Pets of the Past: Where Bloggers Live
Our prompt for our monthly collaboration where we share more of our personal lives be it our house, our favorites, or our tribe was pets. Since you’ve heard about our present-day kitties when I wrote about the best senior cat products and our experience with our road trip with our cats (which has had a ton of shares), I decided to concentrate on Tuffy.
Quote of the day: “Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men.” Reverend Phillips Brooks
The meanest cat ever. That’s how you would describe Tuffy. Oh, sure, that cuteness would draw you in, but just beware, because a flick of his claw, and he’d brand you for life.
Don’t believe me. Here’s a story to prove it. He was over 20 years old and had been losing weight. Then all of a sudden on a Thursday, this mass started growing out of his jaw. Considering he was so old, we didn’t rush him to the emergency clinic but waited until Monday to take him to the vet.
He was basically on his deathbed, and when they left us in the room at the vets to wait for the doctor, we let him out of his carrier. And he proceeded to go around the room to hiss and growl at the other animal smells in the room.
That was Tuffy. Mean to the core!!
Oh, you could call him misunderstood or traumatized by things in his youth, but he was definitely not a bundle of sweetness. But don’t blame us for that. We inherited him. Per Paul Harvey, here’s the rest of the story!
Tuffy was my bestie’s cat. She had him in college before I knew her (thus was traumatized by college boys and such) and when she moved across the street from my ex and me, there were times I would feed him when she and her husband went on vacation.
I was warned to just go in and put the food down, and then get out. Don’t try to pet him or anything because he bites.
I followed directions well, even though I loved cats and really wanted to get my “cat fix”. But I found out their words rang true one time when I was over with a group of friends, and Tuffy was sitting on his perch.
I mean, seriously, look at how regal he looks on his perch above. How can you resist putting your hand out for him to sniff and then pet him? Yep, I was a victim of his claws that day and learned my lesson.
But Then She Died
My bestie is the one I’ve occasionally referred to in the past. At age 34 she passed away from metastatic melanoma. It was heartbreaking for all that knew her.
About a week after her funeral I was talking to her widow about taking her clothes to a donation place so he would have one less thing to worry about. We were discussing what he was doing, and I asked about Tuffy.
He asked, “Do you want him? He comes with a carrier, scratching post, and food.” Rob and I had been married 2 years and we both loved cats but we were busy people. I’m sure my mind was racing when Charlie asked this question. But the pain in Charlie’s voice had me responding with “Of course, Charlie, we will take Tuffy off your hands.”
Rob was on the couch next to me when I said these words and his face was shocked. You see, he’d been clawed by Tuffy in the past too, and knew all about how mean the cat was. In fact, when I got off the phone, he was upset.
How could I say yes without talking it over with him first? Mine was an emotional response to Charlie’s request and let’s just say that Rob wasn’t mad forever.
Bringing Tuffy Home
So a couple of days later, we went over to Charlies to pick up Bethany’s clothes and Tuffy. Both Rob and I had cats growing up, but it had been years ago. Luckily Charlie gave us all of the necessities and we took him home (with lots of meowing on the car ride home).
Rob’s biggest worry is that he would claw our eyes out at night while we were sleeping (did I mention he was a mean cat?) so we decided to keep our door closed at night.
Tuffy mostly hung out in the guest bedroom which is where I put all of Bethany’s clothes for the time being. I’m sure the scent of her was a solace to him.
We talked to Tuffy daily but kept our distance. Neither of us wanted more scratches and bite marks, plus we were working full time.
A week after we brought Tuffy to our house, we had my bestie’s widow over for dinner. Tuffy had taken up residence on the ottoman which was in the middle of the room so he could survey his domain.
As soon as Charlie walked into the house, Tuffy ran over to him and Charlie scooped him up. All 20 pounds of him (I forgot to mention that not only was Tuffy mean, but he was also a Maine Coon with a LOT of girth).
Both Rob and I looked at each other and said with astonishment, “Charlie, you pick him up?” We couldn’t believe that Tuffy didn’t claw him to pieces.
Through the Years
Two months later we traveled to New York to visit Rob’s family for the holidays. We were gone a week, and when we returned, Tuffy actually ran up to meet us when we came in the door. I wouldn’t say he changed in an instant. There were still times he latched onto Rob’s arm as he was petting him, and I had to scruff him and chastise him (Tuffy, not Rob).
But slowly, Tuffy came to love being our cat and we, in turn, were able to love on him and turn him into a “cream puff”. Well maybe not a cream puff for everyone, but he was nicer to us.
He was always Rob’s “muscle” when anyone came to the door. As soon as the doorbell would ring, Tuffy would be right there to make sure no harm came to us.
And the nights that I couldn’t sleep, I would go out to the living room to read, and Tuffy would come up and cuddle next to me.
Fun fact: We still usually kept our door closed at night. We opened it for a test run, but Tuffy was large and not so graceful. So anytime he jumped on and off the bed, it was like an earthquake, haha. And since we were both working full time, we considered our sleep time too important to be disturbed that way.
Even though Tuffy was 12 years old when we first inherited him, he lived another 8 years. I’m sure it was all of that meanness that kept him going. Yet there was a lot of love in our hearts for the meanest cat ever and we KNOW he loved us too.
In fact, on my birthdays (and only on that day), Tuffy would succumb to wearing his “tie” as pictured above. He ruled the neighborhood, he caught the voles in our backyard and he never like riding in the car, but he certainly had the best life!!
And no surprise, yours truly knitted him his own blankie which he absolutely loved as you can see below.
Where Bloggers Live
What is Where Bloggers Live? It’s kind of like HGTV’s “Celebrities at Home,” but…Bloggers! Who doesn’t like to peek behind the scenes and hear all about the personal backstories and interesting details? Go take a gander at everyone else’s stories about their pets.
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