How Cesar Got His Name

Last week, I received a long-dreaded text from my friend Deb.

“Cesar had another seizure. I took him to the vet, and it was time to let go. This has been a bad week.”

Cesar the Cat was her second pet to die in two days. She had had to say good-bye to her beloved terrier Daisy earlier that week.

The late great Cesar.

Cesar was 20 years old, and had first entered her life at the age of six weeks. When I met Deb two years ago, she was afraid his time had come then, and a visit to the vet revealed he did, indeed, have kidney disease. However, cats can live a long time after that initial diagnosis, and Cesar continued to function in a healthy manner.

A few months ago she sent me this agonizing text: “Cesar just had his second seizure in two days. I’m afraid it’s time. I will miss him so much. He is the best cat EVER.”

It wasn’t time yet.

Deb taught high school English for decades, and 20 years ago, she told one of her students she’d name her kitten after him if he got an “A” on his paper. He got the grade, and Cesar got his name.

I wonder what former student Cesar is doing now. Assuming he’s alive (and we’ll assume that), he’d be in his mid- to late-30s. Does he remember his one-time teacher named her cat after him? Did it matter to him? Has he ever owned a cat, does he have children, was he successful in his life?

We influence the world around us, and never know it. Student Cesar would likely never imagine that today, a woman he’s never met is musing about his life. Because of a dead cat. To say I care what happened to him is perhaps a stretch, but in a way, I do. I want success for him.

About the time I met Deb and learned about Cesar the Cat, I was in the middle of drawing a cartoon cat for one of my posts. I named him Cesar. When I showed Deb the drawing, she said, “Yep, that looks like him.”

Cartoon Cesar.

I had no idea. I had simply liked the name. For some reason, I’d thought CtC was a Siamese, but he was a Maine Coon. The cat I’d drawn did resemble him. Eventually I made some “limited edition” t-shirts featuring the cartoon Cesar, and a couple of months ago I gave one to Deb.

Rest in peace, Cesar Kitty and Daisy Doo. You are missed.

Image Credits: (Paws and Heart) ©

Caturday Memories

Today I want to remember all the kitties from my past.

I don’t have pictures of all of them, nor is it likely I’ll remember all their names. But Hugo, Petunia, Whittier, Salem, Gabriel, Cassie, Darren, Whitney, Montero, Carter and of course, Paco, you made my life better just by being there in the morning. Even if being there meant you were pestering me for food.

Granted, the quality of many of these pictures is pretty poor, either due to age or because they’re Polaroids (or both). But you get an idea of how blessed I’ve been.

Caturday Memories.


Equal Time for Mimi! (It’s Caturday)

A few weeks ago, two consecutive posts featured my adorable cat, Walter.

But I have two precious kitties, and Mimi is every bit as loving and sweet as her brother. It’s just not as easy to capture cute pictures of her. Here are a few I particularly like.



Dear Walter and Mimi,

I treasure you. Hopefully you don’t need to read this to know how much.

That’s why (and I know this is hard for you to understand) I don’t want you going outside. You see, it’s dangerous for kitties out there, and the two of you aren’t street savvy.


I’m going to visit my mom in a couple of months, and I’m worried about you. I’m terrified you’ll dash outside while I’m gone and I’ll never see you again. My friend Deb is going to take care of you while I’m gone, so be good for her, okay?

We need to talk about my trip a little, too. I’ll be gone for what will seem like a long time to you, and I decided it was best to let you stay home rather than go to the kitty-cat hotel. They didn’t have any of the big rooms available, and you would’ve been in a teeny-tiny space for way too long.

So you might be a little lonely, but I’ll be coming back, and Deb will stop by everyday to feed you, love you and clean up your litter box. Be sure to talk to her and snuggle with her; she’ll love it. I may come home and find she’s kidnapped you! (Just kidding.)

We have lots of space now, lots of room for you to run around. It’s okay if you knock things around a little. Deb or I will pick it up.

Remember, I treasure you.

Image Credit (drawing of cat) © puckillustrations — fotolia

Back in the Box

I’ve finally reached the conclusion, after eight months of fighting it, I’m not going to find space for some things I own.

My brother says if I’m not using them I don’t need them, but I’ve already delivered a dozen boxes to Goodwill. I’m not ready to part with anything more. So all these miscellaneous items will go into a box — make that boxes — that will be placed in the corner of the spare bedroom.

The cats are delighted. Boxes! Boxes! Jump in, jump out. Play a little, sleep a little more. I just have to be sure not to tape anything shut with a kitty inside.

The Hiding Place

Walter has found a new place to hide, and I don’t dare let on I’ve figured it out.

Where's Walter?
Where’s Walter? And why is my blanket cat-shaped?

It takes some effort for him to pull that blanket off the back of the chair — and every time I try to video tape it, he stops and walks away. So I guess I’ll humor my baby and let him think he is oh-so-sneaky.


We Draw The Line — No Dogs!! No! No!

Some of you may remember when, last summer, I posted some videos of my precious, sweet, mild-mannered babies meeting two equally sweet pups for the first time.

We were house-sitting, and the cats weren’t particularly happy about staying there, but nonetheless, they were curious.

In fact, I’ll just bring one of those videos out again. You can see how Mimi was brave, yet Walter retreated at the first — and distant — sight of Allie, who wouldn’t hurt a fly.

Over the last several months I’ve cared for these dogs many times, and of course, come home smelling like Allie and Lulu. The cats meticulously sniff me out, and then walk away.

So I figured it was okay, when my friend told me he was selling his house and, at the same time, would be doing a little bit of traveling, to let the dogs stay at my place while he was gone. I was a bit hesitant, so we thought a trial day would be a good idea.

Turned out we were right.

Lulu and Allie stepped through my door, and I expected the cats to retreat to their safe spot, downstairs, where the two bedrooms and full bath are. Plenty of room, with food and litter boxes and a big picture window that they already love. Not to mention the closet and under the bed, their favorite hiding places. I had the stairs blocked off so the dogs couldn’t get down there, but I suppose the cats didn’t fully know that to be fact.

Mama, Where Did You Say We're Moving
Who, me? My name is Mimi, not Meanie!

My passive, loving babies turned primal, with growls that came from deep within. When Mimi appeared about to leap at Allie (who had surrendered, sitting flat on the floor, with his back to the cats), I grabbed her — and paid the price. My right arm was full of punctures, and blood had splattered on my t-shirt.

We had our answer. The pups were headed to a kennel.

Fortunately, there’s a very good kennel nearby, out on a farm, that’s also reasonably priced. Allie and Lulu likely will be just as happy, if not happier, housed there for the two weeks Roger will be gone.

I learned my lesson — bring in friends, sure. The cable guy, okay. But keep the dogs away. This is kitty territory.


We’ve Got Each Other

I recently told the tale of how my babies came to be a part of my life. They are brother and sister, and have a bond deeper than any other.

They protect each other, battle with each other, and at the end of the day, snuggle with each other (and if I’m lucky, with me.)

Caturday Night

I worry about what will happen when one of them dies, but they’re not even five years old yet, so I don’t think about that for long.

Each one has his or her own power. Together they are a mighty force.


Here’s Your Baby!

November, 2012.

I didn’t have a job. I owed the Cat Clinic hundreds of dollars for the care of the late great Paco. It would have been irresponsible to get a new cat. So when the pitiful cries of two little ones are heard outside my apartment window, I steel myself and say, I can’t save all the kitties.

In that neighborhood, at that apartment complex, people were abandoning cats all the time. It was one of the hardest parts of living there, and that wasn’t an easy place to live. It was devastating not to be able to help all the poor kitties who sat outside my window, crying. Fortunately, one of the other residents worked at a no-kill shelter, and she was usually able to find them a home.

Older Paco
The late great Paco.

I had only the screen open, so I closed the window completely. The crying fades slightly, and now I start to cry a little. It’s only been four months since I lost Paco, and I miss him. Not to mention no one should have to cry like that. Were they hungry? Did they have a home?

Two hours after the crying starts there’s a knock at my door. I open it to find Kaylee, my neighbor, holding the cutest one-pound ball of fluff I’ve ever seen. “Here’s your baby!” Kaylee says with delight as Ball of Fluff leaps out of her arms and runs into the heart of my apartment. I run after him (her?) and scoop him up, hand him back to my neighbor and explain he’s not mine, I can’t take him in, and why.

Kaylee’s face falls. “Okay,” she says. I found out later she and her roommate, Foster, took in Ball of Fluff and B of F’s sister, along with a menagerie of other abandoned pets, hoping they could find their real owners, or in the alternative, new homes for them.

“You’re Coming Home.”

That didn’t last too long. Come January, it’s below freezing, with ice, sleet and snow covering every inch outside my door. I lay awake one night once again listening to the pitiful cries of a kitty. I can’t stand it. Throughout the night I hear him crying, again and again.

Finally, it’s morning, and all is quiet. I’m hopeful the kitty has received good care, because I no longer hear any crying. I leave for an errand, but when I come back,  I hear him.

A quick look around reveals he’s right outside Kaylee and Foster’s door. It looks like Ball of Fluff, a little bit bigger, a lot soggier, a whole lot sadder. And mysteriously, with a blue leg.

“Okay,” I tell him. “You’re coming home.”


Later that night, when Kaylee is home from work, I tell her I’ve taken in the kitty, whom I’ve named Walter. She’s ecstatic.

“The police told us we couldn’t keep all these all animals here without a kennel permit,” she said, “so we put those two outside and gave them food.” True or not about the police, they had dumped two kittens outside, in the middle of winter. I held my tongue.

“I can only take one,” I said. “Really, I can’t even afford him, but I can’t let him stay outside.”

“Okay,” her face telling me that clearly, she’d hoped I’d take the other, too.

“He looked so pitiful…” I said. “That blue leg…”

“Oh, that,” Kaylee rolled her eyes. “He jumped into a jar of my blue paint and wouldn’t let me clean him.”

Jumped into a jar of her blue paint…I didn’t ask. I later learned Walter liked to dive from the refrigerator onto the far counter, and he jumped into more than one glass of my orange juice before I discovered how far away I had to place it.

Feline Destiny

The next afternoon Walter sat in my bedroom window and cried. I felt terrible, then I heard something that made me feel even worse: the sound of another kitty crying on the other side. His sister. I couldn’t see her, but I knew I wouldn’t last with that situation. I was about to be the proud mama of two kitties.

I wrote a note and placed it on the girls’ door upstairs. “Everybody needs a little buddy. Bring the other kitty over. I’ll take her in.”

Within thirty minutes there was a knock at my door. “Walter,” I said, as I headed to the door. “Here’s my other baby.”


I Want You Back

Ah Paco, I miss your little kitty breath. Yes, I have two wonderful kitties now, but you were older and needed your teeth cleaned more often to keep them fresh, so frankly, you had…kitty breath. It smelled like love.

I miss you so much sometimes it just hurts. You were my sweet baby, you saved my life when no one else was there to help. When, in the last months of your life, I needed you so desperately, you sacrificed for me again, and I’m in pain today knowing you were probably in pain then, and didn’t show it. I know better now. My two new babies won’t suffer like I fear you may have.

Paco (1)
Paco, my sweet baby

But those were the bad times. Mostly it was just day-to-day, me and Paco being best buds. I’d come home at night and you were at the door. When you were little you’d run out and I was scared you were going to run away, but instead you ran to the upstairs apartment, backing yourself into a corner. I’d pick you up and carry you home, you purrrrrrring all the way back.

Then you’d eat, and wow, you had an appetite. You got really fat, but when I tried to cut back, you were relentless in your pursuit of more food. It wasn’t worth it to me to try to hold out on you. Now I know better, and my two new kitties maintain a good diet, a good weight.

Despite that extra weight you never got diabetes or any of the other diseases related to weight gain in cats. You lived a good long life. I wanted you to live until you were 22; that was unrealistic, and you made it to 16.

Older Paco
All snuggled up

I miss you, the way you snuggled up to me and fell sound asleep, leaving me stranded on the sofa until you woke up because I didn’t want to disturb you. I miss the way you played with Mr. Green Satin Mouse on a String, your favorite toy. I haven’t been able to find another toy that durable for my new babies. We go through those fishing pole toys so fast!!

I miss you, I miss your kitty breath, I miss your little fashion spot on your front right leg and your little pink nose. I want you back and I know that can’t happen. I love my new babies, but you Paco, you were the cat of my heart.

Thank you for being there for me, and forgive me all my faults.

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