PART BEAR. PART MAN. ALL AMERICAN
Friday, March 23, 2012
I always considered myself a dog person. While I had a bit of appreciation for a feline here and there throughout my upbringing, I had always wandered toward the canine side of the animal park.
It all changed one afternoon in the Washington-Dulles International Airport, when a 26-pound bundle of slightly-freaked-out-fur dug his claws into my arms, shoulders, and back. Frisco was about to go through airport security during his move to Boulder, and he wanted me to hold onto him. So I held onto him; and he returned the favor.
Frisco did not make the long drive to Boulder with me, Amanda and the dogs, because he was wise enough to know that 30 hours in the car is not always a fun time – and we were wise enough to know that an incessant meow-fest is only endearing for the first 20 minutes. And so post-move I made my way back out to Maryland to retrieve Frisco, and to remove him from his grandmother’s care. Frisco moved out West, and so began our truly unique and wonderful bonding experience.
Although our deeper connection began in December of 2003, I had gotten my first taste of Frisco back in 1999 – when he was still a young pussy, only 2 years of age.
He was the first cat that showed me the cross-species bond that could flourish between cat and dog. He was the first cat that showed he was dog at heart, but cat in so many wonderful ways. He was the only kitty I’d ever seen go toe-to-toe with a cuddly and tough Jack Russell Terrier named Gretel Gillam. He was so cool. The way they tangled and rolled and frolicked and played was amazing to me. I am quite certain this was not the first fun case of cats and dogs living together, but it was my first encounter of it – and I loved it.
In his Frisco way, he showed me that cats can play whatever game they want. If we were to take the dogs for a walk through the Baltimore neighborhood Amanda called home, why wouldn’t Frisco join us? Leash? Not necessary for this little (BIG) guy. He’d amble along, pretending at times that he was not even with us. In and out of the shadows, under and behind parked cars, Frisco made more than one evening walk with our little dog pack. Again, as it was purely unique and wonderful for me to see, Frisco taught me that I had been missing out by not previously getting to know any cats.
As if to ensure that he had earned my love and respect – in our newly established relationship – Frisco made one final gesture on a visit I made to B’more in Amanda’s and my early days together. Up early for swim practice one day, she and I staggered out of the house only to discover a little Frisco gift waiting for us on the doorstep: a headless bunny. What he had done with that little rabbit’s head, I’ll never know; but to honor Frisco’s offering and conquest – and to impress Amanda – I scooped up and disposed of the carnage. Thanks Frisco, our bond was sealed.
In the ensuing years, I became more and more aware that I loved this kitty cat, and touchingly, he loved me just as much. As a previously non-cat-person, I was shocked by several of Frisky’s tendencies and habits: he loved, loved, loved to be brushed, petted, and cuddled – and he would thank you by slicing and dicing your hand with claws and teeth.
He loved to stick one leg straight up in the air, a physics-defying yoga-stretch move that I didn’t know possible. “Amanda, Amanda, come look at what Frisco is doing?” I would shout, amazed at my little (BIG) cat’s moves. Forever I was convinced that this was a trait unique to my cat, and to my cat only.
Stalking and slicing were two of Frisco’s better honed skills. Much to the chagrin and detriment of our dear Blue Dog, Frisco would test out his inner ninja by hiding from then chopping up our whippet. We hated to see Blue suffer, but we knew that it meant Frisco was living a full and charged up life – and that most often he was looking for some extra attention from his people. And so we gave it to him.
To me Frisco was the perfect blend of cat and dog. I always believed he had a little (BIG) dog inside of him. Evidence of that hybrid was the fact that he preferred dog food and dog treats to his own cat formulas; he loved to go on those neighborhood walks; and he very often greeted us at the door – giving an almost-wag of the tail (or so I imagined). Frisco had those so-called dog traits, but he was very clearly a little (BIG) feline friend.
He could leap to great heights, make a quick squirrel kill, dominate a dog, dominate a human, and, of course, completely dominate his litter box. Many Dog and Cat Sitters of Casa Lovato have witnessed the power and fury of Frisco’s little (BIG) smashfests time and time and time again.
After knowing a cat for this many years, after loving Frisco for this long, I can finally say that I no longer consider myself a dog or a cat person; but rather, I am an animal person. And Frisco has been and will continue to be a very special (BIG) part of my life.
I take comfort knowing that Frisco is moving onward in his journey, and that his next stop is a wonderful place that is full of all the dog kibble he can handle. He’s sipping large doses of water, and lounging about between bouts of exercise with JRT’s and unlucky squirrels or bunnies. He’s no doubt tucked under grill covers, or enjoying other secret hiding places – probably just saving up energy for an evening walk around the ‘hood. Without a doubt, Frisco is being Frisco, and he’s doing so with more than a little (BIG) panache.
Love ya, Big Frisc!