My husband told me I should write about some of my family’s pet stories. I think he said this because they are such awesome stories. There is also a distinct possibility that he just wanted me to tell someone else about them, because he was sick to death of hearing the same couple of stories from my childhood.
I am hoping that you will think, “Ha ha, that is so amusing!” instead of, “I hope that the local chapter of animal CPS picks these people up right away!” I will admit that many of my stories involve either animals wearing clothing or animals humiliating themselves, or possibly some combination of the two. To defend myself, I was a young child when I dressed up my animals. Mostly.
When I was in elementary school somewhere, my brother went on a walk out to the mile point with my mom. We lived in Corral de Tierra, a valley between Monterey and Salinas, so it was fairly rural. If you walked out to a point a mile beyond our house, you reached a lot of bushes, deer, and…kittens? Somehow they found a kitten in the bushes. I am not clear on how she got there, whether she wandered away or if someone had driven out there to abandon her.
Needless to say, we were all pretty excited. She was a beautiful little gray-striped kitten. Somewhere in the neighborhood of a couple of months old. We put her in the bathroom and she hid behind the toilet.
We already had a cat, a several-year-old curmudgeon named Smutty. Yes, that was his name, and yes, it is possible that is why he was a curmudgeon. We weren’t worried, though, since the new kitten was a girl—he would surely like her.
Smutty the Curmudgeon
My brother, having found the kitten, got to choose the name. I was probably hoping for “Cindy,” since I named just about everything Cindy for a while. But Dennis went with Darryl. He figured if the kitten were a boy, it would be named after Larry, Darryl, and Darryl in Newhart, and if it were a girl, it would be named after Daryl Hannah. You must be a person of a certain age range to know who these people are.
If the kitten had been a boy, I might have been OK with it. Since the kitten was a girl, I was pretty miffed about the name. But it was only fair that Dennis got to pick.
Surprisingly, Smutty hated Darryl and tried to pick her off every chance he got. He would hide around corners and come pouncing out. He would chase her away from us. We were confused and appalled.
One day, I came out of my room, which was located off a balcony overlooking the living room. I found Darryl hanging off the balcony, like Orphan Annie on the railway bridge, while Smutty basically stomped on her toes, trying to make her fall.
Adult Darryl Looking Down at the Scene of the Crime
Things became a little more clear a few months later, when my mom was reading a book on the couch. Darryl jumped on the back of the couch, stepped over her head, and started to walk down her body. Darryl was about six months old. Which apparently is when male cats grow balls. Because Darryl was a boy, to my mom’s surprise.
We felt a little blaming and angry for a while, like the kitten had cheated us by morphing into a male. We had been so attached to our sweet little girl kitty. Eventually, however, we forgave him for his betrayal.
I guess it was a good thing about that name after all. Princess Cindy the Boy just doesn’t have the right ring to it.
What is your favorite animal story? I’m looking for a little validation here that other families have weird pet stories.