Several years ago when I was “between cats” it seemed like it was time to adopt another animal companion. I went to my regular veterinary hospital (The New England Animal Medcial Center) to see if they had any stray cats. They occasionally adopt out cats when unclaimed cats are injured and sick and brought to them for help. At this time they had two cats in their care. One was a small young kitty they were calling Creamsicle as he was an orange cat with white underneath. The other cat was an older, bigger black cat. When I met the cats it was immediately evident that their personalities were very different. The little orange cat was very shy and scared. The black cat was very outgoing and not at all shy.
I decided that the little orange cat was the one for me. He struck me as a cat that really needed a home. He had been found on the campus of a nearby university and had been suffering from an upper respiratory infection. The fine folks at the animal hospital pronounced him now healthy and ready to go to his new home so this little kitty became my new animal companion and I named him Peewee, primarily because he was so small.
Peewee ~ The Best Cat Ever?
As I mentioned he was rather shy. I had no idea how shy until I got him home. Almost immediately he ran under the couch and stayed there. He stayed there a lot! Like all the time. To feed him I would put food on a spoon and slide it under the couch and he would creep over to nibble the food. When I was gone for the day I would come home and see evidence that he had been out and about in the apartment. A few things were moved slightly moved so I know he had been venturing around the various rooms but he was still under the couch when I arrived home. Once I came home and he was not under the couch. I searched around and found that he was now under a dresser which means he had to squeeze into a very small area.
After a few weeks things had not changed. Peewee did not seem any less scared or shy and I hardly ever even saw him. I did not feel like I actually had a pet. I just felt like I had something living under my couch!
My thought at this time was that if Peewee had a another cat friend it might be good for him. Would another cat be able to make him relax and develop a mature cat personality? I thought about his cat friend from the animal hospital – the big black cat. Would they get along well? They seemed so different in their personalities.
I eventually decided to adopt the second cat as well. The black cat had been named Fang at the animal hospital. He had been found on a nearby city street, probably hit by a car and had a jaw injury that resulted in a front left tooth that protruded from his mouth, hence the name Fang. Oddly enough I previously had a cat who had been found on that very same street, with the very same type of injury and the same tooth sticking out from his mouth (do you believe in cat reincarnation?).
Fang was renamed Yogi once I brought him home and he quickly became best friend and big brother to little Peewee.
The difference in personalities between Yogi and Peewee was dramatic. Yogi was big and outgoing and certainly the dominant cat of the two. He would eat his own food as well as most of Peewee’s food. I often wondered how Peewee could survive since Yogi ate almost all his food. Yogi also ate other stuff which was a bit of a problem. He would eat (not chew, but eat and swallow) items such as socks and sweaters. He apparently found wool to be really yummy! He also ate shoelaces. I had to replace the laces on my hiking boots several times. I eventually took to latching my closets with hook and eyes latches. I always made sure my shoes, sweaters etc were out of reach of Yogi. The worst event was the day I came home and found Yogi sitting on the window sill and he was chewing on the Venetian blind cord. I gently pulled it from his month to find he had about three feet of cord inside him. Fortunately he had not severed the cord with his teeth so I was able to remove all of it from him. It certainly would not have been good for Yogi if that length of the cord had ended up inside of him.
Yogi was also very vocal. Much more vocal than any cat I have ever known. Some folks with dogs that bark a lot may be concerned that their neighbors may complain about the dog barking too much. I was actually concerned that people would be complaining that my cat was meowing too much. He would walk around the house meowing his little head off. I do not know if he was trying to speak to me, if he was simply having a conversation with himself or if he just liked hearing the sound of his own voice.
*** Peewee ~ The Best Cat Ever video ***
Peewee on the other hand was very quiet. He seldom meowed in his entire lifetime. His total meows were probably about a dozen. I never heard him make a sound until he was about eight or nine years old. I was sort of shocked the first time I heard his tiny meow. He was not very good at it. His meows were very quiet and short. No wonder he never made a sound – he didn’t really know how!
Peewee and Yogi were great friends. They played together and slept together. They really seemed to enjoy play fighting together. I guess it was play fighting because for all the biting they did there was never any blood drawn. A fight could start at just about any anytime. If one cat was sleeping the other cat might pounce on him and the next thing they were rolling around together or chasing one another around the house. Peewee was much smaller that Yogi but he never would back down from a fight and would occasionally start the fight. He was such a brave little kitty, just another reason I think of him as The Best Cat Ever!
After about ten years Yogi passed away. He was much older than Peewee and had a full life. His illness was over rather quickly and Yogi was buried in the middle of my large back field.
I expected that Peewee would now be rather lonely and that I would end up getting him another kitty companion. But what happened was somewhat unexpected. I thought he might even go back to his very shy and introverted ways that he experienced when he was real young. Instead he seemed to relish being the only cat in the house. He was now the dominant kitty! There was no other cat to eat most of his food, take the best window seat or boss him around. Peewee adjusted to this new stage in his life by being more outgoing and affectionate than ever, eating more (gaining some weight) and still being very playful. I decided that since he liked being the only cat in the house that it would stay that way.
It was around this time that I was speaking to a neighbor who runs a pet care and training service. He pointed out that in nature canines are pack animals but felines tend to often live on their own. This made me feel better about Peewee no longer having a cat companion.
Peewee was an indoor cat But as he got older once a year in the summer I would let him go outside. I would set open the kitchen door and sit in lawn chair in the driveway. Eventually his curiosity would prompt him to wander outside. He never went far but he would go down the few steps, nibble some grass and explore around this strange new world that he normally only viewed from the windows. I am not sure who enjoyed these annual excursions more, Peewee or myself.
Peewee’s Big Adventure
One night in the early spring, I think it was still March, I woke up in the middle of the night and had a slightly strange feeling. I am a light sleeper and can easily wake up with any noises in the house. This night I realized that I had not heard any cat noises for some time. I got up and looked around a few places but I did not find Peewee anywhere. I knew from experience that even though the house is not that big he knew all the best hiding places so I figured he was somewhere and I went back to sleep. Upon awakening at daybreak I searched the house again, did not find him so I went outside. It was relatively cold, maybe about 20 degrees. I located Peewee curled up in a corner far under my porch. He was so scared and terrified! He did not come too me and I could not climb to his location. I ran back in the house to get a hand full of his favorite dry food to lure him out of his spot. I was only away for about thirty seconds but when I went outside again he was gone! I searched all around the yard and the exterior of the house. I was now quite concerned. I eventually found him in one of my back sheds (the one with an open door). He was in the far corner hiding inside a bucket and looking very confused and scared. I was now easily able to scoop him up, bring him inside for a nice meal, a brushing and a warm blanket. I have no idea how he got out and I do not think he really enjoyed Peewee’s Big Adventure all that much. Fortunately it was a one time event.
Like most cats Peewee’s favorite activities were eating and sleeping. As he grew older he became very good at both. He also liked to sit on the couch with me and watch movies. He even liked historical documentaries. Peewee also liked to walk on the pages book I was reading whenever I was trying to read. Perhaps since he could not read he was jealous and did not want me to read when I could be paying attention to him.
When Peewee was just a few weeks from his fifteenth birthday he began to develop some serious medical problems. His eyesight failed him. He was not very good at being a blind cat because he also developed a problem with his walking and balancing. This resulted in him bumping into things and falling over. The vet said that it appeared to be a tumor it his head that put pressure on his eyes and then on the nerves the effect his balance. At the end Peewee also lost his sense of smell and could not locate his food. The end result is that Peewee is now reunited with his old friend Yogi in the field out back.
May he rest in peace – Peewee truly was a wonderful kitty.