Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wednesday's Walk Down Memory Lane

When I was a kid we always had pets. Usually a cat and a dog at the least. When I turned 11 I got my first horse and I have had them up until a couple of years ago and my Mom still has two. She still has 1 cat but has upped the ante with 4 dogs. I have just the one dog, Roxy.

One of my favorite childhood pets was Zeke. I remember being at my cousin, Mindy's, house when my Mom showed up with this little tiny ball of black and white kitten. She and her friend, Janis, had been out and about, stopped at a pet store and could not resist his wiley ways. Mindy and I had the most fun that day playing with that kitten out in the grass. He was so little, the well groomed lawn was as tall as he was! Somehow, I came up with the name Zeke and it stuck.

Now, kittens are wild, but this guy was even more so than the average kitty. And to make matters worse, I tormented him - holding him when he wanted down, playing rough with him, etc. Don't worry...he got me back! I still have scars from when he would "catch" my hand. I used to sit on the living room floor and run my hand back and forth and he would chase it for as long as I was game. When he "caught" me, he was determined to kill me - or at least my hand!

During this time I had a German Shepherd puppy named Meggie. She was big and gangly and just loved to play. Naturally, we were concerned that she would hurt Zeke, but there was no need to fear. He could really hold his own! Meggie would lay on the floor with Zeke on his back between her front paws and his front paws wrapped around her muzzle. Her tail would just wag and wag. My favorite was when Meggie would bite his teeny tiny little head and he would just lay there. I use the word "bite" loosely too, because he could have backed out of her mouth at any time but often would just happily lay there with his head in her mouth! I blame it on the table legs he repeatedly ran into.

Speaking of Zeke and table legs...My Mom had one of those not so sturdy three legged tables covered in a floor length table cloth. Mom has been collecting swans for as long as I can remember and has many that are antique. Well, Zeke loved the thrill of an ambush and under this particular table was one of his favorite hiding spots. He would lie under there and wait 'til someone would walk past the table and then POUNCE! Sometimes his aim was dead on and you wanted to sling him across the room (he did nothing gently and always had his claws out!). Other times, he completely missed. Many of the times when he would miss it was because he would leave his white tipped front paws sticking out from his "hiding" place. It's pretty hard to be ambushed when you can see your attacker from a mile away! One night, though, Zeke not only missed Mom on her way by, but instead knocked head long into one of the table legs. That flimsy table couldn't stand up against his 20+ pounds and it tipped over, sending one of Mom's antique swans flying for the brick around the fireplace. You should have heard her yell at him! I sat on the couch laughing hysterically. Luckily, both cat and swan survived the "attack"!

In spite of all the "torture" I put Zeke through, he was undeniably MY cat. Why he picked me, God only knows, but he did. In the summer he would be gone for days at a time hunting gophers and then he would come home, hang out inside for half a day and be gone again. During high school, I went up north to train horses. The first 2 summers I only spent 2 weeks up there. He forgave me for that. The following summer, I was gone for the whole season. When I came home for a couple of days to visit, Zeke was nowhere. I figured he was hunting and would be home the next day. He would often wait a day to come home when called during a hunt. Well, two more days went by and I didn't see even a hint of Zeke and it was time for me to go back to work. I was sure he was ticked off that I had left him for so long and I felt badly that I didn't get to see him. When I came home at the end of the summer, I went to the back door and called him. I didn't expect to see him until at least the next day. Fifteen minutes later, he was at the back door begging to come in! See, I'm pretty sure that he thought I left him again because he didn't come home when I called him.

Animals come and go from our lives. They all leave a mark, but some leave an impression and Zeke was definitely one of them!


DeenaL said...

Yes, Zeke was a one-of-a-kind cat! I remember the time he tried to climb the Christmas tree and brought that down as well! Remember how he used to sit up on top of the fence posts and sit there like a vulture? And the time he tried to jump the creek and fell in? What a cat and what memories!
Love ya,

Mindy said...

Oh Zeke! My memories of him seem to always be centered around him purring and sucking on your quilt! He would half close his eyes, purr and knead the quilt while he sucked and sucked on it. He was so cute! It was so funny seeing this HUGE, very manly cat doing that! LOL