1989 - 1993

Mikey 1992I think the best way to describe Mikey was someone who had been punished in a previous life, and had to spend the next one as a cat.

Mikey had no luck. Born in 1989 on a large farm, Mikey came to this world with his brothers Mickey and Mokey. I didn't name them, my friend "Fred's" parent's did so. I always thought Mikey's name would have been better if it was "Bandit" but he already came to "Mikey." "Fred" was a sysop of a local BBS, and had recently become my friend. I disguise his name, because I don't really want to slam this guy on the web, since he may have changed to a better person by now. He was kind of creepy, but this feeling built up over time. After a very tragic accident, he had been medically discharged from the Army with full benefits, and lived with his wife and son in a rather luxurious townhouse in Arlington. His parents offloaded a pair of kittens on him, and because his condo rules prevented him from having pets, "Fred" was anxious to get rid of them. He took me to his house, where I met his wife, a professional career woman who looked at me like I was pond scum. I was introduced to the cats, and then to his 4 year old son, who I was told had a learning disability. I am not sure what disability he had, I mean he *looked* normal, but "Fred" treated him like he was invisible, and the kid treated the cats like most small boys treat toys. He would drag them around, punch them in the head, and so on. "Fred," who said he loved cats, did nothing to stop this, even when the kid sat on them and banged their heads with the lid of his toy box. His reasoning was his son didn't know the difference between real animals and toy stuffed animals, and that was his wife's job anyway.

Since we already had Pookie, and it was decided that before Christopher was born, Pookie needed to have a companion, or we feared she'd become jealous of the baby (she was very clingy on Christine). "Fred" said he had to get rid of the cats quickly, and I feared his kid would kill them. We took Mikey and Mokey (Mickey had been given away earlier) to our apartment, and observed what they did. Pookie didn't like either of them. Mokey, a large black kitten, slunk around and hid. Mikey, who was rather banged up by abuse by this point, simply went to sleep in a laundry basket, and didn't care about Pookie sniffing him. So we figured Mikey was a cool, laid back cat, and took him in (he was also already fixed). "Fred" said he's give me $25 to keep Mikey, plus a 6-month supply of cat food. "Fred" only gave us 3 months of food, but we stopped being friends for other reasons (he just weirded me out).

Mikey was stocky; built like a farm cat with claws so thick and curved, they reminded you of eagle talons. They were hard to clip. A true mouser if I ever saw one. He had broad shoulders, and a rock-solid body (unlike the the normal limp body most cats had). Mikey had a large head with big green eyes, a small mouth, and a slightly goofy look, like he was constantly in a state of surprise. His build was very hard to discern, but a lot of the time, he eerily had a human posture. It was just the way he looked sometimes, you'd swear he was a man trapped in a cat's body. Mikey was laid back, but quickly took interest in our finch. Several times we had to pry him off the cage. He wasn't very friendly at first. He wasn't mean, he just was a kind of loner. But Pookie quickly warmed up to him, and soon the two of them would lick each other clean and sleep together in boxes. Whenever they "fought" it was never mean, and often was just the two of them in some sort of goofy boxing match. He didn't ever meow. Well, actually, he did on a few occasions, mentioned below. But if someone asked me what I remember Mikey most by, it was his luck.

Mikey had baaaaad luck. He'd walk by the table, and things would fall on him. He wasn't clumsy, but often he'd fall off of things like he'd been pushed. Our apartment was haunted, and the spirits would pick on him the worst. Often he'd fall asleep right where we needed to be or move, despite our best efforts not to disturb him. Just bad things happened to him all the time.

D-did you see THAT!  I swear it was just here! One incident I will recall was what we call "The Water Weird Incident." Mikey one day decided to guard his water dish. Just one day, out of the blue, he just started staring at it, like he was waiting for something to happen. Sometimes we'd go into the kitchen and he'd be at his bowl, all excited, looking at us, then the bowl, then us, with a look like, "D-did you see THAT??? It was right here! Now it's gone, but I SWEAR it was RIGHT THERE!" When we started to figure out the apartment was haunted, we started to think that when we weren't looking, some water spirit would rise out of the water dish, mock and make fun of Mikey, only to vanish when we came into the kitchen. Mikey became so transfixed by whatever was happening, he started to guard and sleep by the water dish most of the day. At first, he'd put his paws on either side of the dish, Sphinx-like, guarding it until he'd start to doze off, his head getting lower and lower. Soon, his nose would start making ripples on the water, and then his head would slowly lower into the water, until he'd wake up with a start, splashing water everywhere! It was pretty funny, but poor Mikey. That was typical of his luck.

For two Christmases, we used to have a little village under the tree. This village had a plastic ice rink, covered with a sheet of mirror-like plastic. Mikey loved to knock off all the little plastic skaters, and sleep on the rink. If you dared try and put the skaters back, he'd hide them. And until we packed up the Christmas stuff, that would be Mikey's bed all Christmas.

Mikey liked those plastic rings that came from the safety caps around gallon milk jugs. He'd bat them around until he lost it under the entertainment center, stare at where it went for a while, and then became bored. The only time we ever heard Mikey meow when he wasn't being bathed was when you tried to take the milk rings away from him. His meow was like a confused chirp, and this shocked us so much, since he never made a sound otherwise, we gave them back to him. When we moved out of that apartment, I found all the rings under the entertainment center, 105 to be exact.

We assumed Mikey to be mute until we had the flea infestation from hell. We adopted this bunny who had fleas, and before we found it a real home, he got these huge, man-eating fleas loose in our apartment. We had to bathe the cats weekly, because we could never get rid of them. This was the first time we gave Mikey a bath, and Mikey didn't like it one bit. Pookie was used to it (since she came with fleas when we bought her, and bathed her and got rid of them before it became a problem), but Mikey fought like a demon at first. Then, when he accepted he couldn't escape, he let out this… caterwaul. It was a sound impossible to describe, but it was deep, throaty, haunting, and… man, it was creepy. It proved that Mikey had a set of vocal chords that worked, and worked well in times of trouble. The sound that came from this cat was so haunting, so un-earthly, that for years I have been unable to define it properly.

When Christopher was born, he was in the hospital for weeks due to the strained labor. Christine was also bedridden. When the day finally came to take CR home, we had no idea how the cats would react. So when CR arrived, we were very cautious. We had set up the crib months earlier in anticipation, and became rather distressed that Mikey used it as *his* bed. Well that stopped when CR came home. But the first meeting of CR and the cats were very friendly. Pookie sniffed, and when satisfied with her curiosity, walked away. Mikey sniffed, but stared, as if transfixed and hypnotized by CR. When CR was old enough to be aware of his surroundings, Mikey would poke his head into CR's little pumpkin seat (a sort of baby car seat you can put babies in to cart them around the house), and start to play with CR's wispy tufts of hair. CR would think this was *really* funny, and I suppose if a goofy cat head like Mikey had suddenly swam into my field of view, I'd laugh too. In fact, it was Mikey's antics that brought on CR's first real laughs.

We had a dog for ten days (dog-sitting between owners), and Mikey *hated* the dog so much, he'd attack it, even though the Keeshond was much larger than Mikey. The dog thought the attacks were hilarious, and barked excitedly when Mikey attacked him, which would make Mikey go ballistic.

Mikey waits for clothes - 1992 Mikey still had bad luck. Our house had three floods, and he had to live through all of them. Thankfully, the second flood was what finally killed those fleas, but he was the only cat that got wet. When we adopted Artoo, the first thing Artoo did, even before he was out of the carrying crate, was to hit Mikey. Mikey and Artoo never got along. Artoo wanted to play fight, and Mikey hated him so much, he'd tear him apart. We had to get Artoo stitches when Mikey split Artoo's jaw from chin to ear.

One day in 1993, Mikey started sleeping by is cat box a lot. We didn't know why, but after two days of this, we figured he was real sick. So we took him to the vet, where they diagnosed him with kidney failure, and died later that night. The whole procedure was very expensive, and we couldn't afford even Mikey's death. That vet gouged us $650 for the overnight stay and "disposal" services. We could only pay about $300 of it, and so the vet promptly turned our account to a bill collector, who harassed my both Christine and myself at our workplaces for months. Finally, after some particularly nasty incidents, I demanded a detailed bill of the procedures, with proof of my approval of procedure on them (treating it like any medical bill). The vet never sent them to me, and the case was finally dropped.

But the damage had been done. Not only was Mikey gone, but his death was repeatedly thrown in our faces. CR has never really gotten over his death, even years later. When it was all over, we figured Mikey must have been a human in a previous life, punished to be a cat for four years. The whole bad luck/human posture thing really led credence to that. But Mikey was a good cat, and I am sure he has been cleared of any wrongdoing now.

Only picture of the three together

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