Bill made me do this as a reminder and fair warning to all of you……..You must work collectively to get Cats With Thumbs off the streets and into homes. Bear with me, as I lead up to Why.
My first cat was a Cat With Thumbs. He was forced upon me by a trickster. I never liked cats. My friend was visiting for the weekend and told me he found a kitten hanging out in his tree, which he named Thunderfoot. His resident cat, a Siamese named Penelope, who incidentally had the personality of a lobster and didn’t do much to endear me to cats, wasn’t about to have any common alley cat hanging around inside with her perfect self, so the foundling kitten needed another home. He was bringing the cat with him for the weekend and planned to find him a home here (Yeah, sure). When he showed up, I was gobsmacked. My first reaction was, This is a KITTEN? I mean this was one large kitten, no kidding. With feet like a Clydesdale. My friend assured me he would “Grow into his feet”.
Anyways, the long weekend came and went, and I managed to pretty much ignore the cat. Then my friend told me he would see to it that the cat got a home if I would just hang onto him for a few days. Then he pulled that Humane Society trick on me, you know, the one where someone tells you the cat is going to be put to sleep if somebody doesn’t rescue him. I agreed but I wasn’t happy. I didn’t know squat about cats but I wasn’t going to help gas one at the Humane Society.
Now I was left alone with a creature with feet like a Great Dane and I sat in the den and stared at him. He sat on the chair across from me and stared back. He was bright orange with a big white chest the size of a turkey. His paws were practically fluorescent white, which accented the fact that he had enough toes for two cats. Then he started making this disconcerting and very loud rumbling sound. It scared the crap out of me. My friend assured me this was a ‘purr,’ but it sounded pretty ominous to me. Besides that, he sounded a lot like he needed a tune up and his plugs were misfiring or something. Suddenly, agreeing to “hang onto him for a few days” (riiiiiiiiightttttt) didn’t seem like such a good idea.
I am not kidding here, this stare-down went on for hours, and he was winning. I was frozen in my spot and that cat never took his eyes off me. It was getting late and I was tired, and I still sat there and he still sat there. The truth was, I was afraid of this thing making these mini roaring sounds. I tried diversions, like TV, but he was relentless. He never stopped watching and rumbling. I had the distinctly frightening feeling that I might die in that spot over time if I didn’t do something. So I spontaneously bolted out of my seat and ran up the stairs. He followed politely, but I ran pretty fast up those stairs. I wanted to go to bed and I wasn’t going to let this thing be loose in my bedroom with me while I slept. I mean, he was probably planning to kill me or something.
I reached my bedroom with the cat at my heels, and then …….with heart pounding like I was a potential victim in the movie Psycho. I unceremoniously slammed the door in his face – just in time to bar his entrance. I couldn’t believe I had this dangerous animal in my home.
I heard muffled sounds at the door and my eyes were darting all over the room. I had every light on, as if I were 4 years old and afraid of a monster under my bed. I finally fell asleep out of sheer exhaustion. I woke up early the next morning and it didn’t take me long to Remember I Had A Problem Out There. A Very Scarey Problem. I tiptoed out of bed and tentatively opened the bedroom door– and there he was. He was sitting in front of the door with his head down. Now I felt really guilty. Was he there like that all night? Maybe he didn’t really want to kill me. Maybe he just wanted to maim me a little and all i would need is a few bandaids now and then. So I sat on the landing with him and said,
“Okay, you and I have got to have a talk. I don’t do cats and you can’t stay here”.
He responded by throwing himself on the floor next to me, upside down. I wasn’t exactly sure what to do, so I gingerly touched his fur, like you would do if you were sticking your hand in a hole in a wall, hoping some vermin with big teeth won’t greet you. I was certain he would probably rip my hands up with all those claws. And those teeth! Sticking out over his upper lip! Sharp! Pointy! Instead, he started up with that damned rumbling sound again–and he was pawing the air like there was something up there only he could see. I tried to count his claws but found that disconcerting. Still, I noticed that his fur was very soft and clean, and it felt really good to my hand. I liked it. I also found it kind of ironic that, for a cat that had been living on the streets, he smelled…..well…Spring Fresh. How did he do that?
“Okay,” I said. Let’s go downstairs and I’ll feed you”.
After both of us had breakfast, I did a few chores and he followed me around the house, always taking care to be polite. I took a shower and he was sitting there waiting for me when I left the shower. Then he got on the sink and took a drink from the faucet and sat himself on the counter and watched me. Only this time, it didn’t seem so much that he was staring, but more like he was actually interested in me. So, I started talking to him, which at first seemed idiotic, but then I realized it made him rumble louder. Then he took to rubbing his face against me and shit like that and next thing you know, I wasn’t afraid anymore. In fact, I kind of liked it. He knew it too, because suddenly his eyes were brighter and his tail was higher when he walked. You cat lovers all know about tail language. He liked me and he wanted me to like him. And I did.
To save my Pride, I started making calls to people I knew who liked cats, asking them if they wanted another cat. Well, you can imagine how well THAT went. As some time went by, my calls were half-hearted and I wasn’t even sure why I was still making calls. The cat was sitting right next to me, rumbling away — while I dialed and pretty much talked everybody I called out of taking him. I had fallen in love with this orange version of Bigfoot, which explains why he didn’t seem concerned at all that I was making calls and trying to pawn him off. He already figured out he was Home.
That night, he slept on the bed with me. Within a week, he was the perfect pacifier, sleeping near me. If I moved, I just moved him with me. He was very flexible that way. And that rumbling sound actually sounded comforting to me. How the hell did THAT happen? I had finally figured out it was the Rumble of Contentment.
I went to the pet store and bought a boatload of toys, most of which seemed to mysteriously disappear. (Later, I learned that most of them were under the stove). I even bought some catnip and watched him take a sniff, blow it all over the floor, roll in it and then slide along the perimeter of the room. What was that all about? I was tempted to try some myself! I also bought cat books. Lots and lots of cat books. Books on how to Raise a Cat. It wasn’t long before I realized, you don’t raise a cat. He raises you. I became his slave. He was grateful, but not overly grateful, lest I should slack off. You cat owners, you know the routine, right?
……and so began my love affair with cats for life. I owe much to that boy. He taught me what I was missing. So you see, a polydactyl cat can change your whole attitude, folks. The photo accompanying this story is none other than Bomart – The Cat With Thumbs Who Changed My Opinion Of Cats. See those feet? Show some respect for The Paw!
He taught me cats weren’t at all like I thought they were. He stole my heart. Period. Heaven knows what havoc he might have wreaked on the streets with the biggest damned feet I ever saw in my life on a gawky kitten. Trust me, you haven’t been whacked until you are whacked in the head by a cat with seven toes. We’re talking catcher’s mitt here, folks.
This cat was also an excellent judge of character. If he didn’t like someone I invited in, he would dance sideways in front of me. He weeded out every one of my bad dates, and he was right every single time. He was not without his sense of humor either, unless you call coming down the stairs with a pair of your underwear and dropping them in front of company you are trying to impress Not Funny. Then there was the time he ran off with an entire chicken carcass and hid it well enough so that I couldn’t find it. He did bring it back though. In pieces. He put a total of three collar bells in his litter box, till I finally got the hint. And there was that one time when the guy who installed my new windows wasn’t responding to my calls about broken seals, till I finally threatened him legally. He showed up and made the mistake of screaming and pointing his finger in my face. His response was a cat the size of Brooklyn flying through the air and grabbing his arm. Funny, the guy got a lot quieter after that and replaced those windows in record time. To give you an idea of how imposing he was, he once sat in his own chair at the crowded vet’s office and nobody dared to complain. A a couple showed up with a Miniature Pinscher. I knew these two people from work and found them to be two perfect asses with their noses in the air. She looked around for a seat, took one look at my cat in his own chair and said, Wow that’s a big cat! What does he eat? I said, “He eats Miniature Pinschers.”. I think she was waiting for me to remove him so she could sit down, so I said, “You can remove him from the chair if you want”. She opted to stand. Heh. She had no idea that this big boy with the awesome feet ruled with a gentle paw, and I wasn’t about to tell her. Bomie also loved water and earned the nickname “Aqua Cat” easily. He had no problem sitting on the shower or tub ledge and getting a little bit for himself. He also could open any cabinet door, and he knew how to turn on the bathroom faucet so he could drink fresh water and bathe at his leisure – and his habit created some very interesting water bills. I was grateful that at least he could distinguish the cold water tap from the hot water tap.
Bo (hey it was Pre-Obama!) was a wonderfully funny, lovable and handsome cat. My trickster friend knew this cat was special and he also knew that, if I was ever going to become a cat lover, this was the cat who could pull it off. He was right. However, contrary to his promise, as big as Bo got, he NEVER did “Grow into his feet”.
So you see, the fact is, Cats With Thumbs are Magical. Mine accepted fosters with grace and kindness, and he taught them all the ropes too.
Yup, they are magical, those Cats With Thumbs. They know they’re Different and they use it well. Here’s some proof:
Now, here’s a 26-toed cat who helped to save an animal rescue center via $26 donations.
And here are Ned and Fred, two Kittens With Thumbs that boast 54 toes between them. Bill wishes to point out that they are Tuxies.
Now what is this all leading up to, you ask? You are asking that, right?
Well, Bill and I want you to have a good weekend and go adopt a Cat With Thumbs. If you don’t help get them off the streets, it could lead to this…
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