It’s Day 57 of the Papa’s Walk Challenge.
Today, it seemed like every cat in the neighborhood received a memo to deliberately cross my path. The neighbor’s Siamese ran across my walkway. Across the street, I said, “Hi kitty,” to a white cat with calico-colored markings sitting near a hedge. I was surprised when he meowed a greeting and sauntered over to receive some pets.
As I continued on my way, a light gray tabby slinked across the sidewalk and under a car. Then, a block further, a black and gray striped kitty trotted across the street as I approached. Four blocks later, a big, fluffy orange cat eyed me from his window perch as I passed by his home. Finally, I spotted a sleek, gray cat that was stalking a bird.
All of these cats reminded me of Jumper, a cat Papa learned to love. Papa wasn’t fond of cats because his mother told him the old wives tale that cats steal the breath from babies in their cradles.
He and my mom resisted my pleas to have a pet cat until I was about 19 years old. I lived at home while I attended community college. A friend from college needed to find a home for an abandoned kitten. I brought Jumper home and my folks agreed to let me adopt him. Jumper had long, white, fluffy fur dotted with patches of gray. He had emerald green eyes and a bright pink nose.
I doted on that cat and taught him to do tricks. He could sit, speak, beg, shake hands, lie down, and roll over on command. He performed his tricks for little fish-shaped cat treats – but oddly enough, he always spit out the heads and tails. Jumper was an amazing cat. If Jumper was alive today, he’d probably be an Internet sensation like Grumpy Cat.
When I moved into my own apartment, I brought Jumper with me. Unfortunately, the space was too small and there was no back yard. Jumper seemed unhappy. After a couple of weeks of trying to help him adjust to the new digs, I explained the problem to my parents. They agreed to let Jumper move back home with them.
Papa fed Jumper, and the cat learned to come whenever Papa whistled for him. Jumper followed Papa as he puttered around the house and its huge backyard. As they both aged, Papa began to show affection for his feline companion. Papa pet Jumper frequently and told everyone that, “Jumper is more like a dog.” Jumper lived to be 17 years old. Years after he died, Papa remembered him fondly and said, “Jumper was a great cat. I loved that cat.”
If you love cats, you may enjoy these websites:
What’s your favorite cat website?