I am not that big of a pet person but I have always enjoyed cats. This Note from “Days Remembered” is about a very wonderful tom cat named Toby who touched my heart.
When we were kids did you watch Felix the Cat? Do you remember the lyrics to his carton theme?
“Felix the Cat, the wonderful, wonderful cat
Whenever he gets in a fix, he reaches into his bag of tricks
You’ll laugh so much your sides will ache
Your heart will go pitter pat
Watching Felix, the wonderful cat”.
In our case the name of the wonderful, wonderful cat was not named Felix but was Toby “Tobias” Turner. Yes Toby it was. In your efforts to fight the emotions of your empty nest syndrome you finally convinced me to get a pet, a cat, specifically, since I did not want a dog in the house and don’t really like most dogs. Thus, finding a kitten was an answer to your needs. And it was also a good compromise between us since I never had a pet when I was single.
So one Saturday you went down the street to the nearby animal shelter. You brought home a beautiful little grey striped boy kitten. His stripes were unusual and very striking: he would grow up into a very nice looking grown up tom cat later. You named him Toby at the shelter even as other people were also thinking about getting him. You said, however, that you had never had tom cats before, only mama cats, and while you thought he was lovely you were concerned about some of his future adult habits like marking his territory. You were certainly wrong on that fear as we all saw him grow up into a very good adult tom cat.
When you got home with him he was of course hesitant about his new, unknown place of residence. But he warmed up to us pretty fast. I remember the first night he was there and we put him in the bed with us, on a towel between us in case he had some accident and to keep him warm. In the morning he was still there where we put him, seemingly comfortable and at ease. That pattern continued as he never strayed far from us even when he was grown. While not a lap cat he was loving and affectionate all the same. While sometimes aloof like many cats, he always liked being part of what we were doing.
He loved us both but over time I seemed to become his favorite. When I was in my recliner at night he would jump on top of the chair and just sit there behind my head content as I rocked watching TV with you. In the morning when I got up he would follow me into the kitchen and jump up on the counter to watch what I was doing. And best of all you always said he would go to the front door and meow and whine when I left before you. He did love you too, but I was perhaps his parent. At least that is what you thought he was doing. Maybe so, but that is how he behaved. I liked him too you know. I must confess as someone who had never really cared for pets I did love him and missed him when you left.
While he loved us both he also did not know what it was like to be a cat. That is until your son moved in with us and brought his cat Slinkster with him. Those two cats fought some but in the end learned to peacefully co-exist with one another. A feline détente if you will. One thing I saw in Toby was that after The Slink was around he was a bit more aloof and independent than he used to be which is the way most cats are. But that was OK since his other good habits remained like his affectionate nature and his desire to be around us. He always was that way with all of us including the kids.
In retrospect he was the best cat I had ever had in so many ways. I trust to this day he acts the same way and is a fat, happy, and content tom cat. That is how it should be for a wonderful, wonderful cat named Toby who was loved by all and also loved his family. I will never forget him and how happy he made me feel.