November holds the time set aside in the United States for reflecting on the things in our lives for which we are thankful, and my cats are always pushing at the top of the list. Here, then is my tribute to some special cats I'm thankful to have known, on the occasion of Thanksgiving in the U.S.
Buffer and SpunkyI inherited Buffer and Spunky when I married my husband. Asa had literally grown up with them, as they were both 14 or 15 when we married. Buffer was an exquisitely beautiful long-hair of a buttery buff color. Regal and aloof he was, and I remember the thrill that coursed my spine the first time he gave me a "love bite" right on the tip of my nose. I was 16 then, and my husband was my boyfriend, and I felt as if I had been accepted into the family with that nose-nip. Spunky was a big, cuddly black and white fluffball who purred at the drop of the hat. The breeders who developed the Rag Doll cat could have had Spunky in mind, because he'd simply flop into your arms, all sixteen pounds of him, and go limp. Spunky represented the epitome of unconditional love.
TinkerTinker was born shortly before the birth of our last child, over 40 years ago. He was the ultimate example of catness: a huge golden shorthair with exquisite topaz eyes. He reigned supreme in our household for 17 years, and saw a number of other cats come and go during that time. His favorite spot in the house was anywhere his humans were, and he loved to assist with newspaper reading by anchoring the middle of it. He also loved fish-watching.
PumpkinTinker's favorite pal in later years was Pumpkin, who was about five years younger. Pumpkin, a red longhair, was a very laid-back cat, which was fitting for the 70s. He and Tinker were real "buds." They loved to sleep together in the bright California sunshine that warmed our back deck, which earned them the collective name, the Sunshine Boys.
WhiskersWhiskers arrived to grace our home when I was a police dispatcher. Our Animal Control Officer had picked him up and was sure he was a Maine Coon cat. Rather than take him to the shelter, he gave him to me to foster until the owner could be found. No one ever responded to the ads we placed, so Whiskers became a much-loved part of the Syufy household. He was a glorious longhair brown tabby with a huge fluffy tail. Everyone loved him, from our Afghan Hounds right down to the youngest child.
ArthurMy little old lady cat, Arthur , went to Rainbow Bridge in 1997, just before Thanksgiving, and I still miss her every day. She was 18 years old then, and our longest-lived cat at that time. Arthur came by her name through a bit of deceit on my part, and she was only the second white cat we had ever had (The first was Puff, a long-haired kitten we adopted shortly after our marriage, and who was with us all too short a time.) Arthur's coloring was to be her downfall; she developed sarcoma on her nose and ears, a result of too much exposure to the sun over the years.
ShannonOur beloved Shannon graced our home for 19 years, and it was with a heavy heart that I helped him find the Rainbow Bridge in July of 2001. Shannon was a mainstay to the About Cats Guide site, and even has his own portfolio, a legacy to his unique brand of catness.
Shannon was my Golden Boy, my perennial "sphynx cat" who sat upright on my desk at my side as I worked, just like a furry Egyptian statue. I typed and he nodded off, and every now and then we exchanged a head-bump when I turned from the computer. He was a Prince of a cat, and will live in my heart forever.
Bubba was somewhat of a little tyrant and let everyone in the household know who was boss, from my husband, Asa, down to the youngest cat. Still, he deferred to "Uncle Shannon" when push came to shove. They both shared our king-size bed every night, which meant Asa and I each got a piece of real estate slightly narrower than a crib. The time came though, when Shannon was tired of being the alpha cat, and he appointed Bubba to the job, and lived out the rest of his days being my best friend as well as my Guide Cat.