I admit it, I’m a cat guy.  I like dogs, but I live alone and like to take extended trips, so a dog is a little too high-maintenance for me at the moment.  Leave a cat with food, water, and a clean box, and you’re gold.

I’d say I’ve had about a dozen or so cats over the years.  My favorite, though, I only had for a short amount of time in the late 80’s.

My wife at the time was a high-school teacher in the very, very, very small town of Revere, MO.  One morning, one of her students brought her a gift: a stray kitten he’d found wandering the streets.  The wife, also an animal lover, took the kitten — a mix, but mostly Siamese — and hid it in her desk drawer.  At lunchtime, she brought it home.

I got home from work before her, with no knowledge of this new little white-bodied-brown-faced critter.  I came in and went into the bathroom to take a whiz.

Mid-pee, I looked down and to the left of the toilet.  There was a goddamn possum right there.

I spazzed out and sprayed pee around for a couple of seconds before I realized it was a kitten.

So, because I mistook him for a possum, I named him Pogo, after the possum in the old-timey comic strip.

Pogo was great because he was one of the most affectionate cats I’ve ever had…but he was also a badass.

We had two other cats, Jasmine and Sidney (Poitier).  They were all indoor/outdoor cats, and when Jasmine and Sidney would come in after hard day of cattin’ around, they’d head straight for the food dish.

Pogo, however, would always come in and immediately jump up and snuggle with whichever human was closest.  He’d purr and rub up against you for a minute or so, then head over to the other and repeat the process.  Once he’d loved you up and showed the proper respect, he’d leisurely stroll to the food dish.

If we had leftover “people” food, we’d dump it in a pile out back for all the neighborhood animals to feast upon.  One day, Pogo was out feasting.  A big dog came up and challenged him.  The dog was in growly attack mode, but Pogo stood his ground, arched his back, and hissed evilly.  The dog looked confused and walked away.

Another time, we cooked a chicken but removed the skin.  The entire raw chicken skin, in one piece, was tossed out back.  Pogo, without chewing at all, swallowed THE WHOLE CHICKEN SKIN.  I thought for sure he was going to choke to death, but he only gagged briefly and walked off.

One night we were awakened by some loud animal fight noises.  We didn’t think much of it, but the next day the neighbor called and said, “I think your cat’s in our yard.”

Sure enough, there was Pogo, dead, at the tender age of one.  Nobody knows what happened – he wasn’t bloody or mangled up – but I like to think he fought a badass fight with whatever it was.  The neighbor was nice enough to suggest that we bury him right there in his yard, on the spot where he’d died.  We did.

Great cat.  Very entertaining.  And it’s fitting he went out with a bang instead of a whimper.  Crazy badass lovey-dovey feline.  Peace.  *Pours 40 of malt liquor on curb*