Sunday, September 19, 2010
TAKE THAT, LITTLE SMART ALECK!
My mother did not like cats. It wasn’t that she was afraid of them, but she just didn’t have much use for them. So of course we always had dogs. Our first dog was a cocker spaniel she named Teddy. In those days pets were considered animals, not family members, and as such they didn’t get much preventative care from veterinarians. I don’t think Teddy ever even saw a vet, which was why when he got distemper he died.
Later Mother acquired another dog that she named Pal, a cute little terrier of some kind, a mutt who lived with us a long time. Although these were my mother’s dogs, my sister actually claimed ownership of them. She was an animal nut, and besides “her” dogs (which later included Susie, a stray who walked sideways) my sister always had lizards, roosters, caterpillars, parakeets and rats, and as often as not she brought home the classroom guinea pig. But I digress.
One day when I was about 13 or 14, I acquired a cat. I don't remember exactly where it came from; I’d guess it was a stray. Mother didn’t want it in the house but she did tell me I could keep it if I kept it outdoors. At last, I had a pet of my own and I was crazy about it. It followed me everywhere. I named it Disciple, thinking of the biblical disciples who followed Jesus, and I thought the name was very clever. My baby brother, who was just learning to talk, called it Cipo, which is the way he pronounced the word “Disciple.” And of course that is how the cat came to be called simply “Cipo.”
To my great surprise, a couple of months down the road Cipo had babies - two darling little kitties. Immediately I named them Apostle and Epistle, again proud of myself for thinking up even more clever names.
My mother, who was of the old school and had a list of verboten words a mile long, saw what was going to happen with the shortening of these names too. She told me to change their names, that she would not have any of us calling them “Poso” and “Piso.”
I am sorry to say that in my first real challenge of teen-aged independence, I refused to change their names. I told her not to have such a dirty mind. (Yikes!)
Mother shortly took Cipo, Poso and Piso to the dog pound and that was that. But that was after she washed my mouth out with soap. And put me on restriction for a while. So much for forbidden words at our house!
As an adult, I have never been without a cat. Luckily Jerry likes them as much as I do. And if he had not rescued me from the single life so many years ago, by this time I’m sure I would have found myself written up in the newspaper as one of those old people with bizillions of cats instead of just the little Squeaky that we have now.