I got Darryl four years ago, give or take. With Adam being held hostage in Chicago, between hands at Sunday poker friends, convinced me to try a cat. There was (I couldn’t make this up) an ex-nun in the game. Pat, living in the high end of Hudson, had two cats and was giving away both or neither. Tommy, part-time to our game, met me at her house and was willing to take one, but only if he had first choice. Fine, Tommy.

And then there were two: Weeks later, a pal, therapist at an area rehab, mentioned that a kitten had been found in the trash bin. “Why don’t you take it?” she suggested, “As a companion for Darryl.”

I had “rescued” the second Darryl, said the staff when we showed up on Arthur’s doorstep. Not necessarily amused by my new clan, still, dutifully my veterinarian buddy examined the thing, medicated it, then sent him with me for safe harbor.

Time passed and our trio melded. I fed them mornings, fed them evenings, and even changed litter. They weren’t Adam, I knew, and yet, they were family.

Ensuing years though brought Max and then Lucy. Priorities were shifting as I became a frequent flyer. As such, someone (in my absences), someone had to feed the boys. Color him Burnside, a cat-lover of long standing.

“Play with them more,” he’d advise.
(Easy for him to say. Dennis went home to a wife each night. Me? I had meetings and plays and coffee and cards and Letterman).
“And you need more litter,” he’d groan, ALWAYS.
(What the F was he talking about? Those bags of sand I toted from PetSmart were heavier than my late Grandpa Sam. And I don’t want to say he was heavy but the Coast Guard used to use my grandfather to measure the tide).

Time passed. Darryl The First: he’d follow me all over the condo even though, truth be known, I found it hard to talk to him. Try as he might, he just wasn’t a dog. As for Darryl II, the poor thing never got over the fact that early on I’d stepped on him, puncturing his eardrum. Even though Kraut had saved his life and nursed him to health, to the end the “rescue” spent days hiding under the mattress. Indeed, his middle-of-the-night leaps to my bed weren’t so much acts of trust as evidence of The Stockholm Syndrome.

Still…it was their home…until it wasn’t.

When it became clear —last fall or so—that I was moving, it also became clear there’d be no room at the inn. Not that it was like breaking up the ’27 Yankees, but the handwriting was on the wall: Bruce, Fred, Darryl and Darryl would be heading separate ways.

“You’ve got to keep them together, “ urged Stacy, (long-distance I might add, as all-the-while I heard my beautiful bichon whine in the background).

And I wanted those brothers together—truly. Let’s face it, though: my primary contacts were and are Jews and Jews don’t like cats. Alien to our heritage, not once, in fact, are they mentioned in the Torah. For that matter, does anyone recall even one reference to felines on Passover? Over 600,000 Israelites fled Egypt yet nowhere in the Haggadah is there mention of a cat! Or Noah and the Ark? Ever view the artists’ renderings? Ever once see two cats strutting the plank? Or Mel Brooks? His comprehensive “History Of The World Part I”? Notta.

So where…really, was I going to find a home for the boys? (Ed. Note: Further proof that mainstream Jews have no affinity for cats is demonstrated by cursory review of the roster of Shiloh AZA, circa 1965. Did Wieder, Fenton, Snyder or Cohn have a cat? How ‘bout Ermine or Herman or Davis or Raisin? What about Codgie or Kraut? Or Blackie? Or Goddam Will? What about Auerbach or Gaffin or Stockfish or Treinish?).

No, keeping Darryl and Darryl together would require almost divine intervention—something extraordinary.

Enter Liz Wyman: Ben and Jackie’s kid, my niece. Heeding the call out east, this steadfast supporter of BARCS (Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter),
posted flyers, hit Facebook and networked until finally, eight days before MoveDay, she found them a home.

In Baltimore! Both boys! The Darryls! Together!

One week ago today, at the crack of dawn, we said goodbye. Darryl The First went easy. But not his brother. Smarting still from the trauma of his infancy, he didn’t make it easy. Finally…finally, we contained him.

“You start driving,” I told Larry, who’d be driving out east. I locked up the condo. It was empty now. A few boxes, still—but empty.

Liz emailed some eight hours later. And sent pictures…of Darryl and Darryl at their newfound home, surrounded by smiling children—

They were in a better place.

2 Responses to “CATS”

  1. Anonymous says:

    What are you talking about. The Katz family has been around for centuries. Who do you think provided the furniture for Noah’s yacht?

  2. Grandpa Sam says:

    I read your comment about my weight and the Coast Guard. One question: “Is that so?”

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