For a solid decade I felt pretty certain I’d evolve into one of those crazy cat ladies you hear about in the news, just me and my two sweet cats for ever more. A number of guys I dated during that period either didn’t like cats or were allergic to cats. One I nicknamed ‘Allergic Guy.’ He was allergic to all sorts of things, including cats. Three weeks into dating he said, “You’ll need to make a decision soon about the cats.” Decision made. Cats stayed. Allergic Guy didn’t.
When I met Big Papa and met, I found out he had a cat named Cleo. He got
several extra Brownie points right on the spot. Sadly, she passed away suddenly and unexpectedly three weeks into our relationship. We buried Cleo together in the backyard and planted a lovely Bleeding Heart plant where she lies.
After we’d dated a couple months, I started to bring my cats over for “weekend camping” at the Urban Cabin. I’d pack up their cat food, medicine (one was diabetic and the other has a digestive tract ailment), stick the cats in the kitty carrier and off we went. Mr. Madison took to the adventure right away. For one, the Urban Cabin has a fenced backyard. Maddie loved the outdoors and hadn’t been able to enjoy it for the decade we were in my apartment on a busy street. The first weekend I brought him over, we opened the back door. Out he went and out he stayed for most of the weekend. He gave the paws up signal on the yard and Big Papa pretty quickly.
Miss Magnolia was another story. She spent the first weekend under the bed, clearly disturbed, emerging only at night to meow loudly back and forth through the rooms like a ghost clanking its chains in the silence of a haunted house. The outdoors held many unknown terrors for Maggie and, when she did go out, she usually retreated to the perceived safety of a bush or hid under the deck.
Both Madison and Maggie took immediately to Big Papa. I knew Big Papa was a keeper when, on their first night over, Maddie crawled under the covers and set up camp lodged snugly between us. It didn’t seem to throw Big Papa and I thought it was a magnanimous act on his part. Madison always called first dibs on Big Papa’s office chair. If Big Papa stood up for even just a moment, Maddie was there in a flash. In the morning, they’d check email, Maddie draped languidly over Big Papa’s arms in the living room chair. He’d follow Big Papa around in the garden, stopping here and there to check out a plant.
When Madison passed away at the ripe old age of nearly eighteen, I was devastated. Big Papa was at my side and took the day off to console me. Madison had been my buddy for nearly a third of my life. I miss him dearly and Big Papa and I still wonder WWMD (What Would Madison Do) when certain scenarios crop up in our lives.
Over time, Maggie grew more comfortable the house and the backyard. After Madison died, she acquired rule of the roost, and really seemed to come into her own at the ripe old age of thirteen. She too looks to Big Papa for comfort. He’s a talented head scritcher and a suitable Barcalounger when she wants to watch a movie or snooze at night. She seems to love nothing more than to stretch to her greatest length along Big Papa’s legs.
Big Papa’s roll with it ease and generosity of spirit are two of the traits I fell in love with. He’s takes good care of us. We eat great food and fall to sleep with the Urban Cabin’s cozy roof over our heads. These are just a few of the reasons I know he’ll be a heckuva Dad when the time comes. Mr. Madison, Miss Magnolia and I were a lucky trio, to be sure, when Big Papa came into our lives.