STRETCHIE (our Lion) MEMORIAL PAGE
~1988 to December 5, 2005
Stretch came into our lives in 1992 after Taz died of leukemia. We went to the MSPCA and picked him out because he looked mildly retarded and we have a soft spot for wacky cats. He had been left abandoned in an apartment and nobody really knew his age. We figured it was at least 2 years as he was full grown, but it could have been more. For convenience, we assume he was born the same year as Brandon, or 1988. In any case, his previous owners had declawed him and he was suffering from a cold. The MSPCA would have put him down within a few days so that he wouldn't infect the other animals. We rescued him and took him home. Stretch was a natural name because of his inclination to stretch at any given time.
I recall when Stretch first met Brandon. He really made an effort to play with him. I always felt like he thought it was his duty to befriend the humans and the animals in the house. With every other animal that we brought in over the years - Starburst, Bella, Sabrina, Skittle, Scully, Sly, and Shakespeare - Stretch was always the first to offer friendship. Other cats would hiss at the newcomer, but Stretch would very slowly approach the new critter, sniff, effectively say hello, and walk away, and, in many cases, he would attempt to play.
July 7, 1998
my favorite rug!
don't you guys know that three's a crowd???
Initially, Stretch cowered a little when we tried to pet him, which gave us an indication that he was mistreated by his previous owners. However, he soon lost that trait and became comfortable in his new home. In fact, he quickly became the King! Nobody ever messed with Stretch. Always a little skinny, probably because of his habit of pacing all day long (most cats are supposed to sleep 18 hours a day; for Stretch it was probably more like 6), he never weighed more than 11 pounds. And without claws, he certainly didn't have the attributes of a fearsome tomcat. But what he lacked in physique, he made up for in ATTITUDE! Dominance was established by not taking crap from anyone and by leaving his poops for the other cats to cover up. :^)
I remember a time that the neighbors kids were in the house. Stretch was on the steps and they were teasing him a little bit. He got pissed, held his ground and went after them. He quickly established himself as the alpha cat in the house, although, admitedly, Nikki, initially the only other animal, was pretty much of a wimp. Even when Shakespeare came into the home, Stretch quickly showed him who was boss. Once, when a full-grown 90-pound Shakespeare was barking too much, Stretch walked right up to him and wacked him in the head. Shakey always showed Stretch respect, gave him the right of way, walked around him, and waited for Stretch to finish drinking HIS water. In fact, whenever Stretch wanted to go somewhere, he just walked straight there leaving the others to get out of his way. Even Brandon got bullied by Stretch at a young age. Brandon was 4 or 5 and was trying to play with him. He got him cornered. Stretch reared up and jumped at Brandon wacking him on each side of the head with both paws. His lack of claws always made for interesting fighting technique. He boxed rather than swatted. The one animal that Stretch respected was Sly - I would say that they had mutual respect for each other. When Sly was dying of bone cancer, Stretch showed his soft side, going over to Sly and giving him a gentle and compassionate head nudge. When Stretch was dying, we saw Scully do the same thing to him.
Over the years, Stretch kept us very entertained. Every evening he would pace through the house like a lion, following the same path over and over and over. Sometimes he entered a room and looked as if it was the first time he had seen it, and we joked that he was "discovering" the room. He didn't like to step on rugs and would go out of his way to walk around them. However, he did really enjoy entering the bedroom around 4AM, jumping up on the bed and walking over the pillows and heads of the people sleeping. He would jump up, walked across the heads, jump down, walk around the bed, and start over, doing this ritual several times before settling in somewhere for a nap. If he was outside the bedroom and wanted to get in, he would do a roll on the floor and SLAM into the door. First time Pauline heard it, she nearly jumped out of her skin. His favorite room had to be the attic, aka the Bat Cave. He had to get on my lap while I was at the computer no matter what it took. I could put him down 20 times and he would still jump up with that little grunt of his. Once on the lap, he purred like crazy, put his paws on the desk, and watched the screen. Problem was, he could never sit still. Before long, he was walking across the equipment, wacking me in the face with his tail.
There was one thing that Stretch was afraid of and that was thunder and lightning. None of the other animals cared too much, but at the first hint of a storm (or, sometimes, something that the subwoofer made sound like a storm), Stretch would slink low to the ground with his tail down and slither down to the basement, where he would hide until a good 2 hours after the storm was even gone.
Stretch forever kept us all amused. He had the funniest play technique, which especially came out in the fall when the sun was at the right angle through the back window for casting reflections off of kitchen utensils. He hopped after the reflections on the floor like a rabbit and was sort of obsessed with them. Once, Pauline caught Stretch and Skittle playing volleyball with a half dead mouse. Skittle would pick it up in her mouth and throw it to Stretch. He would bat it back to her on the floor. Then there was his unique attraction to catnip. He sat on it! Catnip on the floor? Stretch would scope it out and then back into it, sit on it, and kick out his rear paws. We think he thought the catnip was his girlfriend. When Stretch would roll over, he would stand up fast looking baffled at his new orientation. Never apprearing to be the brightest cat, we often mused that he was really an absent-minded genious.
He could also be a real sweetheart. He frequently came down to greet us when we came home and always liked hanging out wherever Brandon was. But the cutest trait had to be his way of slowly inching closer to you minute by minute while you were laying on the bed or sofa.
not bad looking for 17, huh!
September 25, 2005
so who taught this little punk how to play???
September 15, 2005