I’m an Aristophile

26 09 2010

You all know me as KJ, the lover of pugs. AKA, kjpugs. We got our first pug Oliver when I was a senior in high school (from my dad’s coworker who bred his pugs) and I never turned back.

Yes, a few gratuitous pictures of my first puggy love, Oliver. We only got just over four years with him and I miss him so much. He deserved to grow old with me.

But there is a side of KJ that you don’t know. A nerdy, cat-loving side. A side that actually went to cat shows in the Meadowlands. A side that knows a Manx from a Maine Coon from an Abyssinian. That’s right… I was (and still sort of am) an Aristophile.

Also, I quite possibly made that word up. I swear to you, in one of my nerdy cat books, it said that a lover of cats was known as an ‘Aristophile.’ Just like a lover of children is known as…. well, nevermind. But in google-searching I cannot find any proof of this being a real word. In any case, I’m using it, whether or not it’s true. Since when I was eight I used to tell people “Hello, I’m Kelly, and I’m an Aristophile.” So let’s not let eight year old KJ down, k?

When I was in first grade, my mom let us get a cat. Which was HUGE since my mom generally hates animals. I had named her Frau BlΓΌcher after a character in Young Frankenstein (my Dad cultured us early in everything Mel Brooks) and I decorated the cat’s “corner” in our dining room with pictures of little Frau wearing a pink bow in her hair, riding a bike, etc. I even remember the orange and pink shirt I was wearing that day as I ran home from the bus stop to see her.

Turns out, “Frau” was a boy. And my Mom named him Freckles. “And we can’t change it because I already told people.” Thanks Mom. (And thanks from FRECKLES too. I’m sure he enjoyed fifteen years of the least manly name ever.)

(My only digital photo of Freckles, from circa 2004 or 2005 when he was in his teens already, sitting on Bruce, my Corolla.)

Freckles and I had a bunch of great memories together. Like when I was trying to watch TV and would spray him with a water bottle for playing with my hair. Or when I’d force him in a cradle and pretend he was a baby. Or when I might’ve ran his tail over once or twice with my bike. Or how about that time when I asked the vet how they KNEW he was a boy (I was in denial) and he told me, “See? The pattern on his forehead makes an M!” I won’t tell you how long I believed that one.

Or the time when I was in Middle School that he almost died from a fight with an animal outside, and I found him in my sister’s closet crying with a chunk out of him. And I cried in the vet’s office until I found out they fixed him, and then diligently cleaned his drain (yes, he got a drain for his absess) and fed him medicine. I loved that cat. We were so close… he would never bite a soul, after years of putting up with me, he’d just lightly touch you with his teeth as if to say, “I could be biting you. Please stop.” He was the most precious baby.

At some point while I was still in elementary school, we got a second cat, Panther. My sister Min got to pick him out. She was ENORMOUSLY FAT as a child so she picked out the fattest cat of the litter “because he’ll get skinny, like me!” Nope. Panther did NOT get skinny. Panther weighed 40 pounds at his heaviest. Panther and I weren’t as tight as Freckles and I were, but we had some funny memories.

(And no, I don’t have any digital pictures of Panther, unfortunately.)

(But I do have this fantastic photo of the nametag I made for Sorority rush. It was supposed to be memorable and “about you,” so when they asked what it meant you could tell them. “I have a 40 pound cat” worked pretty well.)

Panther was so fat that he once broke our cat carrier in the middle of the vet’s office. Just fell out while my mom was in line. He probably had some sort of thyroid problem, since no diet ever made him lose weight, and he was too lazy to groom himself. We had to shave the parts of him he couldn’t reach to groom when he got super fat. Once, I woke up thinking I was dying, and realized Panther was just sitting on my chest. It literally took all my strength to get him off me.

The cats got really fed up when we got Oliver, and pretty much lived in the basement, where Oli wasn’t allowed. Right after getting Oliver I went off to college. The beginning of my freshman year, my dad passed away. So at that point, I knew we’d never have another cat again. (Remember, my mom + animals = notsomuch.) The beginning of my Junior year, I got a phone call. Classes hadn’t even started yet, and I’d only been down in North Carolina for about a week. Freckles had been sick- he was more than 15 years old- and he had been put him to sleep. I hadn’t been that upset since losing my dad. A year later (almost to the day) the same thing happened with Panther. Almost exactly a year after that, our pug Oliver lost his short battle with liver failure after being poisoned by the xylitol in some sugar-free gum that he found.

Months later, Big Daddy and I got our puggy girls. And then our puggy boy a year after that. But I still SORT OF have cats. Sort of.

My crazy neighbor does feral cat rescue. She has a cat pen, and feeds lots of ferals outside her house as well. Most of them are just mean cats that hide in our yard and then try to fight the pugs when they accidentally almost pee on them. (Which makes me nervous, because the cats all have claws, and let’s be honest, pugs lead with their eyeballs.)

But then there’s Helen.

I ADORE Helen.

I had a little photoshoot with her last weekend (she was laying on top of crazy neighbor’s 12 x 12 cat pen. I’m not kidding, it’s that big.)

Helen likes to hang out on our porch or sleep in the plants next to our steps. She loves being pet and ignores the pugs. (Wish I could say they do the same.) She is sweet and loving and absolutely brightens my days when I see her sitting outside our door.

So I kind of still have a cat. And kind of don’t. But I miss them!

Aristophile, OUT!

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18 responses

26 09 2010
Kelley

AWW I loved this post!! I’m not sure you know but I have a persian. The summer into my sophmore yr in college I was finally allowed to have a pet.He was my birthday gift:) We found freefall on pet finder. He was in trenton and by that time we already moved to NY. My sis and I drove to Trenton to pick him up. I just found the pet finder pic and blurb of him today. He was three when we got him. Poor thing. He shared a house with 10 other cats and 4 other dogs. That house was a mess! I wasnt sure how well he would deal with the ride home but we had a soft cat carrier and I opened the top and he sat there like a dog looking out the whole ride home. He was so cute sitting there:) Freefall is 10 now and I can’t wait till I get out of school, get my own place and get the chance to actually spend more than a few days/weeks at a time with him.
Kelley

26 09 2010
Ashley

Aww…love the story of Freckles. I remember you mentioning him when we got ours, but I never heard the story. What a cutie

26 09 2010
Layla

I totally had a corolla named Yoda. And I also totally had a cat for 17 years named Freck. I miss her SO much. She did have a thyroid problem and that’s what eventually killed her. 😦

26 09 2010
Christina

I love the word Aristophile, haha! Your kitty Freckles reminds me of my family’s first cat, Kitty. Yeah, my parents were creative. Anyway, he was the sweetest thing. I used to dress him up too. He died about 5 years ago of old age (he was 16). I still miss him!

Now we have 2 of our own, and my husband thinks they’re his children. Not even kidding!

26 09 2010
EmilyB

I can’t believe you actually went to cat shows. I saw an ad for a local cat show but I literally had to say to myself, “Emily! No.”

I think my favorite part of this post is the story about how you thought you were dying but it was just your 40lb cat. And how he was too lazy to groom himself. My cats may be large, but they are OBSESSIVE cleaners (and hock up the hairballs to prove it.)

In not-so-related news, this weekend I was at a little get together and this really nice girl told me they’re going to start breeding their male dog. I told her I was a big adoption advocate (and she admitted this was more her husband’s thing than hers.) I was really proud of myself that I spoke up against breeding. Thought of you:)

26 09 2010
Jessica

My brain kept pronouncing Aristophile wrong. I’m glad you cleared it up for me by comparing it to a child lover. Hahaha. Oh, and cat shows?! Did you know people put whisker extensions on their pets?

Our neighbor has a ton of barn cats that Bodie likes to chase. I say whatever, at least he’s getting exercise, right?

26 09 2010
Hannah

When we got Tebow they kept trying to give us a free cat. Like continuously. Pete refused though.
Damn Pete.

27 09 2010
Maria

I didn’t know you were an ailurophile :P! (Maybe the whole aristo-thing came about during a re-release of The Aristocats, (it’s cool tho, I make up words all the frickin’ time.) In any case, this post made me smile the whole way through so thanks for sharing πŸ˜€

27 09 2010
Melissa

We had a cat that sounds similar to your Freckles… her name was Fluffy ( I’m real creative too). She would do the same thing with biting your finger just enough to let you know she could bite if she wanted to.

There are times I think about her and miss her. she died from a thyroid problem but she had the opposite problem of not being able to keep weight on.

27 09 2010
Cindy G.

What a great post! Helen is just an adorable cat πŸ™‚

I had lots of cats growing up – we lived out in the country and I think at one point there were 25 cats living inside and outside (there were several feral cats that we fed).

We currently have 3 cats in addition to the pugs and I don’t know what I would do without them πŸ™‚

27 09 2010
Steph C.

My childhood cat was fat and nasty. I originally named him Ongey (ah-ngy) because he was an orange tabby and Ongey is orange-y without the R.. it made sense when I was 9. Then I renamed him Simba after I saw the Lion King a few months later, so he may have had an identity crisis along the way.

Also, Helen reminds me how every time I see a cat, I want it. We were at PetSmart yesterday and they had all the cats and kittens up for adoption displayed in their cages.. it was so sad and I had to have my FH literally drag me away bc I almost adopted all of them.

27 09 2010
Jenell

We have one cat in the neighborhood, it runs whenever I try to pet it. Not a whole pet rescue, I’m glad you are so pro-adoption! If I ever get to have a dog we are def. going to the pound! We visit there every few weekends and my heart always breaks.

27 09 2010
Steph

I didn’t know you were a cat lover! We had one cat growing up, Rocky. I loved him. He loved sitting on my brothers brand new Camero Z-28 and thus just as quickly as my brother brought Rocky home, he found Rocky a new home. My dad is NOT a cat person at all and we never had another, just dogs from that point. RCW and I tried to save a cat once that adopted us, even spending hundreds of dollars at the vet on medicine and testing and shots, but alas, she was too set in her ways and could not learn to get along with Dallas. We had to give her to the no kill shelter, it broke my heart. We’ve talked about getting cats again, RCW isn’t a big cat fan, but maybe one day.

27 09 2010
Brandi

Kitty love!!! I’m so broken. I know I’m going to be a crazy cat lady, I just can’t help it. I would totally have a kitty pen in my backyard if we were homeowners. Are there going to be any Aristophiles Anonymous meetings coming up that I should attend?

27 09 2010
DancyNY

I’m with you – I too am a dog lover but I have a cat. Truth be told, they’re just easier to take care of. We can go away for the weekend, leave her plenty of toys to play with, a window seat to bask in & plenty of food and she’s set. I kinda dig that. πŸ˜‰

27 09 2010
Mina

i had not idea what a big cat lover you are! i love the relationship you had with freckles, that sounded very sweet.

27 09 2010
smtty

It’s official. You’ve gone to the dark side!

PS-I finally switched to WordPress! smtty.wordpress.com

1 10 2010
shelikesruffles

Oh my goodness, your sorority rush nametag!!! Ahhhhhhh! How cute is that?!?! I still have mine too – it was the shape of a ladybug because everyone always used to call me Katie Bug…it had googly eyes and pipe cleaner antennae. Blast from the past….

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