Now, That’s A Cat!

catsbeach9I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul.
Jean Cocteau

**Happy ending alert: This cat does not die at the end of my post!**

I don’t read books or blog posts about pets. I don’t watch movies about pets. I know how they’re going to end and I know it’s going to make me cry.

Why do we only write epitaphs and obituaries for the animals we love? Do we only recognize how much we love them when they die?

I know exactly how much I love my cats and I know how special they all are, but one of them is special beyond measure. I want you to know about him without crying at the end!

2006 cats-67The cat’s name is Blondie, a funny name for a huge, yellow boy. He was a stray at our summer place, years ago, and since he was around so much, we needed a way to refer to him. He was pale yellow so we cast around with all our creative energy, and called him Blondie.

When he finally became ours, the name had stuck.

When he first started coming around, he was pitiful. He was big but very thin, which made his legs seem too long. Now he’s quite plump and my mother always says, “Blondie used to be much taller.”

He now has long luxuriant fur but, back then, it was matted and he had licked himself bald in places.

He had a circuit he made, trying to find food and he covered a lot of ground. Neighbors would say, “I saw that cat you’ve been feeding at the community college,” (two miles away) or “That cat you’re going to adopt was at our house yesterday” (two miles the other way).

And, yes, we fed him. You would’ve fed him, too. Because as hungry and pitiful as he was, all he did was purr. And he has been purring his big, deep, resonating purr ever since.

He purred when we fed him and let him into the house. He purred when he wanted to go back out and we wouldn’t let him, even though he was a little nervous about that.

He purred when we put him in a cat carrier. And put him into a car. And drove with him 400 miles. And he got carsick and everything. He was very nervous about that.

He purred when we took him directly to the vet to be neutered. When the vet said, “He probably has feline immunodeficiency virus or feline leukemia and will need to be euthanized,” the cat purred, while I cried.

But he was fine! So we took him home and made this rambling boy a house cat for 8 months of the year. We made him live with two other cats. And he purred.

He has purred ever since. And he has adapted. He has the heart of a lion and has become the center of the cat family. We call him the captain of the varsity and the other cats pay him obeisance and take turns curling up with him.

blondduff3 twinkblond People love him, too. More than once, workers who’ve come to the house have taken one look and said, “Now, that’s a cat!” Because he’s big and hunky and bear-like, he appeals to people who don’t normally like cats. Once, a deliveryman came to the house, and Blondie streaked out the open door to get outside. The pizza guy said to my husband, “Hey, mister, I think your dog just got out!”

Blondie protects what he sees as his. He has taken on dogs, large and small, who have ventured into his world and woe be to those dogs! Cats who don’t belong to his family are directed to leave and large waterfowl are summarily dismissed! IMG_0701

Blondie has been with us for many years now. We live in a spot where he can go outdoors but he never goes far. His favorite spots are kind of half in and half out—in the doorway, on the deck, in the nearest garden (the one with the catnip!) And he purrs.

blondiedoor IMG_5438It’s as if he knows how lucky he is.

2008 cats-67We keep a close eye on him. We give him special food now and let him eat where no one can bother him. We whisk him the vet (she loves him!) at the smallest sign of a problem. We stop what we’re doing and pay attention when he comes by for love.

It’s as if we know how lucky we are!

And that makes Blondie purr.

blondietree2

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54 thoughts on “Now, That’s A Cat!

  1. What a beautiful story – I do feel emotional as I love cats and Blondie looks so lovely… you are ALL lucky to have each other. We are moving back to Portugal in June and taking our cat with us, I can’t wait to see how a city apartment cat adapts to a small village near the sea with a whole garden and fields to explore! Just like Blondie, I’m sure she will just be content to have someone to feed her and a warm place to sleep (and another cat, our Portuguese cat to make friends with …hopefully). Give Blondie a belly rub from me! Cath.

  2. Kerry, you had me laughing out loud. Your mother saying “Blondie used to be much taller” and the pizza delivery guy saying “MIister, I think your dog got out.” had me howling! Your photos are marvelous too. How lucky that Blondie boy is….

    • Now, see? That’s what cat stories are supposed to do–make you smile, not cry! The picture of him chasing the heron off the seawall is what makes m laugh–he’s fearless!

  3. Wonderful post, Kerry…I love your Blondie without ever meeting him in person! That photo of him half-in, half-out of the green door is marvelous!
    He’s a dead ringer for a cat I had as a child, named Caesar. Same ground-shaking purr, too. All you had to do was walk into the room where he was, and the rumbling began 🙂

    • I love the green door photo, too. That was at the seasonal cottage we used to rent and the place we lived when we first got Blondie. He was regularly parked in that spot, enjoying the outdoors but wanting to keep one foot in his home. Your Caesar sounds like an equally wonderful guy!

  4. Blondie is a continuation of a host of rescued cats…we currently have seven. They are all wonderful In their own ways, and they all have wonderful personalities. They weren’t allowed to read Kerry’s blog, as there would be serious repercussions, and hurt feelings…while Blondie puuuuuuuurrrrrrs!

  5. I’m a bit teary-eyed after reading your beautiful story, even though you wrote *happy ending* at the beginning. That’s just how I feel about cats, especially former strays. Blondie is not only handsome, but clever too…since he chose yours to be his forever home! I hope you enjoy many more years in each other’s company 🙂

  6. Wow what a big boy! He’s the same size as our dog! Who btw thinks she’s a cat, cries pathetically when they run away from her, barks at the dogs on TV and cries mournfully when a cat appears! We have no idea why she’s like this with cats, she was a rehomer who was only 5wks when we got her and we don’t have cats (unfortunately), She also has a heart like a lion, she even made a huge rottweiler run from her tail between his legs on the beach one day, it was very embarrassing I must say! I’m sure not as bad as the humiliation the rotty had after been run off by a little dog! 🙂

  7. Wonderful tribute to a wonderful cat! Orange cats are the best! And thanks for the happy ending alert. I can’t watch movie or read books with animals in them because they always die at the end – it’s too much for me to handle.

  8. What a guy!! And you are right, our boys do look alike! The second to last photo of Blondie upside down looks exactly like Orlando – who sometimes is referred to as the ‘dumb blonde’ when he is caught doing something not entirely sensible [apologies to all blondes!]

    That is indeed a beautiful post about a beautiful cat and so lovely that you wrote it now! Though I too had tears by about half way through. There is always something extra special found in cats who have hard beginnings – I have known a few now – and the brightness of their personalities and the depth of their charisma can leave me breathless – Your Blondie is one! xoxo

  9. I too have a tan cat named blondie (a girl) who looks just like your blondie. I live on Long Island and my cat Blondie had a brother at North Shore Animal League as well. In 2006, both blondie and her brother were adopted, however, her brother was returned a few days later. Any chance this is Blondie’s brother?! haha!

    • Hi–you’re so lucky to have such a great cat! There’s no chance your Blondie and mine were related, though. Mine showed up, in upstate NY, as a stray in the late 1990s.

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