The Cats in My Life

For as long as I can remember a cat was always in my life. During my childhood days I remember one particular cat, Psych (short for psycho) was by far the most colorful. He was crazy and would attack us, causing us to bleed. Once we walked a few blocks to a near by baseball field to play. Psych followed us, it was an open field which afforded us not refuge,  and that cat chased us until he caught us and bit and scratched us. My sister Norma’s friend, Jackie was playing with us that day and she got the worst of it. This was Psych’s way of playing; at first it was all fun and games then an evil spirit entered the cat. Jackie ended up at the doctor’s office and developed a deep fear of Psych. We loved Psych and continued to put up with his physical abuse. One night he was crying outside our bedroom window and we snuck him in. He silently attacked us and all we could do is cover our faces because we were forbidden to have him indoors. That night I learned to scream voicelessly. Jo, Norma and I would take turns uncovering our heads to see where he was, as we were captive prisoners to a 12 pound beast. In the morning while Psych was sleeping, we checked our wounds. I remember my arms were pretty scratched up, as were my sisters.


Toby was my son Mikos’s cat. Toby moved with us from Santa Barbara, to Whittier, to the Valley and finally to Orange where we make our home today. Mikos loved Toby. One day I accidentally ran over his cheek. At first I had no idea that this happened, Toby was in the bushes shaking his head, and when he turned, half of his face was gone! I called Mike, screaming that I ran over Toby’s face. Mike rushed home and we both scrambled to find the cat before Mikos got home from school. Mikos found his cat and we rushed him to the vet. We were told that Toby needed reconstructive surgery and that he would be on pain pills the rest of his life. The rest of his life ended that dreadful day.

Blanca was the next cat, but she got into the habit of urinating in shoes and that was most unpleasant. Once Mike was going on a trip and he packed his garment bag but Blanca did her business on the bag. I remember reading that baking soda would clean and take the stench out. What a huge mess and Mike’s black garment bag now had white powder all over it. It sill had that unpleasant cat urine whiff. I had to get rid of Blanca.

Barney Bernard Ciriza, the hole in his chest

Barney Bernard Ciriza was one of my favorite cats, but Mike had major issues with him because he was worse than Blanca. Barney Bernard sprayed everywhere, and was no longer allowed indoors. Mike and I were on our way to a party when I asked him to stop at the store because I needed to pick out a birthday card. When I got back into the car, Mike was shirtless. I did not know what to think, so I did not say anything. Then he asked me, “Do you know why I’m not wearing a shirt?” I answered, “No, not really.” Then he said, “Because the cat pissed on my shirt!” Needless to say, we were late for the party. One Halloween night, some amateurs failed at an attempted  animal sacrifice. Barney Barnard came home with his chest opened about four inches. The vet stitched him up and sent him home. Barney Bernard died on the same day that Mikos graduated from college. Our friends from Colorado were in town and fed Barney Barnard tripas (Spanish for cow guts). He fell victim to a coyote, and I cannot help thinking that the smell from the tripas got my cat killed.

Mookie Mariano

Shortly after Barney Bernard’s death, Mike and I went to a pet store and came home with Mookie Mariano. Mookie loved us and always showered us with gifts. He brought home birds, rats and rabbits. Mookie was the smartest of all our cats and would only come into through the upstairs bathroom window. Once, late at night, he was crying outside the window, and in a daze I let him in. He brought in a huge rat. This really freaked us out. We moved out of our room so that Mike could set up a traps. For three days the rodent would carefully eat around the traps. I posed a question to Mike, “What if the rat is pregnant?” That did it for Mike, and he went upstairs to take control of the situation. I heard slamming and banging for about an hour. Finally, Mike proudly surfaced with his prize catch. After 14 years, we had to put Mookie down because he did not brush his teeth and needed major dental work that did not guarantee a good quality of life.

Today we share our home with two cats. Both of these creatures belonged to our daughter Sonja. How they both ended by here is no mystery. Maxine, the pesky one, was Sonja’s college cat and when she moved back home for a season, Maxine stayed with us. Maxine is at least 19 years old, and much to Mike’s chagrin she enjoys great health. She is not spiritual and will most likely spend the rest of time in purgatory when she finally dies.

Maxine Meow


Prudence, Prudie,Prudencia

Prudence, the other cat, is the cool cat. Unlike Maxine, she does not require tender loving care. I first met Prudence while Sonja and Russ were on their honeymoon; their cats needed to eat and guess who volunteered to go feed them! Prudence slapped my face when we first met, I picked her up to cuddle, her and she went for round two. Prudence was rescued from the alleys of Costa Mesa, California. She was a thug; having to fend for herself left her with emotional scars of not being loved. Since our yellow lab Shardrach’s passing, Prudence has the run of the back yard and she loves to go out for a few minutes, and comes running back inside to use her litter box, so considerate of her. Sonja and Russ had two cats at the time and poor Cleo (the other cat) was getting her butt kicked by Prudence on a daily basis. So that is why Prudence moved in with us and now beats up Maxine.

Mike is not a fan of cats, and for that reason we have three cat boxes. We both share in the cleaning of the boxes. Even though it appears that cats are well groomed, they are messy, and leave fur and hair balls everywhere. They also jump on to the tables we eat off and barf on our clean bedding. Their most offensive act is leaving their business inches from the cat box.

There is no mention of Cats in the Bible, but they were created by God to give us life learning lessons; they teach us who’s the boss.


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