A week ago, yesterday, I lost my dad. My dad, Jacob.
We don't know exactly how old my dad was but think he was gettin' up there in years. The peeps first spotted him a couple of months after I was born and he was fully grown then. Not just barely fully grown they say. They think he could have been five or six when he first appeared on the scene, ten and a half years ago, so that would make him at least fifteen. Maybe sixteen. Maybe even older. And, of course, havin' lived out on the streets for a while, well... that would have aged him even more.
My dad was the neatest dad, ever. Of course, he was a cat like me. One of the many reasons he was so great. He wasn't feral like me, though. My dad had been abandoned. That made it easier for the peeps to get him inside so even though they met my dad after they first saw me, they had him inside the house before I decided to come live with 'em, too. For as long as I've lived in this house, my dad has lived with me. This last week has been the first time we've ever been apart for more than a few days and I miss him a lot.
But I don't want this to be a sad post. There's enough sadness in the world these days as it is and I really don't want to add to it today. So instead, I'm gonna tell you 'bout some of the happy and funny things about my dad. That okay with everyone?
Let's start with how my dad was trainin' for the Olympics. He always said he was gonna go compete in the Olympics some day but never actually made it there. The main reason for this, I believe, is that the sport in which he wanted to compete had not yet been invented. Hmmm... that's not quite right. It was invented... invented by my dad. Just not yet accepted as a sport with the International Olympics Committee. MOUSES!
My dad invented the running long-high jump that occasionally, for higher scoring, included acrobatics. He was very good at it. He was fearless. My dad would come runnin' into a room - any room - and race across the floor, jumping onto whatever piece of furniture stood in his way. Usually, it was the coffee table onto which he would jump. Never did he bother to look to see if anything was on the coffee table. Nope. He just ran and jumped, landin' on whatever might be there. Whatever or whomever... The rest of us cats soon learned not to hang out on the coffee table when my dad was in training. One thing for him to land on a book or somethin' but quite another thing for him to land on one of us. Hmmm... my side smarts just thinkin' about that time when... well... you get my drift, I am sure.
Occasionally, my dad would do the death-defyin' double jump. This would involve jumping onto the coffee table before taking a second massive leap, catapulting himself onto a peep on the couch. The peeps would cheer him on when his landings were successful. Okay, they weren't so much cheers as they were screams and cries but volume wise, they could have been cheers. Just not really cheery in spirit, if you know what I mean.
No cat in my family has ever done the double jump twist with a successful peep landing as well as my dad, Jacob. He would have been a gold medallist, for sure. Next thing you know, his picture would have been on boxes of cereal and he would have been famous. Too bad 'bout the sport not yet bein' recognised by that ol' committee. Too bad, for sure.
We think that when my dad developed Pulled Tail Syndrome, it may have been the result of an Olympic training sports injury. That was a scary time for all of us. We thought we were gonna lose him, then.
One night, two or three years ago, my dad came inside dragging his hind legs behind him. They weren't hurting him or anything but he couldn't use 'em. He couldn't walk on them at all. As you can imagine, this was a bit of a problem.
Seemingly without pain, my dad dragged himself into the kitchen for food and water and then back into the family room to sleep. The peeps stayed with him all night, knowing that first thing in the morning, they would all be heading over to the hospital. They figured my dad must have had a stroke or something and that the end was near. They wanted to spend that last night with him, giving him lots and lots of love and attention.
First thing in the morning, the peeps took my dad to the hospital. Well, all three doctors put their thinkin' caps on and had a massive consult and the final diagnosis was Pulled Tail Syndrome. I had never heard of it myself and the first thing I wanted to know was just who had pulled my dad's tail. Apparently, Pulled Tail Syndrome does not always involve the pullin' of a tail. We now believe that my dad was trainin' for the Olympics outside on the veranda, slipped or somethin' on the railin' and fell backwards onto the concrete floor, landin' awkwardly on his tail or somethin' like that.
Anywho... the next morning my Doctor Teresa called Peep #1 and told her, "He's one hundred percent better. I put him down on the exam room floor and he took off across the room!" That was my dad. He wasn't gonna let a little ol' sports injury interfere with his trainin' schedule or anything. Another night in the hospital and some pills and he was back up and training like nothin' had ever happened.
When my dad wasn't trainin', he could often be found snuggling up to the peeps or one of us cats. I spent many an hour, nestled in next to him on the couch in the family room. He spent a lot of time with my sister, Tobias, too. Toby loves havin' someone lick the top of her head for her, probably because that's one of the most difficult spots for us cats to wash. Usually, she pesters me to do such things but my dad was always willin' to fill in when necessary. He treated Toby like she was one of his own kittens. He was a lovin' dad to us all.
Well... maybe not always. My dad could get jealous. I remember my dad gettin' awfully jealous over that cat named Willoughby.
Willoughby was a cat who lived a couple of streets over in our subdivision. Officially that's where he lived but he was always over at my house, honin' in on my territory. Eventually, we just gave up and accepted him into the fold. The peeps did manage to convince Willoughby's parents to get him neutered but when they realised that a year later he had never been back to see the doctor for shots, the peeps gave up and took him themselves. He was always at my house, eatin' my food and cuddling up with my peeps anyway. As far as he was concerned, he was one of us.
My dad, however, disagreed. One day, Willoughby was in the livin' room gettin' chin scritches from a visiting peep. Now you have to understand, my dad had sort of staked his claim on this particular visitin' peep. They were buddies. Well, my dad took one look at Willoughby gettin' all that attention and he was off. He tore through the living room, soared through the air up onto the coffee table, immediately jumped from there onto the couch landing near the visitin' peep and Willoughby and attacked Willoughby like he had never attacked anyone before. There was blood everywhere. A trail of blood was left as Willoughby high-tailed it out of the livin' room. To be honest, I don't quite remember what my dad did after that. Probably snuggled up to the visitin' peep or something. My own personal peeps were busy tendin' to Willoughby and cleanin' up the blood.
I always wondered if that attack had been motivated purely by jealousy or if perhaps, my dad had gotten into some bad nip. He did like his nip just like I like mine. But I've never seen a cat react to the nip like that before and I've never seen one do so since so I'm thinkin' that maybe my dad was just jealous. Every cat is allowed to be a little jealous now and then.
Really though, that vicious attack was quite out of character for my dad. Normally, he was a kind and lovin' cat, always making time for the rest of his family. He was a great dad. He was a wonderful dad. He was the best dad ever and I'm gonna remember him, always.