Buy Some Furniture & Give the Cat a Name

keanukittenI don’t know about the ‘buy some furniture’ part, but I have given the cat a name. My cat’s name is Samantha; Samantha Stevens II. Samantha the First was a feral alley cat that had a litter of kittens on my back porch, and lived with us for a short while until she either died of madness and despair, or just ran away. She was named after Samantha from Sex in the City, which was kind of unfair, because as far as I knew she was monogamous and faithful to her husband, Bob the Cat. He was also feral and he lived across the alley under an abandoned house. He was named Bob because his tail was clipped. He was the Bob Tail Cat, that Stephen Foster bet on in Camptown Races. Doo dah. Doo dah. Man, I couldn’t help that. I guess I am the Doo Dah Man from that Grateful Dead song, “Truckin’.” We are all Doo Dah Men. Or else we would be Don’t Dah Men. And nobody wants that. Let’s see.

boxingcalicocatSamantha was distraught when we found homes for her kittens and gave them away. She was a feral mother, and as soon as she dropped her litter, she tried to carry them back to the alley. A cat like that, you don’t know what a furry buzz saw she could be until you tried to put her in a crate to take her to the vet. It was so sad to hear her baleful meows once her kittens were given foster homes. She wailed on the porch and drove the whole neighborhood crazy with her caterwauling. She couldn’t get over the catastrophe but then she disappeared and was heard from nevermore. It was frankly, a huge relief, but then I always wondered whatever became of Samantha, and felt sorry for the part I played.

kalikitten0Later, as I walked through the alley behind my house, I saw a little calico kitten that resembled her. I fancied that Samantha had escaped from my house and found a better life. She had mothered another litter of kittens, and this was her daughter, who was only slightly less feral than her. She was old enough to leave home, but still impressionable and flexible enough to adapt to civilization, or at least what passed for civilization in my humble abode. Anyway, I scooped her up and adopted her. I named her Samantha, after who I imagined her mother was. Only this time, I named her after a different Samantha: Samantha Stevens from the television program Bewitched. The one who married Darren the mortal advertising executive who worked for Larry Tate. She could cast a spell by twinkling her nose. Can’t think of the right verb but twinkling will do for now. Samantha cast a spell on me. Her coffee colored fur reminded me of a barista with espresso grounds smeared across her face. She was incredibly cute, but grew into a more ferocious facial expression. She looked very mean as an adult, and indeed she did seem to be very mean to all the other animals in my menagerie, though she had a soft spot for me alone. She had a pretty domineering way of demanding affection, however.

boxingcalicocatSometimes she would strike a pugnacious pose like a boxer, putting up her dukes. Most of the time she would just leap into my lap and place herself directly in front of me so there could be no doubt whatsoever of her intentions. Groom me, slave. Now!

Well, Samantha was a good name for her. I had a dog named Delilah, and thought that Samantha and Delilah would make a good name for a story or something. For a while I changed her name to Natasha when I got a little tuxedo cat that looked like Boris Pasternak, the Russian Poet who wrote Dr. Zhivago. After Boris died I didn’t want to be reminded of the poor unfortunate soul, so I changed her name back to Samantha. Boris and Natasha was actually a couple from Tolstoy’s War and Peace, and then the names were used for the Russian spies from the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons. Actually, SPOILER ALERT: In War and Peace Boris and Natasha are only  childhood sweethearts who don’t end up together. We don’t hear from Boris, although Natasha is certainly one of the strongest characters. But I digress, and I promised that I wouldn’t do that as much, and I have already crossed that line of allowable discretionary digressions. So . . . .

hqdefaultAnyway, the title of this blog entry is taken from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, if Truman Capote didn’t write the screenplay, he certainly wrote the novelette it was based on. My favorite quotation, or my favorite part of the longer piece of this dialogue is where Holly explains:


Holly Golightly: You know those days when you get the mean reds?

Paul Varjak: The mean reds, you mean like the blues?

Holly Golightly: No. The blues are because you’re getting fat and maybe it’s been raining too long, you’re just sad that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid and you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling?

Paul Varjak: Sure.

Holly Golightly: Well, when I get it the only thing that does any good is to jump in a cab and go to Tiffany’s. Calms me down right away. The quietness and the proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there. If I could find a real-life place that’d make me feel like Tiffany’s, then – then I’d buy some furniture and give the cat a name!

So, always go lightly, but carry a big stick. When you find someone and someplace that feels like home, buy some furniture and give the cat a name!



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