When I started writing this book, I promised you a unique story, so it should come as no surprise to you that I would devote an entire chapter to a cat. I think you will understand as I spin my story. When I adopted Coco he was one year old. When I finally had him put to sleep, he was 23 years old. I had decided that I was not going to let him suffer like I had seen many pets suffer, in pain and blind. He enjoyed a great life full of love, he deserved to go out with dignity. So, when I discovered that he was walking around with hunched back and in obvious pain and he had started losing weight, I knew it was time to bring him to the vet. It was the hardest thing that I have ever done in my life. Even though it has been eight years now since his passing, I can’t bear the thought of getting another pet. He was truly one-of-a-kind. He was my constant companion for those 22 years. He outlasted my two marriages. He was brought from Florida to Nevada. He lived through all the moving and remodeling with never a complaint or a recriminating look. He was my closest friend. He loved the outdoors and going for car rides. I also mentioned earlier that he even went for a ride in my cherry picker. Even though he loved the fresh air and eating grass, he was a true house cat and he knew it. He never tried to sneak outdoors. He also never made a mess even at the end when he was evidently in pain.
Coco, the Speed Racer
He was unique in that he loved his little games and routines. I am not sure how he kept them all straight but he did. I will first start with a few of his adventures. This is the one time that I wish I had owned a video camera. After I had replaced all the carpet with tile in my first house, Coco discovered how much fun it was to run on the tile floor. Especially when he would slide on the smooth tiles. On this one particular case, he was going so fast he couldn’t stop. When he put on his kitty breaks the momentum brought him to an upright position where he was now sliding on the floor on his haunches. He was still sliding too fast and his forward momentum now caused him to flip onto his back. By this time, he started slowing a little but still not enough. Now, he is sliding on his back with all four paws just moving frantically but to no avail because the swivel rocking sofa chair was fast looming in the horizon. Well, damned if he didn’t slide under the chair where he finally came to a stop. By this time, Tammy and I were just dying laughing… we had never seen anything like it. My cat did not think it was too funny, he was still on his back and was firmly wedged under the chair. You should have seen the look on his face, it was a combination of first embarrassment and then the look changed to one where he had really meant to do this all along. Maybe I am reading too much into his expressions but I was there and you weren’t. So, I finally stopped laughing enough to extricate my cat, and I gave him a big hug and some light petting.
Coco discovers Yogurt
While we only bought the best quality food for Coco, we did allow him to have a little yogurt and flan from time to time. We didn’t give him milk to drink, so I thought a little creamy-like treat would be OK once in a while. He always wanted what I was eating. One thing I enjoyed for a snack was an occasional cup of Yoplait yogurt. As a rare treat I would also partake in eating a small cup of Flan. I soon found out that he only like passion fruit Yoplait yogurt and Kozy Shack Flan. He could eat almost half a cup of either one if he was hungry. What a crazy cat and a brand specific snob like his daddy.
Coco gets High
When it finally came time to move to Las Vegas, we decided that were going to bring Coco as a carry on passenger. There was a $75.00 charge and the carrier had to fit under the seat. You also have to have proof of current shots. So, we brought him to his least favorite place in the world…the vet’s office. He prescribed kitty Xanax to relax him for the trip. He also gave us copies of his papers for his shots, which thankfully for Coco were all current. Due to his size, the Veterinarian wasn’t sure if he would need 1 or 2 pills, so he recommended trying the doses at home first to see how they worked. It made sense, since it would be a pain in the ass if he woke up on the plane in the middle of the flight. He ended up needing 1.5 pills to do the trick. The funniest thing in the world was watching him try to walk around when he was groggy. He couldn’t walk in a straight line. He finally found a convenient wall to lean on and you could just sense his relief, because things had stopped moving. He just sat there and fell fast asleep leaning against the wall. My poor little junky.
Coco’s Incredible List of Games:
Most cats liked to be petted in some way, Coco was no different in this respect, though what was odd was that he preferred feet. Tammy had said that when we first got him I was always busy either working on our computers or reading and doing school work. This meant that my hands were just too occupied to pet him in the more traditional manner. So, he would nuzzle up against my feet and I would start using my feet to scratch his head and kneading his shoulders and back. It didn’t matter if my feet were sweaty and smelly. He seemed to particularly like it after I had finished work and my feet were really stinky. So, it became know as “stinky piggy love” This could go on for hours. He preferred my feet, so if I wasn’t available he would allow Tammy to do it but only for a short period of time, just so he could get his “fix”. It got to a point that he really didn’t like to be petted with our hands.
Our first house was small with limited traffic paths, so it didn’t take Coco long to figure that out. So, if he felt like he had not received enough foot love, he would force you to pet him standing up. When he saw you walking somewhere in the house he would race in front of you and abruptly stop in front of you effectively blocking your path. He would not move until you petted him with your feet. If you tried to skimp on the petting he would simply stop in front of you a little further on your path. So this became known as his “Toll Kitty” routine.
“Watch me eat”
It turns out that my cat was a social eater, the only time he would eat was when I was in the kitchen and standing over his food bowl. Like I said, our house was small, so this occurred on a fairly frequent basis. The problem was that he would look up to make sure you were actually watching him eat. If you were cheating and not actually watching him, he would get pissed off and start rubbing against you until you paid attention to him and did it right. So now we had “watch me eat”.
“There is blue in the bowl”
This developed as part of the eating process, he would intentionally push his nose down in the bowl until the bottom showed. The bowl happened to be blue, so we had to overfill the bowl to make it harder for him to do it. So began “there is blue in the bowl”. By the way, he would not eat another bite till the emergent and life threatening problem was fixed.
To give us a little extra seating space for guests, I build this bar combination stand where you could store the stools underneath the countertop when they were not being used. The countertop also served as a plant stand as well. For strictly decorative purposes, thin slates were spaced on each side of the stand and the back to partially block the view of the stools. They were apparently just far enough apart for my cat to stick his front paws through and try and paw at you as you walked by. So now began the fun game of “jail kitty”. With him on the inside and me on the outside, we would “whap” at each other for several minutes on end. Finally, he would get tired and stop.
We had one bathroom in this house. The bathtub combination shower was just short distance from the toilet. So when you were sitting on the toilet, you could easily reach the shower curtain. Well, one day my cat pushes in the bathroom door and promptly jumps in the bathtub. He immediately goes behind the shower curtain and starts “whapping” at it with his paws. So I would “whap” back at him. This would also go on for quite some time. I would have to stop doing it because he would actually start wheezing from being out of breath. So began “shower kitty”.
I had built a bay window in the living room. Our couch was placed in front of it. Initially Tammy would try to put decorations there but eventually she just gave up and simply placed a few throw pillows there. We had a thin sheer covering the window to provide privacy and light. Well, it did not take long for Coco to discover this spot. It was pure kitty heaven. He was not only off the ground, he was hidden from sight, he was close to his favorite toy being me and he could watch the birds outside. What more could a kitty ask for. So now to top it off, he soon made a game of it as well. Now it was just “purrfect.” He would just out-of-nowhere start “whapping” at me through the sheer. So, I would have to turn around and engage with him. We would get pretty rowdy and actually do some kitty wrestling as well. Again we would have to cut it off because he would get short of breath and start panting. So began the routine known as “window kitty”.
This is one of the few games that survived the move to Las Vegas. The house was laid out differently and it was much larger with way too many paths to get to places. So, several games fell by the wayside. “Cute kitty” lasted by far the longest followed by the ever favorite “stinky piggies”. He did them right up to almost the very end. You never had to even touch him. It was always would take place when were sitting in the living room and we’re watching TV. Coco would eventually enter the room, and to make sure we saw him he would prance back in forth in front of us. Then he would plop on the floor with his big furry belly in the air. He would squirm all around, and the more you would say that he was the cutest kitty in the world he would squirm all the more. He even would actually start purring. This could go on for upwards of ten to fifteen minutes. Finally, he would get tired and just fall asleep on his back in front of us, so we could bask in his beauty and cuteness. What a ham!
So, you can see that he would make a pretty hard act for any pet to follow. Just the shear amount of time I spent with him makes our relationship very special. Even now I, on a regular basis, think of him fondly. I guess the true measure of a friendship, is how long you think of that individual after the relationship is over. I hope you enjoyed my little bonus chapter.