Peter’s Belated Birthday Card to His Majestic Indifference

 

September 14th marks Reg the Cat’s birthday. He turned 14 this year, but sad events overshadowed everything else this year, and the celebration was muted. However, here is my tribute to my little buddy for this year.

Previous installments have addressed his early years in Brampton and his adventures while being boarded. This year I am going to write about “the Toronto years”, to date, anyway.

Having brought Reg home from the vet’s in a cab, I opened the big door of Apartment 102, set the carrier down and opened its smaller door. The occupant was out that door like a furry grey cannonball. He had a snack and some water to provide him with refreshment after his long journey. He gave me a “tails up” of approval for my work on his litter box, then he went exploring. Cats always like to have a hiding place or two, whence they can retreat should their human roommate become a nuisance.

Apparently I had a good housing choice. It’s a small one bedroom in a basement with two lovely windows, equipped with nice wide sills which would allow a cat hours of dozing in the warmth of the sun after a hectic day of napping, eating and using the litter. We settled in very well. Often Reg would nap on the bed and then meet me at the door when I returned from work.

I should note here that Reg, or His Majestic Indifference Reginald the Aloof, to give him his official title, does not “play well with others”. For pretty much his entire life, it has been just him and I. As a result, anyone else coming into the apartment generally gets hissed at. Sometimes the visitor doesn’t even have to be physically present to earn a “catcall”. When I sold my house, I bought a big screen television. Reg hisses at 3 images on the screen, Carey Price a), Ian Astbury b) and some poor bit player in the classic movie “Battle of Britain” c). Of course, there was the time when I was watching a movie and there was a scene where a big crocodile slips into a river. Reg just so happened to be coming around the corner, took one look at the screen and suddenly remembered something which needed his immediate attention in the bedroom!

Anytime the superintendent comes to the door, Reg graciously bestows a hiss on him. To my delight, I was able to my Dear Lois over for a couple of weekends. Reg had met Lois previously. While he was boarded, I called the vet every day that they were open, and went to Brampton every Saturday to see him. I took Lois with me one day, and Reg was so happy to see me that he even rubbed up against Lois’ leg. (When a young employee of the office walked past the window, Reg stopped in mid rub and hissed at the poor teenager. That was then, this was now, however.

As Lois entered “Chez Montreuil” d) for the first time, she said cheerfully “Hi Reg!” . Reg was impolite enough to hiss at her, to my mortification. Afterwards he would make an idiotically wide circle around when passing her. She said that he probably called her “The monster lady”. There is no doubt that he had a curious outlook about her. One day she was in the shower while I had run out to get some breakfast for us. Reg sat in the doorway of the bathroom and watched her like a hawk. Another time she was complaining about “all the cat hair” in the apartment. Unbeknownst to me, Reg was soaking up the sun in the window behind her. Suddenly the vertical blinds parted and a big grey head came through the gap. I whispered for Lois to look around slowly, and her reward was to be met with the baleful gaze of one very unimpressed cat. He probably felt that he should remind us that we were not alone in the apartment, before I did something stupid. Lois only visited a couple of times, as her mobility issues worsened. Reg was always “aloof” when she was around, for some reason.

One night in April, 2013, I came home to find Reg crouching close to the floor. I took him outside to get some air, it didn’t seem to help. I brought him back into my apartment, he got up on the arm of the sofa and tried to jump onto the windowsill. He hit the wall about 6 inches below the window and slid silently to the floor. I then realized that I had a very sick cat on my hands. I took him to the vet, who referred me to an intensive care veterinary hospital, where he spent the night. Reg was gravely ill. it turned out that he is diabetic and needs insulin. e) He also requires special food, 80 dollars a bag, but he’s worth it.

Reginald The Aloof’s Free Range Days

While Reg was a “free range” cat in Brampton, I keep him indoors in Toronto, as I feel that there is a lot more danger here, traffic, other animals, people, so generally he stays inside, unless he gets out via his own cunning. I have a portable air conditioner, which has a hose that exhausts through the window. On one occasion, he dislodged the hose and out the window he went. I was able to retrieve him, but it was a close run thing. I spent the rest of the summer sleeping on the couch, as Reg would have to go over me to get to the window and would surely wake me as he passed. Another time he got out. It was about midnight, and the apartment next door, where the superintendent and his two little dogs lived, was dark. I was using the flashlight on my cellphone to search for Reg when the infernal machine self dialed my voicemail …. on speakerphone. I frantically tried to simultaneously look for Reg, back away from his apartment and silence the phone, all the while trying not to back into the fence of the house next door, where a dog who considered himself “protector of the neighbourhood” lived. Not my finest hour, for sure. In the event, I went back into my place, discouraged at my lack of success finding Reg, only to find the missing beast sitting on the floor and looking at me with a “where were you?” look.

A few other funny memories. I came out of my bedroom one morning to hear Reg growling at the poor dog next door, who was enjoying a run in his backyard. In the shower once, I heard a “tick tick” sound, looked out and saw Reg merrily batting my glasses around the bathroom floor. I put a bag of his food on the sofa and came out to find him sitting on the sofa beside the bag, looking like two cross country bus passengers. He is, as far as I know, the only cat to ever have songs dedicated to him at “The Horseshoe Tavern”. I also used him as an “icebreaker” when interviewing people at work sometimes.

He’s not as spry as he used to be, but who is anymore? His vision and his hearing are going and he seldom leaves the floor. He is, however, my little buddy. I was there at his arrival and I will be there at his departure. Happy birthday, Reg, Grandpa loves you f).

See you soon.

  1. a) Goaltender for the Montreal Canadiens, my favourite NHL team.
  2. b) Lead singer for “The Cult”, one of my favourite main stream groups. For some reason, Reg likes Billy Duffy, the guitarist.
  3. c) One of my absolutely favourite movies.
  4. d) My unofficial name for my residence.
  5. e) He uses one of same types of Insulin that Lois used. I remember saying “See, you can come visit me to borrow Insulin.” She replied “If the only reason I am coming to see you is to borrow, our relationship is in grave shape indeed!”
  6. f) Reg’s mother Jane was my cat, so I considered Reg my grandson. I once said “Just like Heidi and her grandfather, eh?” As Reg can not read, the reference was missed.
=PJM=

One Response to “Peter’s Belated Birthday Card to His Majestic Indifference”

  1. Teresa Coulter Says:

    Happy Birthday Reg! Cheers to a long life with your best buddy! ❤️

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