About that cat…

Image                                                                                                                                                                                                                         …the black and white cat in the picture up there. His name was Tripper, not because of a kinship with the Gore family. No, his favorite way of getting one’s attention was to amble between that person’s ankles. I’d say that his strategy could be effective from Tripper’s point of view or annoying and hazardous from my perspective. It came as a total surprise the first time he tried to trip me because we hadn’t been formally introduced. For some reason, my back yard duties brought me outside on a sunny afternoon. Tripper, a regal, that is magnificent and king-sized feline crossed the property line and made right for me. He immediately began his stagger-inducing shin slalom.

My first impression was that his beautiful and healthy appearance suggested he had a home and could never be a stray. It seemed that he must belong to a neighbor. As the weeks and then months ticked away, he still tripped his way through the back yards. The neighbors thought he was mine and I thought he was theirs. We were all mistaken. This became apparent as September rolled around. Tripper had lost weight and was frequently found inside my garbage can. A bald spot formed on his spine just above the base of his tail. Decision time had arrived. Should my wife and I take him in or call animal control. While discussing this weighty issue with Nancy Ann, Tripper joined us. Nancy Ann sat on the top step leading to our deck. Tripper climbed the several steps, snuggled next to Nancy Ann and put his head on her lap. We had a pet. He adopted us.

The photo shows Tripper sitting in a flower pot. Note the leaves: catnip. I grew it for him. I guess he liked it. Note the gaze. No, he wasn’t under the influence. He’d look you straight in the eye. There was nothing shifty about this guy. Tripper rarely raised his voice. He was into non-verbal communication. In other words, he had us well trained. He stayed with us for about ten years, a well behaved, quiet, affectionate member of the family. As time went by, he stopped climbing trees, not because he lacked claws. It seemed to be too much for him. He had a bit of hip dysplasia early on, but this condition faded away after a few days in an animal hospital. Toward the end, the classic signs of diabetes suddenly and forcefully appeared. The hip dysplasia returned with a vengeance. He lost control of his bowel and bladder and wouldn’t come into the house. Nancy Ann remembers opening the kitchen door for Tripper. He put his chin on the threshold, but would not enter.  We knew it was time for him to go. I kept looking into his eyes as the vet administered the final anesthetic. Tripper was buried just beneath the spot where his catnip grew. He can never be replaced.

This piece is dedicated to my Sensei: Leslie Lynch.

7 thoughts on “About that cat…

  1. Hi, Don! I’m going to try again. (I left a comment a week or so ago, but it apparently disappeared into cyberspace!)

    I love you description of Tripper! He reminds me of a wonderful, very large white cat named Fluff we had for many years. He would very purposefully walk down to a grove of trees on our property where some mint grew. It must have been catnip, or a close relative. He would roll in it, then take a looooong time getting back to the house, being hindered by his staggering and frequent need to collapse and examine blades of grass.

    Critters are such good friends to us, and so unique. I miss Fluff, as you miss Tripper. You had already brought tears to my eyes – and that was before I read the last sentence of your post. Then they spilled over. I am honored and touched at your sentiments. Thank you!


  2. Hi Leslie,

    I’m going to add to my blog more regularly. It may show up on the CWG page, although I’m not familiar enough with the format to smoothly add content.

    Thanks to you, I can recognize Romance Novels even when they take the sci-fi format.

    Did you go to the Derby?

    Happy Mother’s Day!

    God Bless,


    • Don, I’m THRILLED that you are going to add to your blog more regularly! You have a knack for it – and not all people do. 🙂 I don’t know the technical stuff about linking to CWG’s blog, but as long as your name is on the sidebar, people can find you here.

      Sorry to say, I detest crowds and avoid the Oaks AND the Derby when at all possible. My husband and I love the airshow prior to the fireworks at Thunder Over Louisville, two weeks before the Derby. Believe it or not, the airshow isn’t terribly crowded. Of course we hang out on the Indiana side of the river, where it’s more relaxed, and we leave before the fireworks, so it’s a bit like salmon swimming upstream, thanks to all the folks who don’t care about planes.

      One of the interesting facts about the Derby is that it’s Metro Corrections’ busiest weekend every year. They even have paddy wagons for hauling drunk and disorderly fans to jail! I learned that when I went on a tour of the facility a couple of years ago.

      Thanks for the Mother’s Day wishes.


      • Leslie,

        Thanks for the encouragement. There is a new blog entry: a review of Terry Pratchett’s Young Adult Novel, NATION. See if you can find it above the cat blog. I’m working on a review of Unseen Academicals by T. P., that fits the definition of a romance novel with the couple riding off into the sunset on horseback. The fact that one is a human and the other an orc makes no difference. They are both lovely individuals. I’d like to quote you in that blog if you don’t mind.

        Can you get a mint julip (sp?) on the Indiana side? When I lived in South Bend, they had some “dry” days. That’s when we’d visit Michigan.

        Looks like Air Shows will take a hit from Sequestration. Where I live, we get to see the commercial airliners coming in from Europe, usually headed for NYC or points west. They’re still at 35,000 feet, so there’s not much of a show.

        God Bless,


      • Mint Julep. Nope, I’ve never had one, but yes, you can get them on the Indiana side! The air show did take a hit; no military planes this year. 😦

        Yes, you may quote me in your blog. (As long as you’re nice to me!!!)


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