Acquired: Other (stray, given cat by friend etc.)
Posted Jun 05, 2015
It sure has been a long time since I wrote anything about my good buddy Whitey, but he was a cat that followed me throughout my late teenage years until well into my thirties. We spent 20 good years together, and I am glad we journeyed through some of the most amazing times in my life as genuine friends. To go back in the time machine, I remember clearly that my friend was driving me home. We were both eighteen years old at the time, just starting out from high school, so we had some free time to explore life and hang out a little late at night. We saw a small black and white cat sitting in the middle of the road, and stopped to see if it was okay. Since he seemed fine, we assumed he belonged to someone in the neighborhood and shooed him into a yard. My friend dropped me off, and I didn't think much more about it. She called me about 5 minutes later, telling me the cat was back in the middle of the street again. What should we do? I told her to come back, pick me up and we'd figure it out. Her family already had five cats, and it wasn't feasible for them to take another one in. I decided I could take him on since I didn't have any pets at the time. As soon as I got out of the car, I went over to him and picked him up. He showed no fear and settled next to my feet for the ride back home. He was hungry and dirty. Turned out he was not black and white, but only extremely dirty. Once I wiped him down, it turned out that he was pure white everywhere. He did not hesitate to gulp down a good bowl of chow, jump on the bed and go straight to sleep. What made Whitey different was not just being solid white, but he was completely deaf and had been injured by someone cruel who left a pink slash across his neck. This injury was taken care of at the vet the next day, but the hearing problem was something I noticed with a little more time spent with him. He did not react to any loud noises, or calling him. Did not wake up if a door slammed. He could feel vibrations if the source of the sound was close to him, but he would always look around like he was confused, and he never moved his ears in the direction of sound.
Whitey was very vocal though. He acknowledged people when they came in, especially because he was used to schedules. He certainly knew to come hunting you down for refreshing the food and water bowls, and he sometimes wandered around howling if he felt like he just wanted some attention. I moved approximately 6 times in the years I had him, and he was fine with car travel, He did not need a carrier, and would curl up on the floor or in a seat. The only table scraps he ever cared for were very plain pieces of chicken, usually boiled. Other than that, he only ate dry cat food and rarely wanted anything to do with wet varieties. Many cats like to play, but Whitey was rather reserved with toys. He didn't really care about catnip, and didn't go for the regular toys other cats seem to enjoy. There was one strange thing that did keep him active, and this was the light from a flashlight. I discovered his fascination with flashlights purely by accident, after a spell of no electricity after Hurricane Andrew blew through in Miami. He simply began chasing the beam of light, so after that, I used it as his entertainment, and no matter how old he got, this was his favorite game. Wherever you trained the light, he'd stalk it, jump on it, and chase it around until he was thoroughly worn out.
Whitey was my loyal and faithful friend through the good and bad times of growing from teenager to well into adulthood. He always kept his docile, loving nature and was a wonderful companion. Twenty years is a long time, but cats can attain that age with good health, nutrition, and lots of love. Unfortunately, he passed away in the mid 2000's, a combination of old age and an irreversible stomach ailment. Sharing this story has brought back some great memories, and hopefully will inspire others to take in a lost kitten that might bring them years of comfort and happiness.