It was about 3:30 A.M. when a pitiful crying sound brought me out of a sound sleep. There was one very unhappy and lost kitty outside under my window. I took him right in. Snow white with powder blue eyes that would stop traffic anywhere. He was beautiful. He was also very small, and I called him Squirt from the start. After a meal, he calmed down immediately and went fast asleep. In the morning he showed no inclination to go anywhere. He just wanted to play, and I found he would chase a string for much longer than I could hold out. I tried to find his owner, but like many cats in my apartment complex, Squirt was most likely abandoned when his owners had to move and could not take him along.
My new friend has turned out to be quite a character. Squirt is, well, rather "hyperactive". I'm sure I saw the vet writing Feline Attention Deficit Syndrome in his notes. Squirt is no lap cat. Laps are to be used as trampolines only. Napping is out. If you can get in two pats, you are lucky. Then the critter is wandering off looking for something more FUN to do. If he can't get me to play with him, then he goes to the front door and makes a big fuss to go out.
There is SO MUCH to get done outside. There are bugs to chase. Lots of these. There are trees to "climb". Having no front claws is no deterrent to Squirt. He gets a flying run at the tree and shoots right up the trunk (until lack of inertia and gravity dictate a rapid return to earth). There are strips of lawn to streak across. Lots of these, too. There are bushes in which to lie in wait for some unsuspecting Wildebeest to come along.
Then there are the supervisory responsibilities which Squirt takes very seriously. Squirt accompanies me wherever I go, even if it is only to the dumpster. I introduce him as my guard cat. Only a juicy cricket will deter him from his duties. When I go up to the pool to swim or take a walk, there is Squirt padding along faithfully by my side. In this way, his behavior is much more like that of a dog and never ceases to amaze neighbors who see me always accompanied by a cute, little white cat with a red collar, rather than a Golden Retriever or a Great Dane.
Being a lifeguard at the pool is Squirt's least favorite duty. As I swim back and forth in the pool, Squirt trots along the edge, meowing quite unhappily. I am not sure whether he is trying to signal me of danger or telling me that I am the biggest jerk on the block for going in WATER. The first time I went to the pool with Squirt, he appeared to be having a nervous breakdown. He yowled at the top of his lungs from the side. I think he thought I was done for.
Squirt enjoys his duties as night time security cat much better. "You're not going to believe this", the night watchman has reported to me, "but that little white cat of yours goes right along with me all over the place when I'm doing my rounds. You'd think he was on a salary, too."
In my big apartment complex, there is someone coming in or leaving most any hour of the day or night. You guessed it, Squirt can be seen accompanying residents to or from their apartments almost any time. He bounds up, flops on his back, and demands a pat (the usual two, of course). Then it's off with his new friends. This may be a big place, but almost everyone knows Squirt.
Word has come down that Squirt is something of a moocher. "You should see his poor homeless kitty act. Hasn't had a meal in ages. It's very convincing", several neighbors have told me. Most people are on to him now, but they don't seem to care. When I see an empty Starkist tuna can on someone's porch, I know Squirt has struck again.
The Recreation Center is frequently rented out for wedding receptions, birthday parties, and the like. The temptation of all these new people to meet is irresistible for Squirt, and he makes a beeline for the Rec Center. He can be seen wending his way through the crowd, rubbing up against legs, begging for handouts, flopping over on his back for a couple of pats, and generally making himself the center of attention. There are always a certain number of people who make a very big fuss about his blue eyes, but he doesn't seem to mind. A few ladies typically react to Squirt as if they have just been asked out for a date by Frank Sinatra when he was 19. Of course, cats aren't allowed in the Rec Center, but no one has complained.
Everyone who meets Squirt thinks he must be a very young cat because of his extraordinarily playful and energetic nature. Also, it looks like he should be growing a little bigger someday. In fact, he is five to six years old according to my vet.
Last but not least in Squirt's busy schedule are the very enjoyable trips in the middle of the night to Jim's Watering and Feeding Station. Well, that's his opinion. I am not so enamored of Squirt meowing to come in at 3:00 A.M. for water or a snack and then meowing to get right back out again.
I have posted the following notice on the bulletin board at my apartment:
One very sedate lap cat.
Call Jim at Happy Dale Sanitarium.
Of course, I am just kidding about the notice. I love Squirt. He is charming and so full of life. He is my faithful companion wherever I go. Neighbors tell me time and again: "I can't believe how friendly that little guy is. I've never met a cat like him." Everybody loves Squirt.
(Copyright 1994, Jim Phypers. All rights reserved.)
Articles by Jim Phypers / Solar Haven Main Page