another tribute

the world is minus a cat today.

i realize that this has little to no ripple of effect on the world and most people in it. i have the day off because of a strong typhoon that in it’s early hours is trying to comb the trees in every direction. however my world is a little emptier. dante has been a part of our family for 18+ years. . . that’s half my life. he and his companions scout and lump were our first indoor cats that reached adulthood. he is the cat i got after losing my kitten in our house fire.

when i got him he was little more than a puffball. (turns out he had a double coat, so he was extra fuzzy) i could cup my hands around him and just his head would poke out from under my thumbs. (it’s important to note that i have small hands.) he was a manx, so he had longer almost rabbit like hind legs and just a stump for a tale. he often ran with the hop of a rabbit as well. he was sleek black, (except for a white tuft under his neck) so capturing decent photos of him was difficult.

grandma called him a ‘little black devil’ once when he used his claws to work his way up her pants and into her lap at the dinner table. dante was alive when my grandma was alive and still able to come around for sunday dinner.

he had a slightly adventurous personality. we wanted to be able to let the cats play outside, so for a little while we had harnesses and leashes for them. dante would race over to the tinkling sound of the harness clasps. snow or grass, he loved to skulk real low to the ground, like he was trying to have the world rub his belly. as people or cars approached our house, he would sit back on his haunches, a little like a meercat to get a better view. turns out he climbed a screen a little like he ran; both front paws together like grappling hooks that would drag his back legs up with them.

he was playful. dan had devised a game that kept dante mesmerized by throwing playing cards in front of him one at a time. dante would sit back on his haunches and try to catch the falling cards in his front paws. he was successful from time to time. he might take a break and pretend to look uninterested from time to time, but then the flicker of the card would catch his eye and he’d be at it again. he was also a good sport. we stuck present bows to his head, and put tape on his back to watch him try to slink away from it. he even starred in a video my family made for me in college that was played for a dining room full of people who had worked on a production together. he seemed to keep his perch on fred (our fredutian temple statue) with showbiz professionalism.

he was a little fearful of short people. mostly because short meant young. . .and children didn’t always play nicely. when a kid entered the house dante would scurry away and hide in an upstairs closet. i came home for a visit once, after a year and a half absence, and being short and less familiar, dante scurried away from me. when he realized i gave great belly rubs he got over his fear quickly. i also was fearless in attacking his two coats with brushes, often creating a pile of fur as large as him.

my parents often offered to bring him out to whatever new home i moved to. but he had grown up with them and scout and lump. . . my house wouldn’t be as lively, plus i was allergic. . . so, yeah. i sometimes wondered if when they asked it was a joke to let me know he was growing more annoying. he had developed a grating meow that he used to let you know he was hungry (which was often). It was usually the first thing you heard in the morning. It was also his personal sounding alarm when you were about to step on him. (remember, a black cat is hard to see when walking through a dark room.)

he was often underfoot. he really enjoyed sitting at your feet. he’d maneuver his head and ears around your toes to help you get the spot he wanted rubbed just right. his favorite sleeping position was on his back with his four paws slightly outstretched. when he realized he wanted to be seated next to you he took a minute to assess the physics of the jump. sometimes the warm up required a small rump wiggle. when he jumped he trilled, it sounded a little like a short vocalized purr. once seated next to you, if you slacked in giving him attention he would gently remind you by tapping his paw on your hand. . .repeatedly.

he was a source of laughter, comfort, annoyance and joy. and like all good cats, he wore this mantle with an air of nonchalance.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey there....what a beautiful tribute. Tried to call you today, but the phone just rang. Hope you're feeling better. Makes me think of Max, and Tu, and the whole brood. Mom often threatens to send Max wherever I am, but he, like Dante, has his brothers, and responsibilities. Moving about would just be too stressful, though I'm sure from his perspective, I'm in desperate need of cat-minding. And if we choose to hear him as a yowler, rather than the knowing "prophet" he is, well, that's our problem, not his ;) Anyway, glad I had a chance to see him, and Scout, and Lump. hope the typhoon didn't leave too much desctruction behind. Monsoons have yet to really begin, but school is taking off and could easily swallow me whole if I wanted. Have a feeling September might just fly by. Sending my love, and hope you get a chance to wear that hanbok to some costumer's wedding before too long. S