No, this will not be about the long-running Broadway play by the same name. It is more about, well… Cats. This also covers years that are a bit later than the early years in New York that we usually discuss in this blog.
My reflections were triggered by a sad event this past week. A very dear pet cat of my brothers crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Her name was Maryann. There is little doubt that losing a beloved pet is brutal, even if, as was the case with Maryann, they have lived a long and happy life. I have no doubt that Maryann’s time on this side of the Bridge was time filled with love and care. I can say this with confidence because I know my brother and his wife. I know how they have always loved and treated their “babies.” I was fortunate enough to be a witness to some of it. I wish I had been witness to more because it always fills my heart with happiness to see how their cats were loved.
I know I will mess up some of the names, my brother can correct me when I do, but I thought the names they chose for their cats were always fun and creative. Maryann, for instance, named after the iconic character on the legendary TV show, Gilligan’s Island. ( I believe they also had a cat named Ginger as well?… Rob… fill in the blanks) Of course, there was Emma….. named after my brothers heartthrob in the wonderful TV show The Avengers… Mrs. Emma Peale.
However, the two that I remember most and that I was fortunate enough to have the most interaction with were Trio and Kitty Outside.
Trio came by the name honestly, in that the poor thing only had three legs. She was rescued from the streets. Trio was given a wonderful life and home. I believe it was when Rob and his wife were living in an apartment in Brooklyn that Trio entered their lives. I remember well, visiting and Trio rubbing against my leg. This cat was now familiar with love and affection. What a great cat.
But, how about the name “Kitty Outside”? I loved that. Again, a cat taken in from the streets Kitty Outside was, well… and outside cat. There were clear battle scars from the scuffles associated with being a street cat in Brooklyn, but Kitty Outside knew where to come for some good love and good food. There were many others, and I don’t know if I’m exhibiting flawed, but selective memory, but my recollection is that their cats were always affectionate. I recall visiting Rob and Les at their home in Philly, and before I got comfortable at the kitchen table for my first beer, there would be a “cat in my lap”… I loved it. What is odd and funny is that at this time in my life I was pretty damned allergic to cats ( I’m not anymore, go figure) and Robs cats must have sensed it because they sure liked getting in my face! LOL.
Despite my allergies, my wife and I also became big-time cat owners. We had Mosby, a solid grey cat, that we named after the Confederate Civil War General John Mosby who was known as the “Grey Ghost”. There was Bella, a loving, solid white cat that loved to sleep on my chest while I dozed or watched TV on the sofa. Media, a solid black cat that was devoted to my wife. She followed her everywhere and would be in her lap every time she would take a seat. There was Tiger, who looked like a Tiger and who was completely nuts. If there was something that could be destroyed or knocked over, Tiger would find a way. We presently have a solid black cat named Owen, but lord, his story is definitely a blog of its own.
Then, there is my daughter, Jen, the proverbial “Cat Lady”. She has a husband and four kids and the cats outnumber the humans at least 2 to 1.. at times more. Like her Uncle, she has a loving, precious heart for cats, especially strays. All the homeless cats in the apartment complex where she lives know where to go if they need a good meal. She would take them all in if she could. Sadly, Jen also recently experienced the sadness and pain of one of her cats crossing the Rainbow Bridge. It was a tough time for her family.
My second daughter, also an animal lover, has a very, loving affectionate cat named Greyson. ( she also has a large dog and a rabbit)
So anyway, Maryann’s departure saddened me and caused me to do what I do best….. reflect. It was a bittersweet reflection; grateful for those that are still with us, tears in remembering those that are not ( but a reluctant thankfulness in that while they were here, they were loved.)
Many will call me naïve and perhaps dumb, but I am convinced that on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge, those that have gone ahead are playing, and running and jumping. Every once in a while they stop and gaze across the Bridge…. just to see if we are coming yet… They can’t wait.