53 PM PST by Leo Farnsworth (I'm not really Leo Farnsworth.)
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Comment #7 Removed by Moderator

To: Celtic Cross

I love cats, nice post.


8 posted on 01/07/2011 3:30:14 PM PST by Big Horn (Rebuild the GOP to a conservative party)
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To: Celtic Cross

Then why did you even click on the post?


9 posted on 01/07/2011 3:35:11 PM PST by Mears
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Comment #10 Removed by Moderator

To: nickcarraway

All cats have “chatspaw”...


11 posted on 01/07/2011 3:38:46 PM PST by mikrofon (Pet BUMP)
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Comment #12 Removed by Moderator

To: nickcarraway

I just took in a 5 week old. Weighs about a pound. Think I can make it through the chutzpahness..


13 posted on 01/07/2011 3:44:51 PM PST by goseminoles
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Comment #14 Removed by Moderator

To: Leo Farnsworth

Our party is going fairly well yet there are a-holes attacking our own. I don’t get it. If he doesn’t like cats, skip the freakin post. How hard is that?


15 posted on 01/07/2011 3:50:24 PM PST by goseminoles
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To: nickcarraway
This is Eddie...

Photobucket
16 posted on 01/07/2011 3:51:09 PM PST by JACKRUSSELL
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To: Celtic Cross

Nice to know you chose the latter choice.

What a shithead you must be!

Ha!!!!!!!!


17 posted on 01/07/2011 3:51:29 PM PST by Leo Farnsworth (I'm not really Leo Farnsworth.)
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Comment #18 Removed by Moderator

To: goseminoles

I love cats, but am allergic. Had my daughter’s two cats for a year or so, and loved having them. I’m a dog person, but love everyone else’s cats. Good luck with your baby!


19 posted on 01/07/2011 3:55:06 PM PST by KYGrandma (The sun shines bright on my old Kentucky home......)
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To: nickcarraway

In 1994, we took in a ratty looking Himalayan cross. She was an atult cat then, spayed, DECLAWED, abandoned and left to survuve as best she could. I’m SURE she has no Maine Coon in her, but she got by by developing the strongest paws I’ve ever seen. She would kill rabbits, and drag them up the driveway betweeen her front legs the way lions do on thos documentaries. She could also manipulate any thumb latch. Even now, if you can stir her to play with yarn, you have to have a good grip, because she’ll tear it right out of your hand.

Yes, the date is not a typo, and she’s still with us. I dread the day she no longer is.


20 posted on 01/07/2011 3:55:15 PM PST by cake_crumb (Why do they call them "pat downs" when they're obviously "feel ups"?)
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To: Celtic Cross

You’re a jerk. Why f up a good thread d-bag?


21 posted on 01/07/2011 3:55:20 PM PST by goseminoles
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Comment #22 Removed by Moderator

To: JACKRUSSELL

Look at that face! Husband wonders why I am crying. Thank you for a great post. You so understood you Eddie and I’m glad I got to know him a bit.


23 posted on 01/07/2011 4:03:12 PM PST by Roses0508
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To: Celtic Cross; Leo Farnsworth
You really expended way to much thought and effort on that post, considering its limited returns.

His post made me laugh, yours didn't. I'm not sure why you felt the need to announce to the FReeper community that you hate cats, but you have, and for that, I thank you.

LSAggie (posting on hubby's account)

24 posted on 01/07/2011 4:03:20 PM PST by osagebowman
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To: Celtic Cross

You will be gone soon. Look in to the mirror. People like you have no soul, or if it’s there has been sold to the highest bidder. Making fun of someone’s loss. Troll, disruptor, start working on your next screen name.


25 posted on 01/07/2011 4:03:43 PM PST by RKM
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To: Celtic Cross

Whatever. People who actually live with cats are entitled not to agree. I have a feeling you can’t leave it at that; you’ll be moved to pull an athiest troll on a devout Christian thread act.


26 posted on 01/07/2011 4:03:52 PM PST by cake_crumb (Why do they call them "pat downs" when they're obviously "feel ups"?)
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To: Celtic Cross

I don’t care about your idiotic justification for your previous posts moron.


27 posted on 01/07/2011 4:04:00 PM PST by goseminoles
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To: Celtic Cross
Didn't you know, this is a cat-lover caucus. It says so in the title. Wait, nevermind. I don't like cats either and I really hate the claw marks on the bootlid of my freshly painted MG. Thanks, cat.
28 posted on 01/07/2011 4:09:07 PM PST by filospinato
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To: nickcarraway
Great post! God bless the little furballs. I have three, and could not ask for better animal friends. Dogs are great too!
29 posted on 01/07/2011 4:10:30 PM PST by HerrBlucher ("It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged." G.K. Chesterton)
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Comment #30 Removed by Moderator

To: Celtic Cross

Children do the same thing, do you hate kids too?


31 posted on 01/07/2011 4:15:45 PM PST by HerrBlucher ("It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged." G.K. Chesterton)
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To: Celtic Cross
But really, I see know reason to keep an animal that is sneaky, manipulative, looks down on you, and cannot really be trained.

Yes, it is much better for you to spend your time learning the difference between "know" and "no".

Our rescue cat, Jackson Silver, loved our sick dog, Gypsy. Jackson showed so much respect to Gypsy, he worried over her and played with her, they were best buds. Jackson died of cardio myopathy two months ago, and Gypsy still stands in the backyard looking for him every time she goes out. We didn't see a sneaky, manipulative, snooty, untrainable cat, but an animal with empathy towards another. I'm sorry your life has been empty of such an experience.

32 posted on 01/07/2011 4:15:45 PM PST by osagebowman
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To: Celtic Cross
“...Whats to love? If my opinion offends you, sorry. But I express it nonetheless.”

True, you do express it. And it certainly is improving your status here, overall.

Proud we are of you and all your good works!

Continue on, good man. We all know you are correct and our compassion is just mere folly.

Woe be to us and our silly sentimentality.

“Obama is the most unsentimental man I’ve ever met,” – an anonymous presidential staffer. (P.S. Marx, Lenin and Stalin were unsentimental too.)

It appears you are in fine company....

33 posted on 01/07/2011 4:16:45 PM PST by Leo Farnsworth (I'm not really Leo Farnsworth.)
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Comment #34 Removed by Moderator

To: nickcarraway

thanks for that....you owe me for a box of tissues...cats are so special...all individuals...no two alike....


35 posted on 01/07/2011 4:26:20 PM PST by razbinn (I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America,and to the republic for which it ...)
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To: Slings and Arrows

Kitty ping...


36 posted on 01/07/2011 4:29:30 PM PST by Twotone (Marte Et Clypeo)
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To: RKM

And won’t it be appropriate that a Viking Kitty takes him out?

(*grin*)


37 posted on 01/07/2011 4:37:04 PM PST by BuckeyeTexan (There are those that break and bend. I'm the other kind.)
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Comment #38 Removed by Moderator

To: Celtic Cross

“I hate cats.”

Ha. Nope. You don’t, you clicked and gave yourself away. (You once had a really horrible cat named “Slasher” who kept you scarred all over from the baths your wife insisted you give him, and who was picky about what he ate, who slept on your bed and shoved you over to the side, lying in the crook of your leg and causing you to sweat something awful, who begged arrogantly at your table, who yowled petulantly when he wanted outside, who also yowled petulantly when he wanted to be let back inside at night and go to sleep on your lap in the easy chair, who was SPOILED so rotten everyone thought he was awful; but - you hate cats . . . yeah, sure ) Twinkie knows these things; you may deny it, but this is the REAL truth, CC.


39 posted on 01/07/2011 4:40:40 PM PST by Twinkie (Awake and strengthen that which remains . . . . . . . . Revelation 3)
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To: Celtic Cross

Taken it upon myself to zot you? I don’t have that kind of power here. For hating cats? Grow up.


40 posted on 01/07/2011 4:42:38 PM PST by BuckeyeTexan (There are those that break and bend. I'm the other kind.)
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To: nickcarraway; All
Look, in fairness I love dogs and cats.

I really do.

How many of you have listened to Mark Levin speak of his dogs such as Sprite (His book: Saving Sprite) or Griffin who passed away December 19th, 2010. It brings tears to my eyes, and I'm sure to may of your eyes as well.

In my home we have three cats. The oldest, ‘Oslo’ (a shortened version of his full name) was found in a field when he was no more than nine months old. We took him in because it was November and the first snowfall of the season was falling. He was semi ferrel, but if we did not take him in he surely would have perished. What a kind and friendly feline he is.

Our other two cats are from our shelter and we are happy to have them.

The Original Posters story rings true with me as our ‘old boy’ - Oslo is getting rather feeble.

He contracted diabetes before he was one and we have been testing and injecting him with insulin for more than a decade.

The diabetes is taking its toll, but we sure love the little bugger.

It will be a sad day when he passes, but we know that we have done all that we can for him.

I apologize for this, but I think you all - well MOST OF YOU - can understand.

Thanks nickcarraway for your post, and to all of you dog, cat and America lovers who thought nickcarraway's post was wonderful.

41 posted on 01/07/2011 4:44:18 PM PST by Leo Farnsworth (I'm not really Leo Farnsworth.)
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To: BuckeyeTexan

If you hold no such power, and it can’t happen for hating cats, then why are you implying it? With a grin no less?


42 posted on 01/07/2011 4:46:33 PM PST by Celtic Cross (FREEPING ONE YEAR +2!!!)
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To: Celtic Cross

Your opinion of cats is duly noted. Now, please leave this thread to those who think otherwise. Thanks.


43 posted on 01/07/2011 4:47:22 PM PST by Admin Moderator
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To: Celtic Cross

As the original post said, your “behavior” on this thread indicates that you won’t be here long. And when you are zotted, a Viking Kitty will do it.


44 posted on 01/07/2011 4:50:14 PM PST by BuckeyeTexan (There are those that break and bend. I'm the other kind.)
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To: BuckeyeTexan

No cats jokes!
Meow King restaurant


45 posted on 01/07/2011 4:53:35 PM PST by Leo Carpathian (fffffFRrrreeeeepppeeee-ssed!)
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To: Admin Moderator

Shame on you for removing my post, #12 on this thread.

What’s wrong with you?


46 posted on 01/07/2011 5:02:55 PM PST by Leo Farnsworth (I'm not really Leo Farnsworth.)
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To: skr

Something’s wrong w/my monitor too.


47 posted on 01/07/2011 5:04:15 PM PST by ninergold3 (Let Go and Let God - He IS In Control)
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To: nickcarraway
My best friend "Squeaky," a great-looking tuxedo full of character, super-smart, affectionate, and loyal, passed on 29 December 2010 after being my constant companion for 18 years and 3 months.

God Bless You, Squeaky; I miss you so much!

48 posted on 01/07/2011 5:06:20 PM PST by Matthew James (SPEARHEAD!)
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To: cake_crumb

We adopted a street kitten in 94 who is still with us, never imagined she’d be around this long. She can hardly jump anymore and is totally deaf, and part of me will die when she does.


49 posted on 01/07/2011 5:21:08 PM PST by agrace
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To: Celtic Cross; Hot Tabasco; Leo Farnsworth; goseminoles; All
But really, I see know reason to keep an animal that is sneaky, manipulative, looks down on you, and cannot really be trained.

I used to have a Maine Coon that shunned everyone except me, except when he heard someone cry, particularly children. He would become affectionate with anyone who cried.

I have another Maine Coon that loves to walk on a leash and greats people at the door.

I have an ancient domestic shorthair who used to play "fetch" with a ball. Now she's a bit too old for that.

You have the manners of vermin and the personality of parasitic fungus. Do you spend your spare time visiting the cancer ward mocking terminally ill patients?

50 posted on 01/07/2011 5:21:52 PM PST by Grizzled Bear ("Does not play well with others.")
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