pretty pointy

Gandalf was our cat, our four-legged man’s man, a hunter whose primary prey was the leaf. You’d hear him trumpeting as he moved unhurried through the woods or down the street, or you’d hear him right outside one of the doors, and there he’d be, with a huge leaf in his mouth, that he would triumphantly lay at your feet.

He was a fine, fine cat.

When I was out of town, he was the man of the house. Sometimes he stayed with Jane in our bedroom for the night. Cinder, the dog who sleeps near our bed and is very protective about her space, would allow it. It was Gandalf, just doing his job.

His nickname was Pointy – Gandalf was so formal. But he really could be pointy at times, especially when he wanted something. He’d follow you around the house, herding you, and he’d get up on his hind legs, looking very much like a sloth, and start kneading your leg. So yes, he could be pointy. Plus, he responded to “Pointy,” when you called him. Every time you said “Pointy” to him, he’d meow in response.

Sometimes when he meowed, no sound would come out him at first. It was like, his mouth would open, and a few seconds later the meow would come, like he was throwing his voice, or somehow managed to slow down the speed of sound. And he had this stare he’d give you, part stoned, part smoldering, and somewhat dangerous looking.

He couldn’t hide worth a damn outside with all of that white, unless it was snowing, and I’d see him everywhere around the neighborhood, as if there were two or three of him. But there was only one totally honky cat on this street. Gandalf. He moved mysteriously and got around a lot, and now that he’s gone, I still see him.

Outside around the corner of the house I saw him this morning – but it was just a white plastic rain catchment jug. On the comfy chair in the basement – but it was a rolled up white pillow. That lump under the quilt draping the back of the couch, one of his favorite places – but no, it’s an orphan shoe. Can’t be him. He’s buried outside, and he’s covered by a mound of rocks, died yesterday after 13 years with us.

He was always good natured, always gentle with our son – pointy only with us, never with the boy.

You can see his most prominent physical feature, his fabulous white hair, all over the house. There’s a bunch of it on my office chair. There is every morning. Most days, I had to move him out so I could move in. Then I’d wipe his fur off the chair and dive into the cyber salt mines to do my job.

Today, I’m not gonna touch those white hairs. And if you see me around the Valley with white hairs stuck to my back and rear end, you’re seeing what’s visibly left of Gandalf, aka Pointy. I wear him proudly.

For a dog person, I sure did love that cat.

4 thoughts on “Pointy

  1. Nice tribute, Jerry. Our new kitten, Scout, who is now 6 months old, has been sick (we have four cats and two dogs, but she just now happens to be my favorite, a really smart, constantly purring tortoise-shell we saved from stepping in front of a semi when she looked like a hairless gremlin) and is contained to the master bath, taking antibiotics but still purring away. She can’t wait to go chase leaves and have another 14 years. Sorry for your loss, I have been through it many times but it always feels unique.

  2. poignant and beautifully written tribute, jerry.
    i am a dog person who realized i had been cat-napped when finnegan the cat died in august after 17 years here on the farm and even now, i see him, hear him, watch for him…
    i cried at these words: ‘He was always good natured, always gentle with our son – pointy only with us, never with the boy.’
    the amazing wisdom animals have. thank you for sharing the story with us. my condolences on your loss.

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