You would think that with six cats between us, Melissa and I would be kept plenty busy, kitty-wise. Nonetheless, we always have room in our hearts for more. Our most-beloved-ever not-our-own cat was Jeffrey, who lived next door to Melissa.
We first met him when he was a bright-orange wisp of a thing, small enough to sit on one’s hand and already out and about winning over the neighborhood. The first time I spotted him, one gloomy Sunday morning, I joined him on the front walk for a nice long cuddle. He hurled himself into my arms and immediately began trying to nurse at the inside of my elbow, purring and kneading and leaving the cutest little kitten-hickey ever.
Jeffrey had many fans and would drop in for a visit at several apartments in the complex, including Melissa’s. He was a regular topic of conversation among the neighbors, and his people would joke that he’d been seen the inside of many more apartments than they had.
You can see why everyone fell for him so easily…
When he dropped in at Melissa’s for a visit, his first stop was alwaysâ€”but, of courseâ€”the food dishes. He would unblushingly claim he hadn’t eaten in days, even when he still had kibble-crumbs on his chin from his latest snack. This gave Archy, Maggie, and Damian a chance to circle round him and sniff his buttâ€”which apparently was the most fascinating derriere ever. With his bushy tail and his indoor-outdoor lifestyle, his hind end was full of info, info, info.
Interestingly, Melissa’s cats didn’t mind his presence.
He was as welcome among local felines as he was among the human neighbors. Damian, in particular, was always eager to have him stop by.
He and Damian played chase the light…
… and Hide-and-Go-Seek.
He also loved climbing up on top of Melissa’s art storage racks for a long, long nap. (Apparently it is exhausting being the cat with the most interesting butt in the world.) Sometimes he’d join us for a slumber party. Lucky for us, his people were quite generous about sharing him.
Melissa and I spent many an hour cooking up special names for him, imagining his adventures and feats of daring-do, and composing songs in his honor. We didn’t just call him Jeffreyâ€”we called him Geophfferei LaPlume DeMaTante. We imagined him trying to spell his own name: G-E-O-P-H-F-F-F-F-F–WHEE!!!
Sadly, Jeffrey disappeared during the fall of ’06, while Melissa was hiking across Spain. When she returned, we helped look for him, hanging signs and canvassing the neighborhoodâ€”but without luck.
Sometimes I imagine he is still out there: he just wandered into some particularly luxurious home, was offered a plate of caviar and decided to stop his gadding about. Other times I imagine him curled up in cat heaven, keeping Woody company until Sparky and I get there.
And the Next Doors? They had a new arrival this past month.
Meet Chester. He’s an indoor cat, so we probably won’t see as much of him, but that will no doubt be better for his health and safety over the long haul.