Thursday, August 02, 2007

Follow the Yellow Thread

Cousin Robert pointed out that I probably should not advertise my purty yellow cat, lest a cat burglar sneak in and spirit him off. Someone with yellow cat fever, like his mom maybe.

Weird how genetics work, isn't it? There's a strong pull toward yellow tomcats that pops up here and there in the Hodge line. My grandfather had it bad. At least one aunt and one uncle has it bad. My mother got hit with the fever and passed it along to both her kids. What is it about yellow tomcats?

Mother had a yellow cat when she was young, named Buff. She still remembers him as the greatest cat of her youth and would probably call it a draw between him and Zonker for the best cat of her life. Buff would meet her bus everyday at the end of the road and ride back to the house on her books. He was undeniably her cat.


We have had several yellow tomcats over the course of my life and Zonker holds the position of top cat for me so far. Boo may make it up to his equal if he hangs around long enough, but nobody could top Zonker for all around good cat karma.

That Zonker. He lived 18 years and he was one of the rare cats who loved everybody in the family equally. Even got along with all the dogs. He moved from bed to bed in a regular cycle, sleeping with each of us for several nights before moving on to the next, spreading his attention around so no one got their feelings hurt.

Zonker would wait in the front yard in the evenings until everyone made it in. David and I both would have late nights in those days and Zonker would wait patiently until whoever was still out made it back in and then go in with the latecomer for what was left of the night.


Zonker was named for the character in Doonesbury, but he made the name his own and I rarely remember that little bit of trivia. When he arrived, a gift from one of my mother's students, we thought for a day or two we had made a hideous mistake. He was a ball of yellow fluff with a big voice and he had spent some time surviving in the midst of horses. He was a bundle of nerves and told us of his fears and worries at the top of his lungs. But he settled down, recognized he had found his true home, and adopted all of us with all of his big heart. It was a mighty sad day for us when old age finally caught up with him.

The house would not feel right if there weren't a yellow tomcat in residence. When I heard Boo was available for adoption, I said yes without hesitation, even though I had sworn I was not taking in any more cats for awhile. You just don't say no to the chance to bring a yellow tomcat into your life.

I wonder how far back this proclivity for yellow tomcats goes? I'm betting the cat in this picture of my grandfather Hodge is a yellow tom.

Horace Hodge with unknown cat

What do you bet?

Who needs DNA to prove heritage? I have yellow cat fever. I'm definitely a Hodge.


No comments: