By Cindy Ann Coldiron
I already had two cats, Tonibelle and Pearl, and really was not planning or wanting to adopt another cat. However, one day I was drawn to stop by the Animal Welfare League of Arlington which is close to home. I had only intended to look at the cats when a chubby meowing adult black cat caught my attention. He was prancing and picking up his feet very high as if we were a drum major in a parade. I thought to myself “what a silly cat” and asked a staff person to remove him from the cage.
After being placed on a table, he proceeded to march and high-step around the table in circles. He was so happy to be out of the cage and to have people looking at him that he was drooling heavily as well. The background information on him said he had been found as a stray by a rehab center. He was very friendly and estimated to be about two years old. I then decided to add this marching drooling boy to my menagerie.
I named him Teddy due to his round teddy bear face. He adjusted well to the girls but after about six months, I noticed that he looked different and was no longer chubby. Even his face was not as round. I became concerned and ran him to the vet for a checkup. The vet looked at his records, laughed, and said Teddy must not have been two years old when I adopted him since most shelters can only estimate a pet’s age.
He added that Teddy was likely less than a year old when I got him so he had simply become less chubby and more angular looking as an adult cat. Back at home, I noticed that Teddy loved to sit in the window and seemed to want to go outside, so I bought a leather harness. There was no period of adjustment and he walked like a pet dog from the first time out. We would walk around the neighborhood and he would run up to total strangers and rub against their legs. He would also gently meow continuously as if he were telling them a story or saying “Hi” Teddy made everyone his best friend.
He would put his paw into their hand on command. I would not take him outside on days it rained and he would lie in the window, look over his shoulder at me, and gently whine. I would apologize to him that it had rained on his parade that day. After all, drum majors don’t like it when it rains on their parade.
Teddy always seems to have a daily agenda and a lot he wanted to “accomplish” so a rainy day did not amuse him. Teddy seemed especially drawn to men and I wondered if someone who fed him had been a male. One day a cable guy stopped by to repair my cable and Teddy, now a long lean adult cat, proceeded to try to crawl up his leg as if to say “Pick me up.” The cable guy was not amused and seemed a little scared of this harmless cat. Teddy liked people so much, I decided to enter him in a cat show. The local shelter was having one for adopted cats (non-pedigreed). Teddy won several ribbons and loved the attention.
I entered him in several more shows held by the International Cat Association (TICA) which also had a category for shelter cats. At the TICA shows, a cat acquires points from each judge and Teddy received as high as a second place ribbon from one judge. He eventually acquired enough show points from TICA to reach the first title level and be called “Master” Teddy. While I found these long shows to be rather tedious, Teddy loved all the action.
When Teddy entered his 13th year, I spotted a little lump on his neck where the fur seemed tousled. Unfortunately, it turned out to be one of the worse forms of cancer. Throughout his radiation and chemo treatments at the Regional Veterinary Referral Center, Teddy was the ultimate trooper and never once complained. Since I had to work overtime to pay for his treatments, the vet center allowed me to drop him off at 6 AM and pick him up after 5:30 in the evening.
Teddy would hang out there in his cage and everyone commented on what a good-natured cat he was. The staff made him colorful and signed bandanas which he loved to wear. Sadly, after a long fight, Teddy passed away on his own accord on the coldest day in January 2008. Neighbors still comment to me till this day about Teddy and what a friendly cat he was. I am sure he is still marching and leading the parades on the other side of the rainbow bridge.