October 31st 2007 11:27 am
[ Leave A Comment | 1 person already has ]
Just 8 years--that's how short our time with Baxter was. He came home with mama from the Clinic for the 4th of July, 1999 as a foster kitty. The foster failed but his adoption was a success.
It took several months for Baxter to accept us as his new family. Until he did, he practiced his flat kitty impression on the arm of the couch. Head down, legs a-sprawl. We loved him so much.
His first act of authority upon entering his new home that summer day was to go directly to the back patio door and hiss & growl at Spike Ellington. Baxter did NOT like dogs! He never did develop a love relationship with Spike or Scout. He just came to grudgingly accept their existence. One of his favorite things to do was to commandeer Scout's crate. Baxter would hold his ground forcing Scout Dog to lay outside the crate until he (Baxter) was good and ready to vacate the crate.
Once he was comfortably established in our home, Baxter & I became partners in mischief. We were always up to something. Planning & executing funny events.
Opening cabinet doors & hiding inside (door closed again so as not to give away our hiding place). We could remove glass bottles from cabinets (to allow more room for sitting), moving the bottles to a tile floor while they remained upright & never breaking a bottle. We were polite to one another, one of us would hold open the door until the other got inside. Eventually when Derby joined our family it became a three-some event. And sometimes we would form a line at the cabinet. One cat IN - two cats waiting in line. We would politely take turns going alone into the cabinet, sitting awhile, then coming out & letting the next kitty in. Mama called it her parade. She always wondered what went on in that cabinet AND in our imaginations.
Then there was The Great Escape Caper: Baxter standing tall on his back feet to open the front door. One time, discovered & caught immediately. The second (& final) time, undetected for several minutes, Baxter & I were found by mama traveling across the driveway & into our neighbor's yard. When mama called our names, I stopped. Baxter turned, looked at mama with a cool appraisal & just kept walking. We got in trouble, but it was worth it!! When that escape hatch was permanently closed Baxter learned to let us into the garage for our adventures. That, too came to an end when mama discovered our new club house.
Baxter loved our daddy beyond all reason. He followed daddy everywhere--lay beside daddy as much as possible, adored being combed by daddy. Heaven forbid daddy would leave for work: Baxter would watch him go from the front door, wait till daddy's van turned the corner & then Baxter would cry & cry & cry & cry. Sometimes I would bop him on the head. Sometimes mama would say "Baxter, daddy WILL be back." Baxter would continue to paw at the door. Finally his love of eating would draw him back to his breakfast bowl. He would repeat the routine daily. When daddy came home at night Baxter would RUN to greet him. Never was there a happier cat.
Eight years? Not near enough time to share with such a great cat.
Baxter's happiest times were spent outside with his daddy. He had a collar for every holiday & he would show it off proudly when you asked him, "Baxter, let's see your new collar". Daddy would attach Baxter's leash & off they would walk. Around the yard, down the driveway, two houses over to Kathy's, across to the island. Each walk had to end with daddy lifting Baxter to the cedar tree branch for a required sniffing. And great protests were proclaimed when Baxter re-entered the house. Beware any other cat (or human) standing in his way.
Sonic runs were a favorite activity too. Handsome collar, secure leash & off to Sonic Baxter would ride with mama & daddy. He would look out the van windows with great interest, lay on the dash board & demand adoration from the carhop.
Halfway through Baxter's time with us, a tiny 9 ounce Henry K. Derby joined our family. Nothing was sweeter than watching 20 pound Baxter play with, teach & love the 1 pound Derby. Baxter was watchful, instructive, playful & gentle with our Bottle Baby Bruvver. Their wrestling matches became increasingly "Tough Cat" as Derby's size grew & grew.
The great love of Baxter's life was his adopted older sisfur, Cagney. Her petite frame was over-shadowed by his great size. But she never let him forget she had the upper paw. Each night at bedtime Baxter would curl up on the corner of the bed and each night, without fail, Cagney would jump next to him, stalk him, tease him & pretend to love him. THEN head butt him right onto the wood floor. EVERY NIGHT. And he still looked at her with such love & devotion.
Eight years? It's all we had with our ROY BAXTER Baxter Boy The Cat So Nice We Named Him Twice.
Everyone who ever met Baxter loved him, admired him, remembered him. The rest of us were referred to as "all your cats", but Baxter? People asked about him by name. And the rest of us understood.
His markings & colorings were purr-fect & wild. His size gave him the look of a wildcat. His tail was long & thick & beautiful. His eyes were so green & the dots on his muzzle -- purrfect. His big, big back paws were covered in black velvet. Yet underneath his giant exterior was a sweet, loving kitten.
Baxter was only 11 when he left us. Too young to go
We only had 8 of his years. It wasn't enough.