Published: June 2007
Related Topics: People
DC, our orange tabby died on Monday this past Holy Week. DC was 16 years old.
Named for my the first parish I served after ordination, All Saints in Dain City (Welland), he was, to say the least, a character. The cat, who was for the first ten years of his life an "only cat" grudgingly weathered the addition of three other cats, over time. But even with cat siblings,, DC was clearly the "head cat" in our household.
I say that he was a "character", and that was true. An aggressive little kitten turned into a fierce guardian of our home. I suspect that was because he bonded with our Barkley, the Wonder Spaniel, who was at the end of his lifetime when DC entered our lives. He was an amazingly dog-like feline, who would guard the front door, scramble to the doors whenever he heard our cars in the driveway, and come running when he heard us say Grace at the beginning of a meal, which must have, to his feline ears, sounded like "the food chant". In his role as protector, DC had a tendency to "hug people with his teeth".
As he aged, I began to suspect that his protective behaviour seemed to be directly connected with the life energy of visitors who came to be with us. Either highly energetic people, or folks with whom I had a strong emotional bond tended to receive nips on the ankles. DC also had a "thing" for my Church Wardens, who visited frequently over the years. As a young kitty, he would love to walk on the dining room table, where we would frequently have meetings. (He knew that there was a strict "no table" rule if there happened to be real food on the table.) But there was so much fun to be had in "helping" the papers from meetings onto the floor. And he discovered that inevitably he could be the centre of attention that way.
My Wardens, some of whom were not "cat people" rarely appreciated DC's willingness to be part of the meeting, and frequently he was tossed from the table, with some of them being more disdainful of his assistance than others. When my daughter was younger, it was frequently of help to have Corporation meetings in my own home, but I noticed eventually that others were suggesting that they would be happy to host our meetings. Then one Warden, a former cat owner himself, began to suggest repeatedly that perhaps the cat was the cause of my asthma. War had been declared between DC and the Wardens. The Wardens apparently held the same opinion as Fran Leibowitz, who once wrote that: "No animal should jump up on the dining room furniture, unless he is certain that he can hold his own in the conversation."
When DC was about 10, Ashley came to live with us. She is a black domestic longhair, a cross, I believe with something a bit more exotic than your average housecat. In Ashley, DC met his match. The cat who had chased after people, biting their ankles for so many years, was now being chased. He was getting a taste of his own medicine. In time, Ash and DC began to co-exist reasonably peacefully, carving out territories within the house that were "theirs". They would groom one another, and wrestle frequently.
Some 3 years after Ashley's arrival, a friend who is a Lutheran pastor from Pennsylvania was trying to find a place for her two cats to live. She and her husband were moving to Hawaii, and couldn't take their cats off the mainland without an extensive period of quarantine. So it was that Clawed and Little One joined our animal menagerie. I began to suspect at this point that I was destined to become a "crazy cat lady". Me! An avowed dog lover!...
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