Monday, August 2, 2010

Wee Willie: A Little Backtracking

After my dad’s recent death, I was looking at some old photos to select for what would be incorporated into a slide show as part of his memorial service a week and a half ago. There were some photos I had only seen once or twice in the last 30 years or so, especially the photos my dad had made into 35mm slides. One thing I noticed is that there were many photos of cats, much more than we had of the plain old photos I found in our old albums. Since I had the time available, I bought a special scanner so I could scan all of our old 35mm slides into the computer. Over all, there were about 650 slides we have that I scanned into the computer in the last week.

One photo I saw was of a black and white cat. I can’t remember his name. My mom said it was Wee Willie, but for some reason, that doesn’t sound right, but for the sake of this story, I will call this cat Wee Willie. Sure, we had a cat named Wee Willie, but I’m not sure if that was the name of the cat this story is about. Anyway, Wee Willie had a few marks of distinction that no other cats of ours had. First, Wee Willie was an outdoor cat that transitioned to an indoor cat. In an earlier entry, I noted that very few of our numerous cats were allowed indoors. The ‘indoor cats’ could go in and out of the house, but the ‘outdoor cats’ exclusively stayed outside. The outdoor cats were fed on the porch and often hung around the front yard. They were friendly often times, loved to be petted but they almost never wanted to go inside. You could even hold the door wide open for them and they had no desire to go in. We also rarely named the outdoor cats. We had so many, and they came and went so often that it was hard to keep track of them.

I forgot who Wee Willie’s parents were, but I remember he was a particularly sweet cat. On colder days, he would hang around in the utility room at the back of the house since it was a little warmer than the outdoors in the winter. I would go to the utility room to play with and love him. He was such a loving cat that I convinced my parents to let Wee Willie have a shot at being an indoor cat. My parents went for it so Wee Willie made his way in. He was one of the few cats to make the conversion from an outdoor cat to an indoor one. He made the transition quite well. And by a successful conversion, I mean he got along with everyone in the house, and he didn’t tear up the furniture or use the bathroom in the house. Furthermore, since this cat officially became an indoor cat, he was entitled to having a name, and that name was Wee Willie. How we gave him that name, I have not a clue. As I’ve said before, my parents gave our pets some strange and weird names.

The most odd feature about this cat, and I guess it was an extension of his being such a sweet and loving cat, was that he would lick our faces. We have had some loyal and loving cats. These cats would love to be petted, and they would rub themselves against our bodies and would lie as close as they could to us and press their bodies tightly against ours. But unlike dogs, cats don’t like to lick people or as I say ‘kissy’ like dogs do. I can’t begin to explain why since I am no expert on animal behavior.

Wee Willie loved to sniff our faces and lick us as well. I don’t know what prompted me to let Wee Willie to do this but I opened my mouth one time when he was licking me and damned if he didn’t stick his head in there. Not only that, but he actually tried to lick inside my mouth as well! I didn’t tell anyone of this since this was a secret I thought I should have kept to myself. However, after Wee Willie transitioned to inside the house, he would lick my dad’s face and just like Wee Willie had done with me, the cat stuck its head in my dad’s mouth. I don’t know how the subject of a cat-sticking-its-head-in-the-mouth subject was broached, but it was. How awkward was that conversation!

Wee Willie eventually died, how I don’t know. Many of our cats would quietly walk away into the woods when they were ill never to be seen again. I guess it was not in their nature to show weakness to us when they became sick. I suppose Wee Willie vanished just like many other of our cats had. He distinguished himself because he was so sweet, made it into the house after he had been cast as an outdoor cat, and most oddly he would lick our faces and stick his head in our mouths. Now that was trust if I’ve ever seen it!

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