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Meet the Boys

Shhhh…they don’t know they are cats!

When either Mr. B or I step out on the back porch and call the boys to come in for breakfast in the morning, we don’t yell, “Kitty, kitty, kitty.”

No sir, they’d starve before they would run from the back of the lot to the porch at that summons. We have to call, “Bootsie, Bootsie, Bootsie.”

It all started seven years ago at Thanksgiving. My sister and her husband came over to visit with our hoard of kids in the afternoon. In the midst of the noise, feasting and confusion she and I snuck off to the back yard to catch up. That’s when she told me about this half-grown black and white cat that had showed up at her house a couple of days before. She’d been feeding him chicken skin and bones (from the hen she’d boiled for the Thanksgiving dressing) because she couldn’t bear to see him go hungry, especially at Thanksgiving.

We’d put in a new six foot wood fence around our back yard that summer so I offered to let the black and white cat live in my back yard. She’d named him Boots and brought him over that evening after the kids had all gone home. He was right gentle and as karma would have it, fell in love with Mr. B. When Mr. B worked in the shop, there was Boots sitting in the door watching him. When he did yard work, Boots earned his keep by keeping crickets and spiders ran away.

But he never did know he was a cat so the “kitty, kitty, kitty” business did not apply to him. We had to call him by name to get his attention.

I gave him the middle name and he became Boots Randolph after the saxophone genius. Then the neighbor thought he was a stray started calling him Outlaw so he became Boots Randolph Outlaw. After that I saw him chase down a vicious varmint (called a field mouse) and devour the thing so he got a fourth name. He is now Boots Randolph Terminator Outlaw.

He was an only child for two years and Mr. B said that he would remain that way. But one day someone, who I would still like to strangle, threw out a kitten on our lawn. Literally threw him out, hit the bit elm tree with him, broke his shoulder and quite possibly blinded him in one eye. I won’t lay the last charge to the heartless fool who threw him because the kitten could have been born blind but the rest was the result of the tree.

So Boots got a brother whether he wanted him or not. And since new little gray kitten limped, I called him Chester. However it wasn’t long until Chester out grew the “little kitten” tag and grew to be as big as Boots. He does love to eat so pretty soon he was bigger than Boots and we considered getting a lift chair to get him out the back door at night so Mr. B called him Chester Fat Boy.

Boots belongs to Mr. B but Chester Fat Boy is my baby. He’s my muse and sleeps right beside me on the copy machine while I write. If the clatter of my nails on the keys stop, it’s time for me to hold him so I know I’d best get to the end of the chapter before I quit.

And since Boots comes running in the morning to “Bootsie, Bootsie, Bootsie,” so does Chester Fat Boy. I’ve thought about cat therapy but other than that he seems to be a well adjusted cat!

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