Friday, April 11, 2014

Writing Challenge - Day 7 - About the mighty Derek Jeter

Its 10:13 pm

     Had a rough day today,every day is getting rougher as I approach the anniversary of Lori's passing.
I am on edge outside of work....the silence is starting to get to me again. I am not sleeping very well,its very difficult going to bed when the other side of the bed is empty..I still wake up and reach for Lori,to hold her close,smell her hair,feel her breathing,her warmth.
   The dreams,when they come,are often of us just walking somewhere fun and new....Holland,Grand Haven,Chicago,Toronto...hand in hand,heart to heart,soul to soul. Just a reminder of what was and I hope to have again much sooner then later....I miss her terribly.

  I know we are supposed to blog new unpublished content but I am reposting this from my Notes on my Facebook. I am sharing this entry which I wrote about my cat Derek Jeter. Many of you know about our bond,many even got to see it and for the new readers who see his picture on my blog,well you can learn a little about him.




This was originally written 26 Jan 11.


 Its 11:34 am

As soooooooo many of you know,I have a cat. A 16 pound black and white domestic longhair/panther named Derek Jeter.I use him pretty much as my user picture because let's face it,he is a hella of a lot better looking then yours truly.

 Derek is a rescue..after my wife's beloved Geri crossed over after 19 years,it was agreed on that I would be able to get a cat. I hadn't had a cat of my own since owning a cat named Peanut eons ago....I had sort of adopted a lot of cats by proxy in San Jose...a fellow club pal named Chris Elliman used to have to tell all about his cat Sylvester. I used to invade my friend Pam Kelly's office every other Friday and we would spend an hour talking about the antics of her cats.  I wanted a cat as well but I was never home enough to seriously keep one. I was pretty much on the go,go,go...

  But now here in Michigan,I was finally able to get a cat for myself. We looked high and low for a suitable cat. Shelters,different animal groups and then one day,my wife said she found him. She emailed me a picture and when I got home,I was able to see him for the first time. He was living at the Cat Connection,a cat rescue group based in Royal Oak. As soon as I saw him,I was smitten...he had such a sweet yet curious look about him. And that beauty mark...

So we played phone tag with the Cat Connection,we wanted to adopt this cat...it was very nerve racking because it was last October and he was living in a shed with 6 other cats. Winter was coming and while the shed was safe and somewhat warm,still we wanted to get him home safe and with us.
  After 15 days,we were able to go over and meet "Loverboy" as he was then known as. He was very charming right away. While he was friendly enough,he hadn't been held much and wasn't used to it. He would tense up as soon as you picked him up. But he was very playful and we paid the 110.00 (I know,talk about a STEAL!!!!!!) adoption fee and off we went.

   The first thing we did was change his name to Derek Jeter. The 2nd thing was to see how he would interact with my wife's other cat,OSK (for Outside Side Kitty). I had a special place in my heart for OSK because he had overcome so much in his life,he had been abandoned by a former owner and lived in the woods behind my wife's house at the time.
Her mission to rescue OSK is a story all by itself and one to really make you cry...
 When I flew to meet my wife for the first time,I knew about her cats...when I told her I was part "cat whisperer" she laughed. Its true,I have been able to pet and talk about with about 99% of the cats I have met...except Michelle's Siamese which looking back was about 100% all feral and of course the infamous Phoenix,the cat of my friend Ellen. He still remains the meanest cat I have ever met. But other then that,I have been able to bond with just about every cat.
  But my wife said OSK was very shy and not people oriented. Her friends used to call him a "Ghost Cat" because while he in the house,you never saw him...
   So imagine my wife's surprise when she came home on the 9th day of my visit to see her "ghost" curled up on my chest sleeping away. I loved the OSK and any cat we brought in HAD to like the O,otherwise...it just wasn't going to work.
 Shortly after we brought Derek home,we moved. The move went smoothly except OSK now became a 100% indoor cat. I know,I hear all of you screaming "Hey...aren't you the all always screaming about cats being indoors all the time???" Yes,I am and I do....but as I said,OSK is a different tale and I had no control over his life. To this day,in the over 10 years I have had Derek and the 9 years we have had Ginger,they have never stepped outside ONCE.
  Derek liked to play with OSK but the O was 18 years old and didn't have much energy for a just out of kittenhood ball of fury. And Derek was a little rough,he would shoulder block the O and run away. When I caught him doing that,I returned the favor by doing the same....Derek loved it and that would trigger playtime. After we were done I would pick him up and talk with him. Each time I was able to hold him longer and longer. As the very first sign he was getting antsy,I would put him down.
    About 3 months after we got Derek,he woke me up by licking my head.I woke up and there he was,grooming me...over and over. Soon he started licking my arms and hands as well. But he never did to my wife. It was pretty weird and when we went to introduce Derek to Dr. Foss,we asked her about the behaviour,I thought maybe he was lacking salt in his diet...but Dr. Foss,after watching him lick my hands,said he merely saw me as a fellow cat and was indeed grooming me. She said he had chosen me as "his" human.

  My wife took to calling him "Licky",the first of many nicknames he was gotten over the years.
    Then one fateful day,my wife came home to find OSK on the floor very ill. We had no warning he had been feeling bad...she called Dr. Foss and despite it being 10 minutes to closing,Dr. Foss said she would wait...she had taken care of OSK his entire life. My wife scooped up the O and when he meowed weakly,for the first and only time,Derek hissed at a human,he was very upset at what was happening. She rushed the O in but time had caught up with the O and it was his time to meet God. After my wife said her good-byes and with Dr. Foss also crying,we let him go to reunite with Geri.
   Derek was pretty shaken,he walked the small apartment meowing for OSK. He and I walked the long hallway in our apartment until Derek flopped over and I would pick him up and walk back. It was a very sad time for all of us.
  I started noticing that when Derek flopped,he never attacked my hand when I petted his tummy. Normally a cat will show its tummy as a sign of ultimate trust but not always give you permission to touch it. Many of time I have seen owners see the tummy,start to pet it and get lit up for the trouble. Derek has never done that,it helps that just because he shows his tummy,I don't always pet it. I say "thank you,buddy" and pat him on his head.
  Derek is a pretty fearless cat and loves being with his family. He can be asleep in one room but when hears us talking in another,he'll come waltzing in and be like "What are you guys up to"? before curling up and looking at us. We noticed this and after waiting 20 minutes,would go into a another room and time him. Within 5 minutes,here comes Derek....with that same look.
    And his memory...one afternoon while walking the hall way,Derek spotted a spider in a corner,he then of course went over and promptly ate it. After that,everytime he went into the hall way,he would always go to that corner first. He never forgot his tasty snack...

  Derek's rise to fame started soon after we got him....3 months after we adopted him,the Cat Connection called us and told us that a local paper was doing a story about local rescues and that the CC had recommended us to them. I had to work but my wife took Derek down for a photo shoot and interview.  Once in a while I would take a picture of Derek with me when I worked. Dozens of people who either ask about him and/or share their animal stories.  I would get asked all the time about how Derek was doing and his latest adventures.
   Shortly before we moved,our apartment complex got hit with a mouse invasion...so imagine my shock when I was brushing my teeth when Derek came into the bathroom and stared at the trash can. Didn't move,didn't make a sound. I had never seen him sit like that so I said "Whats going on,buddy? Nothing in the trash can..." and as I picked it up,a mouse darted past me....he sprinted by us and made for the living room....Ginger and Derk both on its tail..Derek swatted at it and sent it cartwheeling across the room. I tossed a shoe at it and missed....it then ran towards me in the hallway...I managed to shut the bedroom door and kneeled before it,blocking it,it reversed course and headed for the kitchen,where Derek swatted it again....those swats took the air outta that mouse and a second later,it was all over. he had his first mouse kill. I took the bidy from him and buried it outside.

   Moving to our new house was really rough on both cats. Both hid in the basement for 3 days...normally I would have let them find their own way but see Derek crouched down really saddened me so I picked him up and sat with him in the den. I put him down,laid by him and talked sugar. After about an hour,we came over and rubbed noses with me. I petted him and he flopped and it was all good. Once Ginger saw Derek acting normal,she came upstairs as well.
   As you know,cats hate loud noises,our cats HATE the vacuum,you can simply touch it and they're both gone. We always give them time to escape,they both dash upstairs or if I'm upstairs,then down they go...
  But once again,Derek has surprised me. Now I always talk sugar to both cats when I get readdy to use the vaccum,to let them know to go to safety. But one day,Derek hung out on our bed. He didn't run...IF I gave him encouragement. So as I would clean,I would stop and tell him how good he was. And soon enough,he quit running when I was cleaning. Now he merely moves to another room and nevers runs. But some vacuums are louder then others so he does go upstairs if I'm using the Dyson. Hell,I can't blame him for that,that beast is loud indeed!
  Derek and I made it on the The Suze Orman Show. We watch Suze every week and our favorite segment is the "Can I Afford It ?". My wife and I wondered if we could afford to get a Scottish Fold kitten and so she emailed Suze our question. We didn't hear back,we thought with so many requests and so many different items,it just wasn't "sexy"enough. But a month went by and while I was at work,they repeated a earlier show. So I thought,what the hell,I'll try writing myself and so I did.
  3 days later I get a call from the Suze Orman Show and the producer loved my little note and asked me if I wanted to do it. What I had asked was for a infield partner for my cat,Derek Jeter. We did the paperwork and waited. After about 3 weeks...Suze called us and I asked her if I could afford a Scottish Fold 2nd baseman....she approved it and told me to hit a home run. Now you really don't get to chat with Suze before or afterwards,she is taping the show. Afterwards we waited and waited and waited some more. I had taped my call in July and we thought it would run in late August or so.
Imagine our surprise when the producer called and said we had made the Christmas show!!! So the show of Dec 2008,my call was on. It was very cute and a fun experience.
   But in the middle of 2009,the show called back...we were in the running for the best 3 calls of 2008! We were in shock because theere some seriously requests,cars,trips,robots....so we once again waited. The show called back and said we didn't make the cut but they wanted to know if we had spent the 1,000.00 needed to buy the kitten. Well,no...because we wouldn't buy a pure breed cat,we only get rescue cats and also because Derek is a one man cat. I'm his human and he is my cat...so I told show we saved the money and I was volunteering at the Humane Society.
Derek has many other celebrity friends,his favorite two are Kylie Ireland and Kelli Maroney,who often ask how he is doing and ask me to give him a pet for them.
   The Best Calls show came one....and while we didn't make the cut,we did make the most requested update segment!
It was pretty cool to say the least.
   Derek loves to play....he and I will play "spider fingers" where I'll make my hand walk like a spider and grab his back paws. He in turn will attempt to swat my hands. Its a pretty rare week where I don't have a small scratch on my hand. He is so fast! But he never,never tries to bite my hand. We play this game on the stairs,which explains why its covered with cat fur.
   He also is the master of the "flop". The flop? Oh yeah...when I follow him while he walks/runs around the house,he will roll on his right shoulder and show his tummy. But I don't grab his tummy,I go for his back paws and he'll flop back and forth while pushing with back paws and try and swat my hands. This is his 2nd favorite thing to do with me...his favorite is "talking".
  Other then in his carrier,Derek is a pretty quiet cat. He'll randomly meow once in a while...his "I'm here" meow. And when birds or rabbits cruise by,he'll make his hunting meow. But that is very rare and other then that,he is very quiet.
Until bedtime or making the bed. Then he and I will chat...he jumps on my bed and I look him in the eye,he'll go "meow" and I say "meow" back...trying to catch his tone. I do quite a bit as then we'll start meowing back and forth. Its goes anywhere from 15 minutes to 30 minutes and always ends up with me picking him up and holding him very close. He snuggles in my arms and I hold him quietly until he starts moving. I never hold Derek anymore then he wants and often will put him down even before he is ready...but that is important because when we first got him,he was very shy about being held. But on his own terms,he loves to be held and his fur brushed. In fact,saying the word "brush" brings Derek sprinting up the stairs. I groom him 1-3 times a week.
 Changing the bed is also a great deal of fun....Derek loves it. Trying to put a clean sheet/blanket is an adventure and drives my wife crazy. He loves diving under the covers and will pounce on a hand if he senses it.
  The last thing I'll share about Derek is his love for Burger King fries. Its the ONLY people food he likes other then tuna.
He'll eat about 3-5 fries and be so happy. We don't do BK very much but when we do,we always ask for 3-5 fries and explain our cat really likes them....more often then not,instead of 3-5 fries,we get a small order because the cashier will crack up about a french fry eating cat.

So that is my cat...he really is the best cat.


Derek stayed with me until 21 Sept 13. I was honored that he picked me to share his life's journey.



shout outs

Thanks to all of you who have started reading my blog.







12 comments:

  1. I'm touched by the respect you gave your beloved cat. Animals are so precious when they agree to share their lives with us. I remember all the cats I've loved and their endearing ways. Your pain will pass--like mine. Visiting from Blogger's Corner.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words. Derek was one of a kind,a true friend and so much fun. As far as the passing of the pain,consider I lost my wife and both cats in 5 months time. As I written before,it will never pass but I will endure.

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  2. What a beautiful post. Your cat is treated with kindness and love. :)

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    1. Yes and he treated me with the same....*s*

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  3. You have such a deep connection with your cat DJ. I used to read to my black cat named Olivia. She actually went nutso and attacked her tail so many times that we had to amputate most of it off. The only time she attacked me was after her surgery and she was in the cone. She used to drool and stick her tongue out... I miss her. Now I have an overgrown dog that thinks he's a lapdog. LOL

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    1. Attacking her tail so hard...I have seen kittens do that but never to that extent..and every cat owner gets at least one scratch during a lifetime....

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  4. I'm more of a dog guy, but I absolutely relate to the love of a pet. They really do become a part of the family, and they can provide a little comfort in tough times.

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    1. Derek was a rock for me after Lori passed,he really helped me hold on to my sanity,I think he saw I was going to hang on,he decided to go....I think he missed her as well.

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  5. Aww, what a wonderful cat. I have one too. Her name is Jessie (named after my father) and she's 16 years old now. I love her to pieces and will miss her when it's her time. I'm the only one that can handle her, although she lets my boyfriend handle her, if, and only if, it's her idea first. We have 2 large dogs as well, and she is THE BOSS. Now doubt about that. Thanks for sharing your cat's story with us. What a sweetie. :)

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    1. Thank you for allowing me to share it in your group...Jessie sounds like a ball of fun!

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  6. I'm so sorry to hear about your wife's passing! I cam imagine that it would be difficult to approach the anniversary of her death. May you be comforted by memories as the day gets closer! Thanks so much for visiting my blog. It was great to see you there!

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    1. thank you Anna....and I enjoyed my visit to your blog!

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