Skip to comments.The Cat Who Taught Me Chutzpah
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 email@example.com. Her website is www.saraleeperel.com.
All cats are chutzpahnicks, only some have more than others.
Silly blurry monitor.
All cats are chutzpahnicks, only some have more than others.
But I repeat myself.
Love is ever lasting.
Very nice post.
I love cats, nice post.
Then why did you even click on the post?
All cats have “chatspaw”...
I just took in a 5 week old. Weighs about a pound. Think I can make it through the chutzpahness..
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?
Nice to know you chose the latter choice.
What a shithead you must be!
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!
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.
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