I remember you telling me that you didn’t like cats because when you were young, one crawled up around your neck and nearly suffocated you. That always scared me and made me afraid of cats. You did finally give in and let Ruthie get a cat, maybe for her birthday. I think our cousin Eugene caught it on their farm. We named it Claude because it would claw you. That cat would always attack me on the leg, grabbing on with all four claws. I’d shake and shake and couldn’t get Claude to release. I’d try and run every time I’d see Claude getting in stalk mode ready to attack. After you died, Claude left. I heard it was an old wives tale that if a cat is attached to someone who dies, they leave. I believed it.
My girls received a cat from a friend and they named him Smeagol—after some character in the Lord of the Rings. I think that’s the movie. The girls have moved out, but Smeagol stayed. I’ll admit it, I didn’t want him to leave—more so because I knew he would be sad not to live here. He has all the freedom he needs without any of the hassles. He gets to see so many other animals without having to fight for his life. Smeagol’s an inside cat and he’s a little stinker.
I caught him playing under my bed, so I got down on the floor to capture his cuteness.