Cat Man Monday

My charming, talented and hipster co-worker Ian knows of my “single in the city with cat(s)” status and perhaps in an effort to give me hope, revealed that his current girlfriend has three cats of her own. And that he himself is a cat-loving man who’d grown up with a feline fanatical father.

It was Ian’s idea to have Cat Man Monday as a way for IHC readers to celebrate the cat men in their lives (we know and love “Cute Boys With Cats” but they’re just that – boys).

 

I bring you IHC’s first installment of Cat Man Monday featuring Ian’s very own dad Larry, who shared with us the story of his first cat encounter along with other formative cat tails tales.

“I’m Larry, and I am married with kids (and three cats). Not sure if I am ready for fame, but I am game to help kick start your column on cat dudes.

My first exposure to cats was from my very Irish immigrant grandparents. My grandfather Charles Daly was more of a dog dude. He had. I was 4 or 5, and pretty small.  The dogs always seemed on the edge of frantic. Not mean but a kinetic force that, at my size, was unnerving.

In contrast, my Irish grandmother Ann Daly had two cats, Teaco and Kitty (the Irish love their tea so Teaco was named because of her orange tea color). They were fluffy and aloof, but had me pegged as a cat dude, allowing me into their little circle and permitting me to pick ’em up and pet them- preferably in a location off the beaten dog track.  And so my pet orientation was formed at a pretty early age.

The first real pet I had was when I was around 6. Some older kids had found abandon kittens in the woods.  My mom agreed to try to nurse one along – his eyes were just opening. While the story doesn’t have a happy ending, my brief encounter with Woody* bonded me even closer to felines.

*I must have leaned on my grandmother’s straight forward cat naming method

The first cat of my very own came just before heading off to undergraduate school in Michigan. I was dating Ian’s Mom at the time and one of the ladies who hired us as a frequent babysitting duo called me for help. There was a cat in her garage that looked injured. Hence began another Larry-cat relationship that would help place me as a future Tamar column candidate.

There she was, a young black cat with moonlike eyes howling and zipping around the garage (quite ambulatory for being injured). I coaxed her into coming to me with the help of some lunchmeat. Somehow, her collar had slipped around a leg in addition to her neck.  It had cut deeply into the flesh around her neck and torso, and in the course of time the wound had been healing right over the collar in many parts. Sensing I was a cat patsy, she allowed me to examine her actually purring throughout the entire process.

I called a local vet to see if we could get some charity care and learned the hard lesson that medical care doesn’t come cheaply. But since I was a college student the vet made a deal with me. If I would remove the collar myself, he’d give me the medicine to treat the wound and prevent infection. When I asked how he expected me to do this he replied,“Well you seem to have the cat’s trust, just cut it, use some clean rags, warm water and work it off.”

It was one of the longest and offensively smelling hours that I ever spent. And it was quite surprising to me halfway through the job to find live maggots in the wound. It prompted another quick call to the vet, and another lesson – sometimes maggots are a good thing. The cat cooperated and purred during the ordeal, and once the collar came off I had a friend for life. She just would not stop rubbing gratefully on me.

The vet made good on his promise and Rubonya’s wound cleared up, but as you’d expect in the world of stray cats, she we pregnant. So healing from her trauma and getting ready to deliver her first brood, Rubonya headed off to Kalamazoo with me. I’m not sure how many onion-skinned “free kittens to a good home” posters I typed, but I successfully found homes for the kittens and got Rubonya to the vet with leftover pizza funds to have her spayed. And that’s when I learned another heart heavy pet lesson.

When she returned from the vet Rubonya didn’t seem to be getting back into the swing of dorm life. On the second day she was hardly moving, so I took her back to the vet. She’d gotten distemper. Simple vaccinations would have prevented this, but she’d obviously had not received them before I found her, and I naively thought she was safely living in a dorm.

I had to make the decision to put her down and held her close during those few terrible, gentle minutes. I cried all the way back to the dorms as I’d likely done the day we buried Woody that spring day in New Jersey.

There have been many kitties in my life since Rubonya, some dogs, too now that I’m a little bigger and not so unnerved. I love both dearly and as any pet lover will tell you they really do enrich our lives, with good times and even with the bad times. For me, I just seem to bond more with the cats because they got my number. They come to me. I can go over to someone’s house I’ve just met, and if there’s a cat it finds me. I must smell like tuna.

And I think it is something with heredity, too. My late father became a cat dude in the latter years of his life. During his last days in the hospital my father spoke lovingly about us, his children. But I had to smile inwardly when I saw the same kind of sparkle come into his eyes when he spoke about the two cats, Sega and Sheba, he had at home, and his requests for us to make sure to share some love with them since he could not be with them. (note: first photo in this piece is of Larry with Sega)

Fritz

Shortly after I lost my Dad in December, my thirteen year old, 20 pound, lovable-and-wouldn’t-hurt-a-fly tiger cat Fritz, came down with kidney failure. A mortgage payment later I learned there was nothing that could be done, and I had to go through the same scene I’d gone through with Rubonya three cat generations earlier. It was no easier. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Fritz is my current wallpaper on my Blackberry, and just a little while ago I was playing fetch with our new tiger tabby Abby, recently rescued thanks to Forever Rescue. She’s amazing. I gotta make a Youtube video…”

Larry’s latest kitty addition Abby

Can’t see the video? Click here to see Abby and Larry playing fetch.

ARE YOU A CAT MAN? DO YOU HAVE CAT MAN IN YOUR LIFE? You could be IHC’s next Monday Man Cat! Tell us how you came to love cats, how they’ve enriched your life, and share stories of your cats (past or present).  Email photos and a post for consideration to ihavecat (at) gmail (dot) com.

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  • Freya, Teego & Chatzi

    haha! I’m a cat man/boy every day of the week! 🙂

  • Lily Knopf

    Wonderful story and great pictures. 🙂

    I am happily married to a cat man. We live with four cats. I can’t imagine living together with someone who doesn’t like cats.

    • Lily, you should considering submitting a story about your cat man for a future Cat Man Monday!

      • Lily Knopf

        My cat man is a little bit shy. 😉 That’s him with three of our cats http://koelschgirl.blogspot.com/2010/11/sonntagnachmittag.html “Schatz” is the german word for “sweetheart” or “darling”.

        • I hope i’m not posting twice…my responses keep vanishing. grrrr! that’s so cute that your CAT MAN IS SHY!!! awwwwww well all that matters is that you have a cat man! 🙂 

  • Ccaroyn05

    That looks like the cat who ‘fetches’ the towel? lol..very cute….the whole article and pix..:)

    • Glad you enjoyed it! Always good to hear reader feedback especially when we are trying something new!

  • Crystal Sampson

    she is so cute 

  • Amy Paul

    Amazing story!!!!! I love this. My boyfriend has actually been converted into a cat man. He loves dogs too but he says ever since we’ve been dating he’s found a new love for cats!!! He bonds very well with mine!

    • I love hearing this Amy! Maybe you should submit him for a CAT MAN MONDAY!

  • Rubonya’s life had me thinking “awww what a waste :(” but, i guess she’s in kitty heaven now. this sharing is really nice! i love how it’s worded too haha. and i really love that picture of a kitty biting a turkey leg (?), funny one 😀

    • At least she was loved right? 🙂 So much in the life of animals (and life in general i guess) is bitter sweet! I do love that turkey leg photo! LOL kitty is like “MINE ALL MINE BACK OFF!” LOL!

  • Gris Oscuro

    I loved it! i really like the idea and,let me tell you, it is the first man with cats i have ever met!

    • NO ReaLLY?!!!!! You don’t know any other man with cats?! That is a shame! Thanks for posting, glad you liked the post!

    • Brian W

      I’m a man, with two cats, both around 2 years old.  Before them, I had another cat, Callie, who lived to be 19 before passing on to the Rainbow Bridge.  She’s been gone almost 2 years now, and sometimes I sitll cry when I see pictures of her.

  • Teresa_g3

    Great video!!  Just promise me you won’t leave the band unattended…my Russian Blue fetches like that, he found a hair band just like that one and swollowed it hole…trip to the emergency clinic and endoscoped it out but could have been a HOLE lot worse it it had passed into the intestine.  Play play play, just please be careful. 🙂

  • Zoe

    I live with a wonderful Cat Man! He’s a recent convert though, it’s only since we got Maisie just over 2 years ago that he’s become one. It was a quick progression from one reluctant kitten to 3 cats plus fostering kittens though! I’ll ask if he’d like to contribute his story. 

    • Feel like i’m losing my mind…thought i posted a response but suddenly it’s not here! A recent convert – love it! perhaps you should submit his conversion story to i have cat for CAT MAN MONDY? Or have him submit it! 

  • Lisa Mills

    Will you let us crazy cat ladies know if the Monday Cat Men are single? 😉 LOL

    • absolutely! working on finding some! 

  • It is great to hear about the cat men out there! I have a cat man of my own, which is lucky since we have so many cats now. I am glad that he is as interested in them as I am – and the cats do love him a lot too.

    • Perhaps you should submit your very own can man for CAT MAN MONDAY?! 

  • meowmeowmans

    That was a great interview!  I’m always glad to know there are other cat men out there. 🙂

    • Thanks as always for reading and posting! =^^=

  • Kat Wolfdancer

    AWWW Thanks Larry! CatMen ROCK! Love the video!
    >^,,^<

  • Lu Anne

    ha!  i know a cat man…animal man.  he is married too.  you can find him at http://www.facebook.com/?ref=logo#!/profile.php?id=100000499145110.   both him and his wife are good friends of mine.  if only there were more of this kinda guy on the planet!!

    • oh no i can’t see the page! wah! get him/her to send in a Cat Man Monday submission to ihavecat! 

  • Anonymous

    Tamar, you know I love a good cat man story!  This is great.  These wonderful men need exposure!!

    • Thanks for reading and posting! 🙂 
      Now don’t you have a cat man in YOUR home? hmmm???!

  • Sherryabbottbrooks

    love these sweet stories..thank you

    • Anonymous

      Awwww thank you Sherry! It’s so lovely to get positive feedback. Particularly on older posts 🙂

  • Delmy

    What a big heart he has!