The first time I met Peet, it was 1980, I was living in Albuquerque.
Dale Garcia, my boss at Los Alamos Technical Assoc. was complaining about his calico cat Mousa. See, Mousa was a whore. (His words not mine.) Dale said he couldnâ€™t catch Mousa in time to spay her because she was always either pregnant or nursing. He said they had a several kittens up for adoption and would I like one?
I had just left my first husband, and I think it was the first time in my life I was without a cat. All my life there was a cat in whatever home I was living.
I went to look at the kitties. Dales daughter pointed at this little orange thing that hissed at me, and said, â€œTake that one, he is mean.â€
I took him, named him Peet, after my first boyfriend, and my life got better.
Peet was a handful. I remember the time he crawled into a rose bush and got stuck. With all the thorns poking everywhere, we had to use gloves to get him out. His curious ways made him fall into a bag of charcoal briquets once. He came out looking like a black cat; not orange at all.
Peet also would invite the neighbour cats over when I was at work. Once, I came home and there were, I kid you not, at least 5 other cats hanging around the living room. They looked like they were recovering from a huge party as they napped, draped over the sofa and chairs. Peet gave me the oddest look when I shooed them out!
When I met Ken, we moved from NM to Colorado and of course Peet came with. On the way, we camped out in the Jemez Mountains and we put Peet safely in the tent and zipped it up tight so we wouldnâ€™t lose him. He got out â€” how we will never know. He wandered around the campsite, and forest, checking in with us every hour or so. We finally put him in the truck, so that when we were ready to leave, heâ€™d be around.
When we went to go – Peet was no where to be found. Seriously, he was the best escape artist I ever knew. Long story; shortâ€¦ he showed up.
Peet and I and our dog Laska, settled into our new home on Prairie Rd. with Ken and his cat Tinkerbell. Everyone got a long just fine, except me and Tinkerbell. I donâ€™t think he ever forgave me for bringing in such a tribe.
We all moved to Oregon after a few years, and Peet thrived with the run of a few acres, near our house, outside of town. That is until one day when we couldnâ€™t find him (nothing new), but when we went looking, we found he had been hit by a car. I was devastated.
It wasnâ€™t long before Peet made another appearance though.
I was teaching Tai Chi at a community centre and there he was; a skinny orange cat, hollering, hungry, and homeless. I took him home.
This Peet was as much of a goof as we had come to know. The only real difference was this Peet didnâ€™t like going outside.
One beautiful day, we tossed him out and left the house for a few hours. When we came home Peet was no where to be seen. We called out and looked all over the place. In the distance we could hear a muffled meow, but could not figure out from where. As we narrowed it down, Ken found him.
Peet had crawled up onto the roof of the house. He decided he wanted in. So he came down the chimney. Unfortunately, he only got part way down before he hit the closed flue! We had no idea how to get him out!
Lucky for us and him, Ken could reach up from the fire place, open the flue just enough, so this boneless Peet could slide out. He of course once again, looked like a black cat. We had to wash him well to get all the orange back.
Like all Peets, he was a great hunter. One day he brought me a giant bull frog. If you know me, you know I am not a fan of frogs. Not a fan at all! Having a huge fucking bull frog in the kitchen about put me over the edge. I had to get the neighbour to save me. Harrison, who was about 100 years old, had to crawl under the table and catch the dang thing. A true hero acted while Peet went back to sleep it off.
Once again, Peet got caught by a car, and we were crushed.
When we moved to Canada, Ken and I moved only with Annie, the sweet black kitty we inherited from my job at the blueberry farm.
We were on Bowen Island only a few months, when just up the street, the calico kitty (also rumored to be a whore) gave birth to a litter. One of them was orange who hissed us when we said, Yes!
Ken carried him home when he was just six weeks old, and cute as pie. He was also mean. He would hiss me when I tried to pet him and hid in a box by the door we kept hats and gloves in. Soon he was friendly enough and again, a bit of a handful; a joyful handful with a big personality.
Like all cats we served him, so when he had to go outside, and then inside, then outside and then inside, all this at two in the morningâ€¦ Ken had it, and yelled outâ€¦ â€œit is me or the cat!â€ and I laughed and asked where Ken thought he might goâ€¦ well, Peet got a cat door the next day, and was free to come and go at his own will. He was also now able to bring home many his hunting trophies, which he rarely killed, he was more of a catch and release cat. He didn’t mind leaving the dirty work up to me and Ken, and at times Lucy.
Peet loved living on Bowen. He had free range of a big house, huge yard and made the rounds of the neighbourhood. Everyone knew Peet.
Peet used to go for hikes with us. He would even walk all the way to the beach, or up the trail behind the house, joining us as we walked Lucy and Cricket.
The Bowen Island Tai Chi House held many a camp and class, where Peet stood in the middle of every lesson. He was quite the socialite, taking any attention given. Once he even chased a big deer into the circle; I think he did it to impress Pat! And, Iâ€™ll never forget when he took all the attention away from Sam, climbing a tree, just when Sam was at a pivotal point in the lesson.
We have story after story about Peet and the joys and adventures we shared; when you live with someone for 19 years, well, you get stories.
The move to Sechelt was good for me and Ken, but not so much for Peet.
At 19 years old, Peet had never been in a car. Being put in a carrier, and taken for two ferry rides, to a new house was not an easy for him. Peet had to become an indoor cat, and while he did pretty well, he usually peed and pooped, â€œcloseâ€ to the box, if not actually in it.
As an old kitty, he started going down hill fairly fast. He slept most of the time, but when he was awake, he was a talker. All Peets had things to say. We could all carry on conversations on a variety of topics. I will say, Peet liked politics the best and was quite a liberal.
Yesterday, Peets life ended. While I never say neverâ€¦ I’m pretty sure our 36 year ride with Peet is also over. It is just too hard right now. Ken and I are heart sick. The emptiness is huge.