Cat stories

Michael Raffety


After reading about Walt and Hadley Kopps’ misadventures on the way to having feral cats fixed, I was reminded of our family’s cat stories. Especially after reading Jennifer Forsberg Meyer’s defense of cats and some of the wacky things her cat does. She has a very impressive cat.

My first cat came flying in the house when my upstairs landlord in San Francisco’s Bernal Heights opened his front door. A little tabby kitten went straight for the cupboard. We had a heck of a time getting him out of that cupboard. And we got scratched.

I’ve long forgotten how I wound up with the kitten, but it actually turned out to be such a loving cat that I named it Lothario, from one of the side stories of “Don Quixote.”

I brought him with me to Placerville when I lived on Reservoir Street and then when I moved to an apartment above what is now a hamburger shop. Then after Cherie and I got married, Lothario moved to Cameron Park with us. When my wife became pregnant, Lothario loved to lie on her stomach and purr.

When we moved into the house we built just west of Placerville, Lothario couldn’t handle another move. He got run over the night before we moved. Somebody was kind enough to heave him up on the front lawn of the condominium complex. It was a dead cat throw that I was very saddened to see.

Later, when our daughter was in grade school, we got two kittens that were being given away in front of Lucky’s (now Savemart) over by K-Mart. I had just read the “Last of the Mohicans” and one or two other “Leatherstocking Tales” and so we named them Hawkeye and Chingachgook. My daughter just called the second one Ching-Ching.

The pair eventually succumbed to cat old age. They were replaced by Rambo and Mad Max, both of which became mainly outside cats after we got a German shepherd that bonded with my son.

Besides the cats from a grocery store box we started noticing strays, which I trapped and took to the vet to have fixed. We eventually wound up with eight cats showing up for our industrial-sized cat feeder. We had to take the feeder and water in at night to keep away the raccoons.

As the dog headed into old age and spent most of his day sleeping, most of the strays had faded away and we were left with Rambo and Mad Max. Rambo got his name from always showing up a little torn up from fights. Eventually he lost one eye and we nicknamed him Pirate Pete. Then one day the walking vet bill stopped showing up. We assumed he lost his last fight.

The kids were all off on their own. My wife and I walked the dog in the evening. After the dog died and we walked down the hill, Mad Max showed up and walked with us. He was so pleased the dog was gone. He just strutted along like he was the real dog now. And that’s partly why we called him Mad Max.

Now once again we are catless. We are also dogless, except when my daughter leaves Caesar the affectionate Doberman with us. His only shortcoming is once he caught a gopher and now he does trench warfare all over our property, thinking he’s really going to catch another one.

Not going to happen. Only cats can capture rodents.


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