I had a female cat named Hardy; funny name for a female, especially after she had her first litter of kittens. And what a litter they were, five beautiful tom-cats. There was one in particular that was extremely beautiful or handsome, if you prefer. His name was Rip Van Winkle, shortened to Riptoe.
He was part-Persian, black and white with a black body and white toes. That fluffy tail of his was always in the air, proudly waving. Arrogant he was and very mischievous. But you couldn't help but enjoy watching that crazy cat. Our neighbors had a canary whose cage was next to a window. That window had a screen on it. Riptoe would jump on that screen and hang there, spread-eagle until he fell off. Then he would jump on that screen and do it all over again. This would go on for hours. It's a miracle that poor bird didn't fall dead from fright or have a nervous breakdown. And there was my goldfish, Goldie. When I wasn't looking, Riptoe would stick his paw into the goldfish bowl and try to catch himself a fish. No matter how I tried to break him of his nasty habits, I couldn't. Despite that cat's sneaking behavior, no fish or bird lost one single fin or feather, thank goodness!
My mother loved that cat, despite his outrageous and antisocial behavior. And, of course, she was Riptoe's favorite human. He consistently brought her gifts like dead snakes and lizards, you name it. Unfortunately, Mama didn't appreciate his efforts. He was very offended when Mama screamed in fright at his gifts. Riptoe couldn't understand why she didn't appreciate his little tokens of affection. but he always forgave her. Each morning, Riptoe sat on the front porch waiting for Mama. Every morning, Mama had breakfast in the little den next to the master bedroom. And she would make sure there were at least three or four strips of bacon on her plate. My mama never failed to share that bacon with Riptoe. While enjoying their meal together, Mama would talk to that cat, and he seemed to listen. This ritual between Riptoe and Mama continued throughout that feisty cat's life.