As a child I loved cats and begged to get one, but my dad didn’t like them. His favorite phrase was “The only good cat is a dead cat.”
So we had fish instead.
Fish are OK, but you can’t pet them and they’re not much fun to cuddle with at night. Not to mention you can’t dress them in doll clothes like we did with my friend Betsy’s cat, Sassy.
Luckily I married a man who grew up with cats and loved them too. Once we were settled in our first little apartment Teacher took me to the pet store to pick out my wedding gift from him – a kitten.
The little grey and white one stole my heart at first glance. I don’t even remember any other kittens; I only had eyes for Sebastian. Being a music
nerd major I named him after Johann Sebastian Bach.
It was mutual love at first sight. He was my constant companion; when I got up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom he followed me back to bed, curling up next to me and lying his head in the crook of my arm. At night when Teacher was at work and I was home alone Sebastian would alternately lie next to me on the couch and prowl around the apartment playing guard cat.
He was also great entertainment. He’d bolt hell-bent-for-leather through our tiny three-room apartment from the kitchen diagonally through the living room to the bedroom, where he’d bound across the bed, kick off the wall to turn around like an Olympic swimmer, then blast back in the opposite direction.
One afternoon he flew onto the bed and landed next to one of Teacher’s winter gloves which was laying palm-up. He immediately sprang about three feet straight up into the air, landed next to the glove again, and scrambled frantically to get away from the frightening thing. He batted viciously at it twice, then spun around and tore out of the bedroom. I was laughing so hard I almost wet my pants!
Another of his favorite games was “wrestle the stuffed animal.” Teacher’s stuffed pig, Lawrence, was one of Sebastian’s favorite wrestling partners. Lawrence was almost as big as Sebastian, so he’d wrap his front paws around the pig and roll around on the floor with him. Teacher and I laughed and laughed at him – cheaper than a movie but just as fun.
Sebastian was a smart kitty – he taught himself to play “catch” with a milk jug ring. To be fair, Teacher helped too. Sebastian LOVED playing with milk rings and one night he hopped on the bed to play with one. Unfortunately his play time was in the middle of our sleep time. Teacher grabbed the milk ring and tossed it off the bed. Naturally Sebastian followed and grabbed it. He brought it back onto the bed, and Teacher tossed it off again. Sebastian retrieved it and brought it back to the bed again. From that night on, whenever we’d throw a milk ring Sebastian would get it and bring it back for us to throw again.
Sebastian loved to be outside and would sneak out whenever he could. We strung a clothesline from the porch to the tree in the front yard for our laundry, but also used it for Sebastian. Teacher connected two kitty leashes into one long one and attached one end on the clothesline so Sebastian move between the porch and tree. He spent many hours lying on the porch in the sun and chasing squirrels up the tree.
One sunny afternoon I heard him at the door and opened it so he could come in. As I bent down to take the leash off his collar I realized he had a dead bird in his mouth.
Ohmygosh what am I going to do?!
I’m terrified of birds; they give me nightmares.
I was so afraid that Sebastian would drop the bird on the floor and I’d have to pick it up. Ew ew ew ew ew! Without thinking I grabbed the cat around his rib cage, opened the door and tossed him out.
As his front feet hit the porch his mouth opened and the bird flew away.
OhmygoshOhmygoshOhmygosh! It was still alive!
Words cannot express how grateful I was that I’d gotten him outside before the bird got away. The only thing worse than having a dead bird in the apartment would’ve been having a LIVE bird in the apartment!
One of the tricks I taught Sebastian was to come when I called. He’d rush through our apartment to find me when I called “Heeeere Kitty-kitty-kitty!” Once he snuck out the door and chased a squirrel across the parking lot and into the ravine on the other side. I panicked, worrying that he wouldn’t come back, but he came flying out of the ravine when I called him.
He was such a good cat!
Sadly, we had to give Sebastian away when we graduated from college because Teacher was going to graduate school and our new apartment didn’t allow pets.
Since it’s been over 20 years since he was my kitty I’m sure he’s gone by now. I’ve thought of him over the years and hoped he lived a happy life. He certainly made my life much happier while he was in it.