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Published on February 16, 2021

Memories are made of this

Our Whiskey Cat

By Roy Edwards
The Bulletin

My daughter, Shirlene, was 7 years old when a friend of the family gave her a kitten. The kitten was supposed to be a Tom. Unfortunately, small kittens are hard for a layman to determine male or female, so about a year and a half later, the ‘Tom” became a mother cat with a passel of kittens.

One kitten bonded with my son, Robbie, who was about 2 years old. Robbie wanted to name the kitten Whiskers, but he had trouble pronouncing the word “whiskers”, so the kitten became known as Whiskey Cat.

Whiskey Cat grew to be a magnificent animal. I guess you would call him an American Shorthair. He was big, almost twice the size of the average housecat. Not fat, just big and beautifully marked. Jet black with a white chin, chest, and paws. Apparently, he knew how handsome he was because he never walked from place to place - he strutted everywhere he went.

Whiskey Cat had his own way of eating. After watching his bowl filled with cat food and waiting an appropriate span of time, he would approach his food bowl and sit down. With his front left paw on the floor, he would lift his right front paw and extend his claws. Reaching into his bowl, he would pick up one morsel of food and bring it to his mouth. He would slowly chew that morsel, then lick his paw to wash it, and after a short wait, pick up another piece of food. He never stooped so low as to beg for food from people at the dining table.

Whiskey Cat was Robbie’s cat. He barely tolerated the rest of the family. If Robbie was home, Whiskey Cat was home. If Robbie was gone, so was Whiskey Cat.

After Robbie started to school, Whiskey Cat would disappear during school hours. When time came for Robbie to come home, Whiskey Cat would be sitting on the peak of our roof. When Robbie turned onto our street, Whiskey Cat would come off the roof and escort Robbie home, strutting all the way.

Whiskey Cat hated dogs, and he guarded his yard. Neighborhood dogs would only walk down his section of our sidewalk once. After being duly educated of Whiskey Cat’s territorial boundaries, any dog walking on our side of the street would cross over to the other side at least two houses away and would not cross back over until they were at least two houses past his area.

One afternoon, I heard a mixture of howls, screams, and cries coming from the front of the house. When I stepped out of the door to see what was making the racket, I saw Whiskey Cat on one side of my Volkswagen Bug and his mother, Fluffy, on the other side.

Trapped under the car was a full-grown Labrador Retriever. If the dog moved to the left, Fluffy raked him with her claws. When the dog moved to the right, Whiskey Cat took over. The poor dog was yelping and crying - begging for help.

Finally, the Lab escaped from under the car and took off down the street, running as fast as he could. I never saw that dog again.
Come to think about it, we never had stray cats in the yard, either.

I only saw Whiskey Cat lose his cool one time. I had gone offshore fishing and caught a nice Ling. We had a Ling roasting in the oven when Whiskey Cat came into the house. He immediately started vocalizing, rubbing against our legs, and acting like he hadn’t eaten in a week. He even tried to jump up on the kitchen counter. I gave him some trimmings from the Ling, and he wolfed them down. Roasted Ling changed his personality to a beggar for about 30 minutes.

Robbie graduated High School and signed up for MP school with the Army.

When Robbie left for bootcamp, Whiskey Cat had to be at least 17 years old. When he left, so did Whiskey Cat. The day Robbie came home on leave, Whiskey Cat came home. Then, when Robbie left for his station in Germany, Whiskey Cat disappeared. That was the last time the family saw the cat.

Whiskey Cat had one other distinguishing feature – the longest incisors I ever saw on a cat. With his mouth closed, the tips of those teeth hung at least a half inch below the fur on his bottom jaw.

While Robbie was on station in Germany, a new family moved in next door. They had a 5-year-old son. The boy already had his life planned out. He would go to college and become a paleontologist. He loved to talk about digging up dinosaurs.

One afternoon, he ran up to the back fence to show off his latest find. While conducting a “scientific dig” with a tablespoon, in his Mother’s back yard flower bed, he had unearthed the remains of a small saber-toothed tiger.

(Write Roy in care of The Bulletin. Email: john.bulletin@gmail.com. Snail mail: The Bulletin, PO Box 2426, Angleton TX, 77516.)