Peter Pays Tribute to His Majestic Indifference, Reginald the Aloof

I want to wish a very happy birthday to my little buddy Reg the Cat, 12 years old today. Reg’s mother Jane was my cat at the time Reg was born, so the first time I saw him on the floor of my room, he was 10 hours old. He looked like a furry squeeze of grey toothpaste and could fit in the palm of my hand. His legs and tail were stumpy and he had a great big head. I had named Jane after Jane Stewart, the minister in charge of my department. Reg was named for Reg Alcock, the president of the Treasury Board, in a shameless and ultimately futile attempt to get a better raise for myself.

Jane had given birth to two kittens, but only Reg survived. I buried his sibling in the garden. His birthplace was in the “shipping lane” between my bed and the bathroom, so I made two attempts to move Reg out of any perceived danger. His mother grabbed the scruff of his neck and replaced him. The second time I tried, I swear she looked heavenwards and sighed, so I admitted defeat. She was a really good mother, when he nursed, she’d wrap her tail around him and protectively place one of her hind legs over his body. At night she would place him in the crook of my knee and lie on the other side of him, keeping her baby warm and safe. As I dared not move all night, I walked very strangely the next day. One evening I was petting his back with my index finger and he let out a squeak. Mummy had been eating in the other room, but raced to her offspring’s side, as if I was going to feed him to an anaconda or something equally heinous.

After a while, his eyes opened, and he began to try to move around. I remember once seeing him get up on his wobbly little legs, wobble and fall to his right. He tried it again, same result except he fell to his left. The look on his face was priceless! Eventually he did become mobile, however. I used to leave the house at 5:30 A.M. to go to work. One Monday morning, he scooted out before I could react. He was gone until Friday evening, came in and crashed upside down on a chair. That night I couldn’t look at him without laughing! He had obviously had a very good time, and not very much sleep.

I remember the time I opened a can of beer with him sitting beside me on the bed. Jane rushed over and grabbed him by the neck to save him from whatever. He was bigger then so every time Jane took a step, his little kitty butt would hit the bed and he would squeak. It was quite a comical scene.

In those days, he could have treats. The preferred treat of the feline population at “Chez Montreuil” was ‘Temptations’, without a doubt. When I shook the bag, you would have thought that I had twelve cats living in my room! I called it my “Patented Automated Cat Caller” and shaking the bag worked even when Reg was outside. I used to hide the bag under my pillow. I will now relate why that was a Bad Idea. One night I came home to the two of them lying on my bed, the treat bag beside them looking like a lawn mower had run it over. Jane saw me come in and looked at Reg as if to say “Do some of that cute shit, I think we’re in trouble!” In future I stored it in a plastic LCBO bag hung from a nail. One night I came home with an LCBO bag, Reg ran at it and jumped. The sound a cat’s head makes when it hits full beer cans is most interesting, and no, he wasn’t hurt.

Jane passed in October 2008, and I buried her in the garden. One morning the next summer, I came out and saw Reg lying on her grave. It was a very emotional moment.

We lived in that house for just over 4 more years. Reg continued his forays into the neighbourhood. There was a family behind us who had dogs in the backyard. One day I heard them going berserk. I looked and saw Reg traipsing along the top rail of the fence, without a care in the world. I wonder if he had a bounty on him. He also used to go and sit by the basement window of a house where two little girls lived. The extent of their relationship is unknown to me.

Reg was a good fighter, I must assume. Although he has one nick on his nose, he carries no other visible injuries from his six and half years roaming Brampton. He could be surprisingly gentle with smaller creatures, however. One Saturday I saw him come out from behind a bush in my backyard with a little bird in his mouth. He opened his mouth and the bird, escaping the jaws of sloth, flew up to the top rail of the fence from whence Mummy, Daddy and Baby Bird angrily spewed invective at my feline room mate, who looked crestfallen, positively abashed, head down. Of course, I had previously seen him jump onto that rail from a standing start, but he wasn’t doing that on this particular day.  In the corner of my backyard, there was a double “Muskoka chair”, which I had made. I would sit there, read and drink beer, while Reg sat on the other arm. I saw him one morning sitting on one arm while there was a little squirrel on the other.  They sat there in quiet companionship for about 15 minutes, before a bigger cat came into the yard and Reg exercised his dominion by chasing the intruder away.

His Majestic Indifference Reginald the Aloof, to give him his full name, has been a great companion to me. I even used him as an “ice breaker” at work, mentioning him in passing at times to make people feel more at ease when they were being interviewed. I could go on, and on, and on, but I will save the rest of his story for his next birthday, when I will focus on “The Toronto Years”, except for this anecdote of more recent vintage. When I began going to Cherry Cola’s, I would buy beer for the bands, telling them that my cat Reg had instructed me to. As a result, he has a minor cult following in the Greater Toronto Area indie music scene, and even had a song dedicated to him at “The Horseshoe Tavern”!

See you soon.

=PJM=

A confirmed cat person,  Peter dabbled with being a water boy , a paper boy and an altar boy before finally settling for a career with the Canadian government. Once, in his youth, he ate a dutch oven full of mashed potatoes to win a 5 cent bet with his sister Mary’s boyfriend. (Of course, he was much younger and a nickel went a lot farther.) He has retired to palatial “Chez Montreuil”, sharing it with his diabetic cat Reg. He’s very happy to have his dear Lois in his life.  Military aviation and live music are  among other interests of his, and he tries to get out to as many shows as he can. He will be here every Thursday for your enlightenment.

8 Responses to “Peter Pays Tribute to His Majestic Indifference, Reginald the Aloof”

  1. Hi Peter! You have written a beautiful 12th Birthday tribute to your sweet cat ~ His Majestic Indifference Reginald the Aloof! Thank you for sharing it with all of us. ❤

  2. Great stuff Peter, roll on the next one!

  3. Sandy Lorberg Says:

    Love furry friend stories !!! We have four ourselves and they are a constant source of entertainment . Thanks for sharing Peter!!

  4. Peter Montreuil Says:

    Thanks, Sandy!

  5. June Pollard Says:

    Hi Peter! I love reading your columns but I think that I enjoy rereading the ones about your beautiful cat the most! What a character & to have him right from birth is so wonderful. He is a beautiful boy & even if his full name is His Majestic Indifference, Reginald the Aloof – I think that perhaps ‘Handsome’ or ‘Loving’ could be added to his title! ❤ Thank you again for sharing your 'creative writing talent' with all your followers! ❤

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