Grandfather Kitty, Love of my Life
by Coye Hadorn
(Largo, FL 33771. USA)
My first tuxedo cat was from New York, adopted from a shelter when I lived in Connecticut. He was aptly named Kitty since he was so small and young, but as he matured he became very smart and would walk with me sans leash, following me for 30 minutes or more around my neighborhood. On occasion a fellow walker would remark, "There's a big cat following you!" As if I didn't know. I just smiled. At his largest, he grew to 16 pounds when he was 16 years old, but he had lots of good times left! His vet assured me, "No, Kitty does not need to lose weight, he's just fine." Later on as I grew older, so did he, and our family began calling him "Grandfather," although he was neutered and had never reproduced.
I love to travel and ultimately he learned to love that too, and he became quite a cosmopolitan, widely-traveled kitty who learned to look both ways before venturing to cross our quiet street in Florida. By that time he had lived in 3 states and had learned to kiss family members on demand (most of the time). We also took him with us to live on a farm in Tennessee and that was his favorite home, but not mine! I was a city girl although I loved to camp out from time to time, in the mountains of North Carolina, and "Grandfather" loved that too, so much that he was too friendly to all the other campers and one family actually tried to "steal" him away from us! I wouldn't have believed it unless I had seen it.
One day he decided to go to school with my Uncle, and there I was, worried to frenzy, searching for him when I got a phone call that "Kitty" was fine and hanging out in English class with the children. Then one evening he decided to go dancing with my parents, but they did not realize it until they heard "meow" as they were entering the building. Since he had no appropriate dance partner they cut short their evening out! And my wonderful Mom and Dad still remember the time Kitty broke into their house when my Mom had tried to keep him in the garage one night (allergies you know) when I was away on a trip. Somehow he had jumped up on a 6-foot high open window, pulled the screen loose and stealthily jumped on their bed, to which my Dad (who had been sleeping soundly) was startled from his dream and called out, "Help, something heavy just landed on the bed!"
Grandfather Kitty lived on and gave us much laughter, joy, & love, and died naturally, on my screened-in porch, lying dreamily in a beam of sunlight as he moved on to a better world at the age of 22. I still get chills & sometimes tears when I look back, but mostly fond memories for the love of my life. Since then I've adopted two more tuxedo cats, but that's another story or two.