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Little White Kitty   —   Cats!

Today is Commodore's 11th birthday. Happy Birthday Commodore! He's watching me as I type this, sitting next to my laptop, riveted with the anticipation of what I will be saying about him. Will I divulge his secrets to the world? Will I tell people how sometimes he wakes me up in the middle of the night so that I can carry him to the litter box because he's afraid of monsters in the dark of the living room? Nooooo. Of course not! I certainly won't tell people how you have a catnip addiction, meow in corners, stare into light bulbs, love to smell feet and eat chicken off of the floor. I have more respect for you than that, dude.

The story of how Commodore came into my life 11 years ago goes something like this...
I was living in Upper Peninsula of Michigan with my mother and her husband, Jim. I had been banished to the wilds of Bessemer, into my mother's welcoming embrace from the oily streets of Flint by my father, who had had enough of my directionless gypsy ways. The prior couple of years I'd spent moving around the US, Michigan to Colorado to Florida to Michigan to DC to Michigan ... and now I was planning another move - NYC! I needed a few months to work and save money but at 20 years old I had worn out my welcome at my father's with my empty pockets and undefined dreams. Living with my mother and Jim in the middle of Nowheresville turned out to be one of the most treasured times of my life. My stay was only four months long but those four months were transformative. At the end of my stay, as I was preparing my move to NYC, my mother spotted an ad in the paper for free Siamese-mix kittens. I'm not sure what made her think bringing a kitten into my life just as I was about to drive 1,200 miles east in a U-Haul was a good idea, maybe it was the fact that I was raised with Siamese-mix cats and had an affinity for them, or maybe she thought I would find comfort in having a kitten on my new adventure in NYC, who knows. But I jumped at the offer and she and I drove to the house that was giving away the kittens.

The house wasn't so much a house as it was a paper shack. The roof was tar and the front door was wide open as we pulled up, ratty carpet and a small room full of garbage greeted us as we approached. A short fat cranky woman limped into the room as we stood awkwardly in the doorway looking around for any sign of the cats. She said, "If you're here for the cats we only got one left so take him or leave him." I had really wanted a female cat, never before had I had a male cat, so I hesitated, expressing my disappointment to my mother. I spotted the little white boy kitten just then, hiding under a small table, and his blue eyes won me over on sight. My mother and I climbed back into her van, the kitten on my lap, and as we drove away the kitten started to climb onto my head. Out of no where I burst out, "Commodore Impossible!" My mother looked at me crossly, "What?" I knew then, his name would be Commodore. "That's a terrible name," my mother replied. Then a terrible name he shall have, it's Commodore just the same. Commodore had tar on the bottom of his paws, the tip of his nose, and along the base of his tail. I assumed he had somehow gotten onto the roof and try as I might to remove the tar when we got home it didn't budge. After a few weeks it eventually wore itself off but my little white kitten was accented in tar until then.

We then set off together to NYC! He was only about 9 weeks old at the time and so he rode on my lap most of the way there. (I was moving to NYC to be with my friend Anna who had been living there for a few years at that point. She flew in to Flint, visited her family, and then when I swung through town she drove back to NYC with me. She took this photo.)

Upon moving to NYC Commodore developed quite the unique personality. He was very rambunctious and would crawl up pants legs, do Matrix-style moves of sideways running on walls and bounce off of people like he was a ping pong ball. He would snuff out burning candles with his paw, push anything over that was balancing upright (his favorite was lighters), and carried a stuffed shark around with him everywhere he went. He even fell in the toilet a few times and he was so small that he then slid a little down the toilet hole. Luckily he was rescued every time but ever since I developed a habit of closing the toilet seat cover.

As the years passed Commodore remained strange and playful. He began to tolerate the many ways I tortured him, and it got to the point wherein I could do almost anything to him without a fuss.

He has been my best friend and my companion. He has been with me through laughter and tears, through heartache and joy, he has provided comfort when the world looked bleak, and has added to the light when the days would shine. My love for him encompasses me and he makes my life better with his zen-like attitude and playful disposition. And his beauty is breathtaking.

Commodore turns 11 years old today but when I see him he's still the little white kitty (with the tick tock eyes!). Like me, he was Michigan born, spent 8 years in NYC, experienced the towers falling and the blackouts and the parties and the soot and the frustrations and the abundance of friends. He has had a multitude of roommates, my mother, Jim and Weengush, Frak and Anna and Max, Kara and Rachel, Adam and John the Cat, and Tsunami. He has tolerated our house guests (Todd in his underwear), stalked birds through screen windows, and survived being accidentally locked in the bedroom for three days while we were away. Most recently he has moved with me to Portland, Oregon and discovered the wonders of carpet. But through it all he remains the same. He still meows in corners, takes all of his toys out of their basket in the middle of the night, sleeps on my head, hides in kitchen cabinets, and waits for me at the living room window to come home from work. I love you little white kitty. Here's to 11 more years together.

Posted 3.11.2010 12:32:48 AM

N@ wrote:
Awww! Happy birthday Commodore! Such a good kitty! I wish I knew when Maxie was born, but he wandered into our lives at an unknown age and will stay that way. Kitten will be 1 year this April, and there WILL be cake (granted, it might be tuna cake).
I'm so happy you're writing on here again! Give Commodore pets for me.
Posted 3/11/2010 11:10:05 PM
Becky wrote:
I cant believe it has been 11years! I remember You Anna & Commodore pulling out of the driveway with the Uhaul heading for NYC!
Posted 3/13/2010 6:08:59 AM
Anna wrote:
Riding in the U-Haul with a new born kitten was fascinating. I couldn't believe how much he could sleep and how deeply he stayed there. You could pick him up and flop him around like a tiny warm dish towel. I was doing just that, making him dance to the music, when a semi went flying past and I saw the driver whip his head around to watch. Heather sped the car up so we could pass and I help him up under his arms and wiggled him at the driver as we drove past, laughing. A few minutes later, the truck came roaring past us, and the driver had a teddy bear held up in his window and was making him do the same floppy dance. Even while asleep, Commodore can make you fall in love with him and act silly.
Posted 3/19/2010 1:10:03 PM - Anna's website
Rose wrote:
Aw nice post!! Happy Birthday Commodore! What a great post!
Posted 3/14/2012 10:44:04 AM - Rose's website
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