Hoppy, Come Home


It is well known that we, my wife and I, are crazy cat people (“what ‘we,’ kemosabe?” is murmured over my shoulder). 

Sticky details aside, the missus and I have assumed responsibility for the care and feeding of Hoppy, Emily, Willy, Dolly, Tiny, Cotton, Big Fluffy, Mr. Gimp, Chester, Blacky, Jumbo, a nameless wonder, Emily’s kittens and an itinerant raccoon. I have tried to include everybody and I trust that any cat that was omitted and is reading this will not feel slighted but will attribute the oversight to my faulty eyesight and failing memory. These impairments are, of course the natural result of consorting and trying to compete with creatures who can see a mouse at 500 feet in total darkness, but lack fully developed frontal lobes.

In fact, had early 20th century psychiatric practitioners paid any attention to the cats around  them, they would have known that the lobotomy is no cure for often aberrant, antisocial and immature behavior. Cats are already lobotomized and often act completely nuts

By the way, as you examine the names of the animals it becomes clear that the community is a kind of mafia and it’s easier to get in if your name ends in a “y.”

This cat community in constant flux – births, deaths, temper tantrums, resignations from the club and demands for fair treatment. The only constant is the open hostility of the neighbors. One complains of nightmares and another has just erected a 12 foot high “security fence.” The fence was erected with such speed and alacrity as would be the envy of the State of Israel or Texas and New Mexico.

If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a versatile support group to deal with a feline fellowship such as ours. You have your Walmarts to provide economical nutrition (we buy so much cat food the clerks suspect us of running an old age home), your regular, overpriced vets, and your 24 hour emergency, even more overpriced vets. Then you have your no-kill, non-profit pet adoption shelters (you know they are non-profit because of their massive fund-raising efforts) that absorb excess kittens for a nominal, voluntary donation in an amount not to exceed a month’s supply of cat food from Walmart. And you had better have what we used to describe as a Rolodex-full of no-kill, non-profit pet adoption shelters because they are always full and have eighteen month waiting lists.

All this is background for the good news: Hoppy, our most senior cat has returned after having been given up for… I can’t say it. His manner is subdued, as if he has seen more than he cares to relate. And his eyes, his eyes betray the coldness of one who has had to do unspeakable things in order to survive. The sight of this battle-scarred old veteran with his serrated ears after a four or five day disappearance brought tears to our eyes (yeah, “our” kemosabe). The deep emotion we felt as our house was filled again with the sound of his vaporous allergic sneezes was overwhelming. We stopped crying, however, when we found no fresh wounds that might require at trip to your 24 hour emergency, even more overpriced vet. Good old Hoppy, takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’.

And now the commercial: You, too, can be a crazy cat person! But, you must act fast! We have a limited number of Emily’s kittens that will be available for adoption very soon! The genders range from male to female and the colors from understated black to unobtrusive gray. Get on the waiting list NOW! Tomorrow you’ll have to wait for Dolly’s kittens.


About Daniel Botnick

Grandfather, great grandfather, erstwhile merchant, non profit executive. Real old.
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