Saturday, June 5, 2010

Upon Which I Tell You About Paddy Paws our Polydactyl Cat

My friend Grahamn Kracker left a comment on my last post stating that he never stops blogging, not for busyness, not for the things of summer....unless he is somewhere where he cannot access the net. Mr. Kracker startled me for a moment for it had been such a long time since his previous comment that I had forgotten who he is.

So I wandered around a bit, looked him up, and remembered, "Oh, of coursed! Mr. Kracker is his pseudonym...or is Mr. Kracker his REAL name and Bill Hess his pseudonym." Aw, Shucks. Mystery!

At any rate, Mr. Kracker, aka Mr. Hess, aka Bill of Wasilla, loves cats. And so today's short post is for Mr. Kracker. (Or is it Mr. Hess?)

Years ago, almost 25 years ago, my daughter and I lived in a small apartment on the second floor of a large home. Our windows looked out into the trees, making for a tree-house feeling. At that time it was a good place for us to live. We had a third resident, a gray tiger kitty called "Mouse". No other name seemed to fit her grayness. Mouse was a good companion to my daughter and amongst other games, would play fetch with marbles rolled down the long hallway.

Daughter and I made the mistake (happenstance) of visiting the pet shop in the mall where we just had to stop and pet the kitties. One gray-and-white had a six-toed genetic variation on its front paws. We were smitten. Smitten with the kitten! The owner assured us this was a male kitten. This was important because neutering a male would be cheaper than spaying a female and we were on a tight budget at the time. Even buying the kitten was outside of our weekly budget. But we fell for this kitty. We fell hard. And so we brought it home.

We named the kitty Paddy Paws. (The name should have been Paddy Polydactyl Paws.) We took the kitten to our local vet to follow up with any remaining shots and to inquire when we should bring "him" in for neutering. The vet, too, named this kitty a "he".

Paddy Paws was darling. Paddy Paws loved playing. Paddy Paws even seemed to get along well with Mouse. But Paddy Paws never learned (refused) to use the litter box. Our apartment was small and we did not want to deal with a second litter box. And we did not know how to keep Paddy Paws from sneaking through a small hole behind the bathtub and using the attic space for a toilet. (I never told our landlord!)

So Paddy Paws had to go (pun intended) and where better to go than to the farm where we had acquired Mouse. Farmer and his wife already had plenty of kitties, some of which were house cats and the others well-fed barn cats. All were well attended and we knew Paddy Paws would be safe there.

Paddy Paws showed that vet a thing or two. SHE had several litters of kitties in her short life. Most of them exhibited the six-toe gene. Sadly, along with the mutation she passed on a "short life" gene of some sort. Paddy Paws lived only a few short years. One day her owners found her out on the lawn where she had gone to sleep and never woke up.

Her kittens, too, seemed to die young, even though all were well fed and received appropriate vet attention at various times in their lives. (Not all polydactyl cats are short-lived but for some reason she and her kittens seemed to have this problem.)

I talked to Mr. Farmer a few years back and he said all the neighbors were experiencing six-toed kitties amongst their litters. One or more of Paddy Paws' descendants were toms, and in farm country, toms venture from farm to farm doing what toms do.

And that's my story for the day.

As for Mr. Bill Hess (I think that's his pseudonym and I'm certain Grahamn Kracker is his REAL name)...well, he has a photo on the front page of yesterday's Anchorage Daily News). Click here to read more.



Twain12 said...

awww what a great story

Marydon Ford said...

We had several 6-toe cats in all the Manx cats we bred ... genetic defect for sure, one even 7 toes. How sad they didn't seem to have longevity.
I love cats ... your story is enjoyed.

Have a beau-TEA-ful weekend.
TTFN , Hugs, Marydon

Linda said...

Memories are great! Often in the fall "friends" or "relatives" would bring kittens to our dairy barn. My husband always has had a love for cats and kittens. He would gladly add more milk to the kitty dish after each milking.

Pilgrim Mommy said...

I love your cat story. It's funny how humans can't get gender figured out sometimes. We were going to adopt a female bunny, Morgan, from her family who assured us she was a girl. When we went to the vet, he flipped her on her back as part of the exam, and announced that "she" was a "he". We still adopted him anyway.

S. Etole said...

Funny how he and shes aren't always what they seem ... I'll have to visit Mr. Klacker, too ... haven't been there for awhile.

Debby said...

Very nice story. You know, I'll bet you're right about that Grahamm Kracker...

Thanks for the link.

supplies overflowing! said...

Hi! What a sweet memory- and I love the thought of living in a tree house-
Thinking about you constantly-