Big, bold, funny, affectionate. That was Shimai, my cat. He passed away a few months ago at 19. I started to write about him a couple of times before he died but I never finished anything. These are a few unconnected snippets about him. Call it “Stories Of A Cat” (dramatic crescendo).
The Dude Is Old
Shimai is 19 years old. That’s old for a cat. That’s ancient. He’s at the point now where he forgets that he has food in his dish. He comes over to me, paws at my leg, and meows like he’s hungry. I tell him that he still has food but he won’t believe me.
I have to go to his dish, pick it up and stir it with a spoon. I have to make the sounds he associates with being fed before he’ll accept that I’m not shitting him. Then I put the food down for him again and he eats like it’s brand new food.
He’s 90 in human years. I’m pretty sure that when I’m 90, I’m going to want the exact same thing; just someone to stir my food.
What His Name Means
I’ve always hated the idea of giving my fuzz buddies common names. When I was a real little kid, we had a beagle named Spotty. I can’t remember if he had spots. Maybe he just peed on the floor a lot. We also had a big, black dog with white paws named Bootsie and the best dog I ever had as a kid, Freckles. She did have freckles.
But none of our pets had common names. That was because of my Dad. He always warned us to never give our pets human names. He said that if they ever got lost, we’d have to walk through the neighborhood yelling out a name like, “Eddie! Eddieeeeee!” He said that the people in the neighborhood would think it was some little kid who got lost and they’d call the cops on us.
Shimai got his name because my girlfriend at the time was Japanese, and we wanted a cool Japanese name for him. She called her elderly father in Hawaii and asked him what the Japanese equivalent for “last boy” was, because Shimai was the last of his litter when we adopted him.
Her dad told us that the expression or word was “Shimai”. I don’t know if that’s true. Her Dad was pretty old at the time and I think he was going by what little he remembered about the language from his parents. It’s been 19 years and I’m afraid to ask anyone with a good grasp of Japanese what “Shimai” means. I don’t want to find out that his name is like those trendy Chinese character tattoos that are supposed to be “Peace”, or, “Strength” but really mean something like “egg foot”.
I just don’t want to find out that Shimai in Japanese really means “faucet part”.
More Stories Of A Cat
There are more stories, of course. I’ll post them from time to time, with more pictures of The King of the Whole Damn Place. I’ll include Hokulele, Shimai’s adopted sister who now reigns as Queen of the Whole Damn Place.
Tell me about your cat or favorite pet in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!