I come from a long line of crazy cat people. I spent my first day of the summertime with my brother and sister in law doing what crazy cat people do when they leave the cats alone at home for the day; Hiking mountain trails, taking selfies with wildflowers and kayaking the high seas of Big Bear Lake.
As we trekked upwards into the San Gorgonio wilderness past fields of orange Wallflowers and purple Penstomen waving in the mountain breeze, my brother and I talked about our favorite cat we had as kids, Mario, or Jumper, because that long-haired tabby could jump so high.
My brother was pretty sure that Mario died from feline leukemia, and I told him, well I doubt our cats were ever up to date on their vaccines but we had such a plethora of cats, if one had contacted feline leukemia then I’m sure they would have all got it. (Seriously it was so many cats, my mom started naming them all Shit Head at one point. It was confusing to recall who was Shit Head One or Shit Head Two) Mario was over eighteen years old when we put him to sleep. He was very old for a cat. I think he was just too old and maybe his kidneys were failing, as tends to happen to old cats.
I had to ask my brother if he remembered the one time we took the cats to get their vaccinations as this date definitely stood out in my childhood, one as it was the first time I ever went bowling and two because we all survived the drive home in Dad’s 1990 tiny red Honda Civic.
Now my Dad is a big guy, and somehow we fit Dad all three kids in the Honda with at least four or five cats in cages. I grew up in a mountain forest full of pine trees and it was a long winding mountain road of a drive to get thirty minutes to the city down below us where rumor had it, vaccines for kitties and pups were half off on Wednesdays. And Dad loved nothing more than when things were on sale.
Our home was located in the rural mountains at six thousand feet, where the days were not too hot even in the summer months but the shelter down below our mountain home was located in the sweltering valley where temperatures were normally in at least the nineties. After the cats were all prodded, filled with vaccines and quite moody, dad decided we should leave them in the car and go bowling.
This was an anomaly. Dad must have had a fifty percent off coupon to go bowl because we never did things like go bowling, ever. We did yard work. We raked leaves. We chopped wood. We helped Dad with the plumbing in our old house that had plumbing constantly backed up. We were not bowlers! And to this day, I just don’t get how we managed to leave 4-5 angry prodded cats in a hot car in the ghetto of San Bernardino for a few hours while we bowled.
After a morning of bowling, the pissed off cats were extremely angry with us by the time we returned to the car. The one thing I really remember from this day out bowling in the ghetto was the moment driving back to our mountain town when Dad made the (Very bad decision) let’s let the cats out of the carriers and let them wander the extremely small car.
And then Mario jumped on Dad’s shoulders in the fast lane with all his claws out and I can still remember Dad shrieking in pain. We all survived this incident with the cats having freedom on the freeway and Sean and I are here to talk about it today as we hike across mountain trails and across bubbling high trail streams.
And yes, Dad still takes his Siamese cat with him in the car to the hardware store, but he may have learned his lesson back in 1992 because Yoda the Siamese usually goes to the hardware store on a lease these days.
The author of this article may still be a crazy cat woman. But I’m just basing that information off this photo of a cat in a sweater.