Thursday, July 07, 2005

Soon after I moved into a new apartment on Fell Street in San Francisco with my friends Mike and Syd, Mike and I decided to get a cat. Syd and I had gotten a kitten at our previous apartment, but a few of our other roommates had objected to him and within a day or two he had to move in with our friend Julie instead. This time, though, Mike and I knew that Syd would enjoy a feline surprise when he returned home, so we got in Mike's Rambler and headed down to the local ASPCA. The first cat that caught our eyes was a tiny and adorable black kitten, but when they opened his cage for us to go in and get acquainted he arched his back, hissed angrily and ran into the corner, so cute as he was, we had to take a pass. Then when we were wandering around looking for another prospect a cat in a smaller cage up on a counter we were walking past reached out and batted at Mike. He was Cassius, or "cat - 6 mos." at the time, and he was just lolling on his side and being playful, and when his cage was opened he didn't hiss and back away but rubbed against your hand and purred. We found out that his original owners had gotten a dog not long after they'd gotten him and the dog had attacked Cassius, and when you've got to choose between an attack-prone dog and the friendliest and sweetest cat ever, I guess the choice is obvious... gotta think of the kids and all. But that family's loss was our gain, because he really was the friendliest, most affectionate, and all-around best cat you could ever imagine having. Syd taught him how to fetch very quickly, and he would constantly be bringing you a stuffed mouse or bottlecap or some random piece of trash and dropping it on your chest for it to be thrown. There were some built-in shelves that went up to the ceiling in Syd's room and you could throw the fetching item up onto the top shelf and he'd leap and scramble all the way up to get it and then jump back down and bring it back. Six months later Mike and I moved to another apartment with our friend Andrew and Cassius came with us, staying there for 7 years, and then when Andrew moved to Dublin and I moved to New York he came with me, driving across the country and staying in many a Motel 6. It's nice to always know there's someone there when you get home, who will come jump up on your bed and curl up next to you when you're sick, or sad, or just watching TV. He was my friend, and I miss him. Goodnight, Cassius Clay.


Anonymous Syd said...

R.I.P. Cassius 'the cat' Clay, you were the best damn fetching cat I ever knew.

9:56 AM  
Blogger andrew said...

Sorry to hear about Cassius, Paul! He was a great pal. I remember when Letterman came to San Francisco we were talking about trying to get him on Stupid Pet Tricks, and kind of thinking his trick of fetching wasn't quite impressive enough for teevee. Then we saw an interview in the paper with the lady who coordinates SPT and she said "You know what I haven't seen in a really long time that would be great? A fetching cat." We didn't audition him though because (a) he wouldn't have performed well in that environment, (b) he would have hated it and (c) too damn lazy. Mostly (b) though. We did love that cat.

2:57 AM  

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