The tiny ball of black fur arrived snuggled up in a shoebox riddled with holes and lined with a soft blue towel. He was given to me and my first husband as a wedding gift by his best friend Richard Corey, Professor Irwin Corey’s son. Professor Irwin Corey is a famous double-talking “know-it-all” American comic, dubbed as the “World’s Most Foremost Authority” on just about anything. Born in 1914, Professor Corey is a centurion. But this story is not about Professor Corey, it’s about one of the most remarkable cats who ever owned me.
It was love at first sight the instant I opened the box and gently held him in my hand. It started a passionate love affair with the black kitty which, much to my delight lasted over 17 years.
He appeared to me to be no older than seven weeks of age. I thought to myself that this kitten was much too young to be taken from his mother; but there was no turning back. Richard informed us that the baby kit was already eating solid food, using his litter box, and had excellent feline manners.
But as tiny as he was, he quickly turned into a curious little rascal. He got into everything and found the most incredibly strange hiding places. The lining of our mattress was just one of his favorite spots so we were kept constantly on our toes just trying to keep up with him. Naming him Nemesis was a “no-brainer”. His moniker fit him to a “T”.
Nemesis was half-Siamese. His mother was an apple-head Siamese who called for mates while lounging in Corey’s back yard. His daddy was a travelling salesman. Nemesis was born nine weeks after his parents’ short but passionate honeymoon.
The tiny kitten slowly grew into a magnificent black cat with a tiny white fur locket on his chest. Although he was incredibly intelligent, his passion for exploring, coupled with his drive to conquer his universe sometimes got him into trouble. He would escape out the front door of our apartment in an eye blink without our even noticing his departure. We were stunned one afternoon when one of our upstairs’ neighbors knocked on the door with Nemesis in his arms. Apparently he had run into his apartment when his front door was left open.
Although Nemesis was a brave and feisty feline, there was one thing that brought him to his paws in abject terror. Just the sight of our vacuum cleaner on the floor left him shaking. He would crouch down on all fours, tail tucked between his legs and slink away into any hiding place he could find.
But what was even more frightening to this muscularly built seventeen pound cat was the sound of the vacuum cleaner motor. As soon as it was turned on he would instantly dash under the bed trembling in fear. I felt sorry for him, but keeping the place clean was necessary.
But as soon as the vacuuming was finished, I would remove the dastardly vacuum cleaner monster out of sight. It was only then that Nemesis would reappear. But one fateful day I forget to stow it.
There it lay silent in the middle of the room. Upon seeing it, Nemesis fled under the bed. But he also wanted to hang out with me, so he slowly began crawling out from his hiding place.
At first he stood motionless facing the silent beast. But he then started to move; and like a cat going into battle, he arched his back, puffed up his tail and assumed a threatening and aggressive posture. He moved slowly toward the fearful object, and raising a paw he dealt death-blows, thwapping it repeatedly until he was assured he had abolished the “monster” into the netherworld. What a courageous kitty! Proudly puffing up his chest he sauntered through the house wearing a grin rivaling the Cheshire Cat‘s.
Nemesis never fled from the vacuum cleaner again. However, he prudently retreated to a chair in whatever room I was cleaning.
Does the vacuum cleaner scare your cats? Tell us in a comment.
- Flickr user Tambako the Jaguar (this is not Nemesis)
- Vacuum cleaner: Found on eBay