Thunder Cat had gray, luxuriant hair. He was stalwart, regal, a king of a cat.
He was Larry’s first cat. In the mid-1990s, Larry lived in Lynchburg a city 20 miles north of Altavista. He didn’t have any pets when he moved into his neighborhood.
One night, as Larry sat out on his front steps, a neighbor’s cat, Thunder Cat, walked right up to him and rubbed against his leg. Larry was surprised because he didn’t really consider himself to be a cat person.
But later that night, he went to the grocery store and bought some treats to give him when he visited.
When Thunder’s original family moved, they asked Larry if he’d like to take in Thunder. Larry jumped at the chance.
When Larry and I started dating and I met Thunder, I was a little afraid. He was a grouchy cat and didn’t like to be touched except on his very limited terms. He would bite if he didn’t want to be touched—not hard enough to break the skin, but hard enough to hurt.
When Larry moved to Altavista, everything was different. Larry kept him inside all the time, and the new environment seemed good for him.
He calmed down and would even sit on our laps for short periods of time.
Here are some things I remember about Thunder:
*He could leap long distances. One day Larry was playing with him and was lying on the floor with his knees bent. Thunder jumped over Larry’s entire length. Larry looked up and saw only a blur of gray fur.
*I loved watching Thunder. When I sat in our living room reading, I had a view of the kitchen and the hallway leading to the bedrooms and the litter boxes.
Sometimes I’d look up and see Thunder quietly walking by, his paw steps mere puffs of sound, winding his way back to the litter boxes.
After he used the litter box, he would run back by me, his paws pounding the floor, hurrying back to his domain, the den.
*Thunder loved my shoes. When I took them off, he would stick his nose in them, then wrap his front legs around them and lie on them.
At night, he would usually stay in the den, not coming into the bedroom. Sometimes he would cry in the night. If I went and got him and brought him into the bedroom, he wouldn’t stay. But I could take him one of my shoes, and it would calm him.
*Just as Waddles helped me overcome a lot of my OCD and the fear of responsibility I had, so did Thunder. I loved being his mother and taking care of him. I embraced the responsibility.
We lost Thunder Cat to kidney failure on Feb. 12, 2009. I can’t put in words how devastated Larry and I were and how much we miss him.
We still feel his gray presence.
Is there a pet or other animal that you have admired?