Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Timothy Dudley Meets His Maker

Neon-Cat Timothy Dudley lived a long life.

Yes, I was one of those people who posted on FB that my cat died (sorry, Jill).  Such a downer, right?  I think I was much nicer that I originally was going to be when I said,

"...RIP to Timmy, the neurotic cat that for the first several years of his life with us I put "a new home for Timmy" on my Christmas list until I realized that I wouldn't wish him on my worst enemy.  So, we accepted him, tolerated him, and love him, warts and all.  Sad to see you go, buddy--Coco's going to have to create his own warm spots and steal them from himself, I guess."

My original inspiration was to write something like, "RIP Timmy.  Feel free to share your good memories.  ::crickets:: ::crickets::"  But that was possibly just my trying not to get emotional about the loss of this feline.

Timmy was gross.  Everything about him: the drool, the bathroom habits, the breath.  Only love could endure such grossness.  The ultimate grossness was in the last few years, though.  I guess we stopped taking pictures of Timmy when the kids came around, because I can find very few on my camera, and all the old ones, pre-kids--back from when Timmy was our child--are on a dead laptop somewhere.  Thankfully, he was an attention-seeking diva (so long as you didn't try to touch him) and my sister was able to grab a couple shots of this party crasher when she was taking pictures of Elsie at approx 9 months (has it really been that long?)..

And then there were a few more recent photos, taken since Oscar has been alive.  In the last two years or so.  Elsie is trying to talk to him as he chills under the coffee table.

He was so very patient with the kids.

And Timmy hiding out under the music table.

Maybe you don't know the story about how Timmy came to us.  We had been married a year, and all of Eli's friends were getting cats.  So as to not be left out, we got us a cat.  It wasn't that easy, really, since I'm allergic to cats.  Eli put out the word at the no-kill shelter that we were in the market for a hypoallergenic cat.  An elderly gentleman came to the shelter with his 5-year-old purebred Devon Rex, and wanted to find someone to adopt the animal since the man's wife was battling cancer and the cat was driving her crazy.  We thought we had hit the goldmine (hypoallergenic cats aren't cheap) and so we went to go "interview" with him.  That night, we met Timmy and we brought him home.  The old man cried as we left.  A few days later he dropped some of Timmy's toys by our apartment, and that was the last we heard of him.

Turns out Timmy didn't like women.  He would purr all the day long if you were male, but he would not purr for me.  I was starting to take it personally until I realized this trend.  Turns out, this cat was extremely devoted to Eli, the alpha cat.  I have never been first choice.  I was always his last resort--if Eli was gone from the house too long and Timmy desperately needed a cuddle, he would eventually stoop to cuddle with me, but he was sure to let me know I was not his first choice.

Timmy was neurotic.  He had terrible bathroom habits.  And we found out from the breeder that the old man knew about them, but failed to disclose this information.  We had been duped.  But by this time he had, in some strange way, grown to be part of our family.  Dangit.

We lived with that for 8 years.  8 looooong years.  But you know, in the end, Timmy was a part of our strong marriage.  You've probably heard me talk about it before, but I think the secret to a strong marriage is being able to talk about poop, and Timmy gave us plenty of fodder before we had babies.  There's something positive I can say.  Haha.

And I really do have funny and good memories of Timmy, and being the optimist that I am, they take up more space in my memory than the other 60% of the yuck, and will replace my last memory of Timmy.

  • Timmy surprised us by playing fetch with twist ties during his first couple of years with us (before he got too old?).  When I would be working at the table, he would bring the twist tie over in his mouth and drop it at my feet.  If I ignored him, he would climb up on the table and drop it in the middle of whatever I was working on.
  • He loved to sleep on anything that I owned that was black.  It was annoying.
  • He drooled in his sleep.  And then he licked it up in his sleep.  To death.  The lick spot would be 3 times as large as the original drool spot.  It was disgusting.  And amusing.
  • He regularly peed in the tub, where at least it was easy to clean up.
  • We were upstairs in our apartment in Tuscaloosa, and we heard someone let out a long, shrill scream inside our apartment.  We raced downstairs, and Timmy was sitting on one side of the living room window, and a stray cat (female, we suppose) was on the other side of the glass, and our neuter cat was all hot and bothered. It was so freakish.
  • I didn't realize the extent of Timmy's devotion to Eli until Eli left Timmy with me for the summer while he went to Mobile to work (2006).  Timmy was so out of sorts--he wasn't eating, he wasn't sleeping, and...he wanted to cuddle with me.  That's when we decided to get another cat, and Coco came into our lives.
  • Last week, the kids had been playing with blue sidewalk chalk on the back patio, and Timmy and Coco rolled in it.  Amusingly, Timmy had blue stripes on his face, a la William Wallace.  It was fierce.
  • Timmy would show his displeasure with the little cat disturbing his peace, but would give up his warm place to Coco 99% of the time.
  • He loved the acoustics at the top of the stairs, and for several years tried them out every. single. night. Of course, I'm a lighter sleeper than Eli, so I heard it every. time.  To Eli, it was a novelty if he was awake while Timmy was "singing".
  • Timmy loved to be outside, to pretend to be a "jungle cat" in the bushes and hiding behind plants.
  • The cat didn't want to be touched, usually, but he loved to be observing the action, as close as he possibly could.  He really was a "people" cat.  He just only liked a limited number of people.
  • He used to try to climb Eli's guy friends' legs, even though he didn't have front claws--so the result was very amusing.
  • When we first got him, he shaved his own belly by constantly chewing on it, so it was this fat little pink belly that I just loved to pet if he would let me.  After living with us, he didn't shave his belly any more, but that didn't stifle my urge to pet a coworkers belly when she wore a pink hoodie over her baby bump (I swear, it was all Timmy's fault! And I didn't end up touching it, I just wanted to every time she walked by).
I'm sure there's more, but I have one final thought:

Timmy had a reputation from visitors as being "the mean cat," but really, how can this gentle giant be anything other than sweet? ;)  

(I mentioned he was devoted to Eli, didn't I? I think he was bribed..)

Timothy Dudley, while we had mixed emotions about your habits, love always won out.  I hope you're getting the most out of your Great Belly Rub in the Sky.


Scott and Jill Clair Gentry said...

While I also had mixed feelings about Timmy, I'll never forget him coming in my room and sitting next to my head and purring some nights. I'm not sure why he did it, but I think he found solace in there (not a lot of toddler action), and we got along pretty well, unless I pet him too much and the drool started flying out of his mouth onto my face, or the day I found out another favorite poop spot was in my closet. But in all seriousness, I understand the love-hate-mostly love relationship with Timmy, and I'm sad to see him go, too. And it's OK that you posted about it on Facebook. I'll never know... :)

Lauren said...

We had a cat Ben called "Kitty" that was the EXACT same way. Disliked everyone and hated me unless Ben was gone for an extended period of time. She was loud, shed, annoying and everything else you said about Timmy, but it was sad when she left us and I realized I had loved her. I don't really have any urge to have another cat, though. LOL