Men don’t have cats, or so I’m told…

…by a tough guy. Well, maybe not that tough, but certainly tougher than me.

Maybe that’s why Friday, today, June 15 – payday for many a job across this great nation – me and mine became the proud providers for a 4-year-old Ragdoll cat named “Prince.” Or as I said in the pet store “the cat formerly known as Prince.”

I don’t want to characterize this relationship as me being the owner. We most assuredly don’t own this cat. If anything, Prince will own us. But it’s a great addition to our family. We toyed with the idea of a dog but dogs are too needy. They’re like newcomers in Alcoholics Anonymous. They always need affection, direction and attention, to name just a few of the incessant things canines require. I wasn’t ready for that kind commitment. None of us were.

But I grew up with dogs. Lots and lots of dogs. We had a black Labrador retriever, named Little Star. The name resulted from the fact that she was little with a white splotch of fur under her chin in the shape of a star. She was a wonderful little dog who decided to give birth one day to eight more black Labradors while we were living in Tuxedo Park, New York. None of them as small as her, except for one. There was one; the runt of the litter, in fact. She was a teeny little puppy that was having a helluva time adjusting to this deal called life.

The other seven dogs were romping about, eating up a storm, playing and appearing to have a wonderful time of it. Not this little girl. She was struggling. I was 12, 13 years-old and I, too, was struggling to adjust to this deal called life. My brothers appeared to be doing fine. So, of course, I claimed this little puppy as my own. I fed it. Played with it, Cleaned it and named it “Little Crud.”

Her nickname became “Cruddy.” God, how I loved that dog. She would follow me around, even sleeping on my bed at night when I went to sleep. She would walk me to the door when I left and she would greet me when I returned. And I swear that dog smiled when she saw me after a day away.

Little Crud got me through much of my teen-age years, along with booze and girls. God, how I loved to get drunk. And, God, how I loved girls. I never had much of a problem with girls, but, boy, did they have a problem with me. Even at that tender age, they seemed to require things I was not prepared to give. But that’s for another visit.

I tip my hat, if I wore one, to “Little Crud.” And offer up my thanks and prayers to where ever she might be. You kept me going through some very difficult times, Cruddy.

Now, today, this Friday, June 15 in the year 2012, we have a cat. “Prince” is part of the Whitmore clan. He has taken up residence under my son, Brennan’s bed. He seems OK, but right now doesn’t want to come out.

Perhaps he doesn’t want to be part of the Whitmore clan, I ruminate. I tend to look at everything with a doomsday eye. When I get the sniffles, it’s pneumonia. When I notice a freckle, it’s cancer. I am assured, though, by those more mature than I that Prince is just acclimating himself to his new home; that he is doing fine and will do fine. I’m sure they are right.

By the way, we got this wonderful Prince of a cat through a friend of my wife who actually rescues animals and helps find good, permanent homes for them. I have a friend also who does this. They deserve our support both emotionally and financially. We also must support our animal shelters. For those are the homes of last resort for many of these animals. They face euthanasia, or as the dictionary defines it, mercy killing. Not a good thing.

Anyway, tough guys don’t have cats. Or that’s what the tough guy says. I have a cat. Funny, I feel tougher already. Talk soon.

 

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About stevewhitmore

Former award-winning newspaperman and broadcast journalist, both radio and TV, spanning three decades. Army-trained paralegal, court bailiff and prosecutor's lead investigator for the 8th Infantry Division's Judge Advocate General's Corp., Mainz, Germany. 1973-1975.
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