Sunday, December 3, 2006

Fred is the cat who has lived with us the longest, joining our household in the early winter of 1990. He is an easy-going, friendly cat who enjoys being with people. He has to be at least seventeen years old--possibly as old as nineteen. At this point in his life, he is a skinny old man of a cat, wiry and spry. He has a notch on one ear, a last souvenier from Wild Red, the feral cat who fathered Frieda and Cissy and who used to make life interesting for Fred back in the days when he was allowed free access to the outdoors.


Now Fred's world has shrunk to the shop and the second-floor mezzanine, which he shares with Twitch and occasionally Cissy. He spends most of his time napping in the laundry baskets or on the spare bed. With his advanced age, he carries a feline dignity that spares him from the petty byzantine bickering of cat society. Where he was once a target for casual abuse by the other cats, time has mellowed their attitude toward him and he can pretty much do as he pleases and go where he wants.


He still enjoys sitting in the outside cat run and watching the world go by. I doubt he recalls the winter he lived in the forest behind our house and only came to us for food and affection. The year after he came to live with us, Demi showed up and her kittens were born here. Every other cat who joined our family found Fred here first, ready to accept them into our household without prejudice or rancor.


In the sunset years of his life, we appreciate his love and unfailing good-humor and are glad that fate brought him, an abandoned young cat to our door so many years ago.

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