Posts Tagged ‘Chairman Meow’

R.I.P., Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein

March 6, 2020

His Excellency has gone west.

Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment), stood his final watch yesterday.

The old soldier was stricken suddenly and definitively, but the medics did their best to keep him here with us. In the end, we chose to let him go, and a fine strong wind arose in the evening to bear his spirit west.

The young Turk, playing with his absurdly huge, pink, bunny feet.

The Turk came to us in the traditional manner (“Hey, want a kitten?”), but with a twist. We’d only ever had girl cats, and back in April 2007, we simply assumed he was a she. Nope. The difference manifested itself in late May.

And he proved a wild boy. Rubber bands, paper bags, cardboard boxes, computer keyboards and the legs leading upward to them … nothing and no one was safe from Mighty Whitey, the Blue-Eyed Bully of Bibleburg.

This included our other cat, Ike, a.k.a. Chairman Meow, who was not exactly overjoyed to find The Great Leap Forward shaking the foundations of her People’s Republic of Oz.

Ike had come up the hard way, from the mean streets of Wetmore, Colorado, to the wilds of Weirdcliffe, where she survived a coyote attack that left her looking like she’d been shot at and hit, and then shit at and hit again. Life in Bibleburg was easy-breezy. All the predators worked for the government. Surely she could survive this latest assault on her person and dignity.

But in addition to her battle scars, Ike also had an enlarged heart we didn’t know about, and it abruptly did for her in October 2007, when the Turk was just eight months old.

“I hope we never die.”

In our grief, we immediately acquired another cat. Miss Mia Sopaipilla came complete with her own medical history (feline upper-respiratory disorder), but once she’d beaten that back we were all one big, happy family.

People without children probably attach outsized importance to their pets. As a teenager I used to enjoy a good heehaw at a neighbor couple who referred to their portly dachshund as their “child.” But I came to appreciate their perspective over the years spent with my own animals. Jojo, Fuerte, Bandit, Ike, Tina, Turk, Mia, and Mister Boo weren’t blood kin, but they damn sure were family.

It was funny. I chose Mia from the congregation of cats at the shelter, but Mia selected Herself as her personal servant. Herself brought Turkish home, but he attached himself to me, probably because I was the dude with the lap who was home all the time, knew where the cat food was, and could operate doorknobs.

Before Turkish came along, I’d never seen a cat like him, and suddenly I was seeing two of him.

Because the Turk’s outsized personality could not be contained by four walls and a roof. And so he was an inside-outside cat for a while. He climbed apple, apricot and maple trees, earning a new moniker (“The Rare and Wonderful Albino Tree Weasel”); scaled the garage to strike a Peter O’Tooleish “Lion in Winter” pose; and even brought home a dopplegänger once. Swear to God, the two cats were identical save for the eyes. Turk’s were a striking blue that made Paul Newman’s peepers look like pissholes in a snowbank.

His vertical leap was marvelous, so much so that a neighbor had to relocate her bird feeder because despite the tall fence separating our yards, it had suddenly become a cat feeder. Whoever said “white guys can’t jump” never saw the Turk grabbing some sky.

But after the big fella came home with an expensive war wound, that was the end of that. He and Mia still went out, but only on harnesses, and under strict supervision.

All I ask is a tall sink and a window to steer her by.

That was OK, kinda, sorta. The house in Bibleburg had a ton of windows, and Turk came to appreciate a relaxing sprawl on the back of the couch, or atop my drawing board, where he could keep an eye on the street.

The long kitchen window was another favorite spot; from there, he could spy on the neighbors, Marv and Judy, and enjoy an occasional drink from the faucet, his favorite source of refreshment. Now and then he’d simply curl up in the sink. Turkish Vans are famous leapers and swimmers, and ours certainly had the family affinity for both.

Turkish working on his tan

Once the Turk was no longer at liberty to roam as he pleased, he settled for watching what we called DoorVision®.

The downside of becoming an indoor cat? Weight gain. His Anatolian ancestors may have been champion open-water swimmers and high jumpers, but our big, big boy developed into an all-American couch potato. It was a struggle to keep him under 15 pounds (Mia, a smaller, more active cat, weighs 11).

When we moved to the Duke City in 2014, the big galoot started giving hints that he would not be what Herself calls “a 20-year-cat.”

He developed arthritis and some muscle loss in his once-powerful hindquarters, which made it tough for him to get to his beloved sinks and windows. Happily, his new digs had two sets of sliding glass doors, so he could still inspect the perimeter from ground level.

Chronic constipation reared its ugly head, but was brought under control with a light dose of stool softener. Then, like Mister Boo before him, Turkish developed bladder stones, which happily required only a change in diet rather than surgery.

Also like The Boo, The Turk had a profound lack of faith in the medical-industrial complex. And he was not shy about airing his opinions on the topic. One was inclined to pay close attention to these diatribes, because a pissed-off 15-pound cat with teeth like a young Dracula and paws like tennis balls studded with X-acto knives is not something you want to turn your back on.

Waiting for a snuggle.

If the Turk occasionally got a cursory once-over during a regular checkup, it was because the vet didn’t want to have him sedated by a robot orderly just to be able to sneak into the exam room. Also, it’s hard to practice medicine in body armor.

It’s a pity that his doctors never got to see his softer side. True, the voices in his head were not all friendlies; more than a few of them came from outside the wire. And he had been known to actually bite the hand that fed him.

But he relished a short snuggle in the bed nearly every morning and evening. And he loved performing his dance cycle, The Roll of the Happy Cat, on some sunny spot on the brick pavers.

So why should yesterday have been any different? But it was.

The day began with rolls and happy cat and breakfast and ended with an injection in emergency care, after an operation to remove an unidentified mass from the Turk’s spleen. It had ruptured. There was internal bleeding. Kidney failure. Part of his pancreas had to go, too. He crashed three times, the last time as we discussed heroic measures and likely outcomes. Brain damage. Cancer. Diabetes. Dialysis. Pancreatitis.

We said, “Enough.” We said our goodbyes. And we went home without my friend, my comrade, my big, big boy.

In the night, I went to a place where the Turk lounges in a backyard tree, drinks from a faucet, and performs the Roll of the Happy Cat in a perpetually sunny spot. The breakfasts are large and endless and nobody gets fat. Snuggles come with.

But they wouldn’t let me stay. And I woke up crying.

What in the Sam Hill?

May 7, 2017

The Sam Hillborne recovers from its efforts in the sunny entryway at El Rancho Pendejo.

Yesterday was a Rivendell kind of day. The trails are usually crawling like anthills on a weekend, and the roads were busy, too. Plus I didn’t feel like doing anything of a serious nature, having chores on the schedule.

So Sam Hillborne and I pooted around on side streets and the Tramway bike path for a spell, just keeping the legs loose.

Some nitwit impatient to make a right turn honked at me as I proceeded through an intersection, with the light and pedestrian crossing signal working in my favor, and I reflected once again how concealed carry is a bad idea on a bicycle, if only for the sag a Ruger Model 3701 puts in a jersey pocket.

Afterward I mowed the weeds and retrieved some video from the old Canon ZR500 MiniDV camcorder, which Herself is eBaying along with a few metric shit-tons of other lightly used and heavily forgotten items cluttering up the nooks and crannies at El Rancho Pendejo.

The process of acquiring video from an old cassette camcorder is time-consuming and irksome, but proved rewarding in this instance. I unearthed some ancient footage of an elderly Chairman Meow and a very young Turkish, back when we still thought he was a she. So stay tuned for a short video trip down memory lane.

A tomb with a view

October 18, 2013
True, it's only a dusting, but still, it's a hint of bigger things to come.

True, it’s only a dusting, but still, it’s a hint of bigger things to come.

There was a thin coat of snow on the Tomb of Chairman Meow when I arose this morning. I blame Obama.

It’s a bit early for this sort of thing, frankly. For starters, the leaves are still on the trees. And a casual check of the Innertoobz indicates that the first snow in these parts generally holds off until a week before Halloween.

Naturally, Herself is out of town on business, so I had to make my own coffee, police up the litter box, and dab the dew from Mister Boo’s delicate little feetsies after his morning constitutional. Oh, the humanity.

The weatherperson says we’re supposed to be back up into the 50s and 60s over the next few days. But what has s/he done for me lately?

Nibbles gets gobbled

April 22, 2012
Ike's tomb on Earth Day 2012

The Tomb of Chairman Meow has a fine color guard for Earth Day 2012.

Vince Nibbles, as Andrew Hood calls Vincenzo Nibali, nearly won Liège-Bastogne-Liège today.

When Nibbles went away atop the Cote de la Roche aux Faucons, Philippe Gilbert suddenly looked like he’d just taken a big hit from a spoiled bidon and the chase was as well organized as the House Democratic caucus. When Nibbles had 46 seconds in hand all the smart folks pretty much figured that was that.

And then Maxim Iglinskiy chased him down like Nibbles owed him money, and that really was that — the Sicilian was racing for second with just over a klick to go, and Astana was en route to picking up its second big win in a week after Enrico Gasparotto won last Sunday’s Amstel Gold. Gasparatto made the podium here, too, finishing third. Good times.

Good times here today, too. We’re looking at a sunny 60-something with light winds, and having already arranged for dinner — leftovers from last night’s killer stew of green chile, pork, onions, garlic and spuds — I have plenty of time to ride. Only one chore remains, the completion of an overdue column for Bicycle Retailer and Industry News. Some days these things practically write themselves; others, it’s like trying to drive ten-penny nails into mahogany using an old banana for a hammer.