Saturday, February 27, 2010

Remembering Gabe: A One-Time-Only Catblogging

It has been said that the Internet finds its ultimate purpose in disseminating pictures of cats.  Who am I to buck the trend?  So, here's a one-time-only blog about my cat.

Gabe, pictured here, was my lovely purebred American Shorthair.  Although "retired" by the time he lived with me, he had been a show cat and had earned Grand Championships both as a "whole cat" and as a neuter.

Gabe, also known by a multitude of nicknames such as "The Fat White Hope", was wonderfully affectionate.  He loved to be picked up and held, and usually met me at the door when I got home.  He was a big cat, making for a very satisfying armful.  His size also made him fun to "thump" - he loved this - and he also enjoyed an occasional wrassle.

A people cat, yes.  A cat cat, not so much.  With other cats, Gabe was a scrapper and a bully.  With very little notice, he would decide that some other cat's hash needed settling and immediately set about getting that accomplished.  This moved from being a nuisance to my sister (then his owner) to a real problem when they acquired a fourth cat, a Maine Coon of tremendous size but retiring temperament.  Gabe decided immediately that the new family member was Satan Cat, and his subsequent actions led to his exile to the nicely finished basement.

Not long after that, I finished graduate school and joined Gabe in my sister's basement while I sought professional employment.  (I should probably stress that this move, unlike Gabe's, was not only voluntary but very welcome.)  When I moved to Kansas City, Gabe came with me, an arrangement that pleased all of us.  (You may be assured it pleased the Maine Coon!)

Gabe had fabulously scrunchable fur and a tail so strong it seemed to have a whole other cat in there, as a friend once said.  Surprisingly, he had an angelic little voice: Gabe was short for Gabriel, an angel mentioned in the Bible.

Although I've missed him since his passing at a ripe age a number of years ago, I remember him not with grief but with love, and also with many chuckles for his unique and wonderful personality.


  1. Anonymous9:53 PM

    Ah, the Mighty Gabester. A giant among cats in more than size. Speaking of size, your readers must note that above pic was snapped by a professional cat portraitist in Gabe's leaner show days. I may be able to find a favorite pic of a reclining Gabe that better displays the waistline of his later years.

    After his show days, Gabe had been placed with a family that had a little girl. I understand she put clothes and bonnets on him and hauled him around in a doll buggy and he loved it. He had the audacity to have a single hairball barf, however, and the mother freaked and brought him back. I was very sad for that little girl but grateful for the hairball that made him available to us. When I visited the cat lady we got Gabe from, I met all of her cats--except Gabe. I finally said, "Where is that big white cat you were telling us about?"

    As if trained for life in preparation for this Olympic moment, this big white cat with poppy copper moon eyes galloped in, his white dulap swaying from side to side, and stopped at my feet. He quickly picked up his front paws like a meercat. As if this weren't impressive enough, he emitted this tiny angelic squeak. I picked him up--no small feat--and cuddled him as he gazed adoringly into my eyes and purred loud purrs. When I went to put him down, and I have not seen any other cat do this before or since, he wrapped his front legs around my arms and hung on, resisting being put down all the way to the ground.

    When we lived in San Francisco, we had a large sunny apartment on Market Street just off the Castro. We kept our windows wedged in a position that left them open just a few inches, with the theory that it would keep Gabe from chasing a bird off our small porch and falling several stories.

    One day, Gabe disappeared for a while. We figured he was ensconced in a closet somewhere, but when he finally made an appearance he was covered with dust bunnies and had spider webs in his whiskers. In those pre-parenting days we had kept a cleaner house, so we were mystified. When it happened again one day I mentioned it to our neighbor George, who said, "You have a cat? By any chance is it WHITE????"

    It turned out that Gabe was periodically squeezing his bulk out between the dowel lengths that propped the window open; pussy-footing it across the small porch; sneaking in the window George had forgotten he had left open behind all his stereo equipment and books; and emerging, bestrewn with dust and spider webs, ghost cat from hell, to settle George's cat's hash and then disappear through the wires again when George broke up the fight.

    Remember the vocabulary we had to invent as we endeavored to keep Gabe downstairs with you? We had the inevitable periodic "upcatting," followed as soon as possible by "downcatting." We also coined "incatting" and "outcatting."

    Your Sister Judi

  2. Gorgeous.

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Some cats are just that special...

  4. I knew Gabe in Kansas City. A most excellent cat, well suited to his owner. Well worth any hairball barfs.


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T Minus Two by Bob Pedersen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.