When cats meet for the first time

Skippy had a problem.

His brother Silly was to his left in the hallway, but directly in front of him, in the kitchen, in this new apartment … was another cat.

What was he to do?

When she adopted Skippy, the humane society said he shouldn’t go into a house with children because he was a “shy, timid kitten,” but we’re convinced it was a front, because there was nothing shy about him.

For a small cat, Skippy had a huge personality.

My wife adopted him at seven weeks old in 1994, while she was living in Madison, Wisconsin, and his life was one adventure after another.

There were the flights from Madison to Connecticut and back, the appearance in a calendar of 365 kittens (he was Dec. 24), the time he fell of a balcony in Clifton Park, the time he fell down an elevator shaft in Manchester, which apparently set off a major panic.

When she adopted Skippy, the humane society said he shouldn’t go into a house with children because he was a “shy, timid kitten,” but we’re convinced it was a front, because there was nothing shy about him.

If you wanted to hold him all day, that was fine with him. If you were OK with him sitting on your lap constantly, he wasn’t going to argue.

Sure, he’d eat cat food, but his favorite was whipped cream. The litter box was a problem because he didn’t want to get his paws messy, so he’d try to balance on the edges of the box.

You can imagine how that went.

He used to sleep under the covers with my wife … that was, until I came along. There was still room for him in the bed, but my constant tossing and turning put him in danger.

He eventually forgave me. At least I think he did.

Skippy was an only child until Silly (short for Silhouette) came along when my wife lived in Cooperstown.

According to my wife, Skippy was scared of Silly, who was much larger, at least until Silly … went to the vet to get some things taken care of.

Silly was as laid-back as Skippy was hyper. He wasn’t rattled by anything, even the years of shots he needed for his diabetes and the roughly 11 months of chemotherapy for his cancer treatment.

He liked being around people, liked attention, would sit next to you on the couch for hours. If he wanted attention and you were ignoring him, he’d reach out and grab you with his paw.

The “paw of death,” we called it

But he hated being held, and he wasn’t a lap cat until the very end of his life.

And in case you’re wondering, yes, the blog is named for him (in addition to the fact that life is often … well … silly).

Scrapper was my cat, and she was the cat in the kitchen.

I was fairly indifferent to cats growing up, and only got Scrapper when I moved into my first apartment because she was a stray that my mother was feeding but couldn’t keep.

“Do you want a cat? I think you want a cat.”

“Do you want a cat? I think you want a cat.”

“Do you want a cat? I think you want a cat.”

“OK, OK … I want a cat.”

My mother got even with me later, noting that I freaked out when I though I had lost her, when as it turned out she had slipped behind a panel a workman had removed in my apartment.

In spite of myself, she was devoted to me. Wherever I was, she wanted to be. It took me a while to come around.

It’s like he was trying to say, “I don’t like you, and don’t you dare be friends with her, either.”

Back to the kitchen.

There was Skippy, in a new apartment when my wife and I moved in together after about a year of dating while she lived in Connecticut and I lived in New York, and here was this … other … cat.

He decided he needed to establish his primacy, so he hissed at Scrapper …

… and then turned and punched Silly in the nose.

It’s like he was trying to say, “I don’t like you, and don’t you dare be friends with her, either.”

After that, however, they all got along fine.

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