Memoirs of a Patriarch: Strypes (circa 1995 – 2007), Chief Temple Guard of Strathclyde – R. I. P

When he came to Strathclyde almost a decade ago I didn’t like him at first, since back then I was a dog-lover. My mom had her first diabetic surgery not long after I was married, and when she came to recuperate at me? He kept her company while both the wife and I were working.

It was the eldest step-daughter who raised him when he was a kit, but it was the 2nd Step-Daughter who brought him here as he was the most docile of the felines my wife had on the East Coast – Strypes, aka: Strypo or Strypey-Baby… He started the feline tribe we have, but not in the conventional way! Later, he adopted Simmy (short for Simonea kind of tribute to another cat the madam had, Timon, who was Strypes’ older brother), who we later discovered was pregnant and just as the first X-Men film was released in Barbados, she delivered three bundles of trouble/joy…

Simon (for his mom’s name and his pattern like hers) was first and born feet first, then Tipi (short for Tiger-Paws, I always maintain she is Strypes’ last hurrah before he got snippedshe also bears an uncanny resemblance to an Egyptian Mau like in Catwoman with Halle Berry) and finally Spitfire (black and white dynamo that hissed a lot, she and Strypes did not agree at first as there was a black cat that had turf wars with Strypes, must have thought it was his child – could very well be) later Mimosa then Mimmo or Mimmy-Wimmy for shorter, kinda….

Ginja, Patch and Tudie have their own tales – but would not be part of the clan were it not for the short-haired tabby who ruled the Strathclyde roost. He made no bones of it either, when we had the house blessed he lay on his back with his goods exposed to the priest who later married us and made the man wonder if he was alive!

Strypes adored attention and clean sheets right to the end – if we were asleep and he wanted rubbing then at 2:00 am you would have claws embedded in your flesh so as to wake and rub him until he drooled. A regular man about town, he could defend himself with ease – be it ganging up on the same black cat with his step-son Simon or to slap the then-new dog Lady Brown Suga in a style I called Cat-Fu one Xmas.

With our bed? If we had it with the same accoutrements for a while, then he stayed away – but if you put on just dried sheets and pillowcases? Strypes lay on the bed before you could place the quilt! We never told him, he just KNEW…

I totally melted to Strypes when I was visiting the UK for business in September 2000, when I came back to the island he would not stop following me – if I lay on the bed? He would roll into a ball and push himself into the small of my back! I was a Cat Person from that day forth – “Dogs have Family; Cats have Staff – if you call a dog they run, but fetch a cat and they take a message and debate on returning the call” but I didn’t care, he ADORED me and that was all that mattered!

Excerpts from a Dog‘s Diary

8:00 am – Dog food! My favorite thing!
9:30 am – A car ride! My favorite thing!
9:40 am – A walk in the park! My favorite thing!
10:30 am – Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!
12:00 pm – Lunch! My favorite thing!
1:00 pm – Played in the yard! My favorite thing!
3:00 pm – Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!
5:00 pm – Milk bones! My favorite thing!
7:00 pm – Got to play ball! My favorite thing!
8:00 pm – Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favorite thing!
11:00 pm – Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!

Excerpts from a Cat’s Diary

Day 983 of my captivity.

My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets.

Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength. The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape. In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet.

Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates what I am capable of. However, they merely made condescending comments about what agood little hunter” I am. Bastards!

There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event.

However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power ofallergies.”

I must learn what this means, and how to use it to my advantage. Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking.

I must try this again tomorrow — but at the top of the stairs.

I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches. The dog receives special privileges.

He is regularly released – and seems to be more than willing to return.

He is obviously retarded.

The bird has got to be an informant. I observe him communicate with the guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. My captors have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell, so he is safe.

For now…

Strypes was very much like Michael Franks‘ “Tiger In The Rain” in that he would go INTO a downpour and become a soggy moggy but in the hopes you would dry him off and thus be FORCED to rub him!

Most of the time
He’s the lord of the jungle
Everyone grins while he gripes
Usually he’s found just
Lounging around in his stripes

His tiger lady’s
A superfine feline
Just what his highness deserves
A sweet purring pussycat
Proud of her pussycat curves

He’s a tiger in the rain
It’s the thunder and lightnin’
He can’t explain
A tiger in the rain
Who’s frightened

Caught in the storm he came
Searching for shelter
Right up to me and my spouse
Both stroked his chin and
Invited him into the house

He’s a tiger in the rain
It’s the thunder and lightnin’
He can’t explain
A tiger in the rain
Who’s frightened

He’s a tiger in the rain
It’s the thunder and lightnin’
He can’t explain
A tiger in the rain
Who’s frightened

But, as Prince says, parties weren’t meant to last – I did mention earlier this year Strypes had a tooth removed, and we thought it was gingivitis? Nope, CANCER, this was discovered after browbeating the madam today to make her take him to another vet for a second opinion and we learned the very hard way. He had a month left if that much – it would be extremely painful. Vanity said he had two large tumours on each side of his tongue and inside of his mouth was GREEN – if you touched his gums, they just spouted blood! So he never really closed his mouth properly and that’s why he had bad breath and drooled all the time even when not rubbing the poor fellow!

So she called me during my lunch and then I had the delightful choice, have him “rested” now or let him suffer for about 4 to 6 more weeks? I understand the choice of Solomon now… I love the little lad dearly and that is why even though I want him around, I said what I had to say, hope he’s happier now and being lazy like Garfield on eternally clean sheets (some poetic license next) –

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,

Prevent the [cat from miaowing with a meaty fish bone].

Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He is Dead,

Put cr?pe bows round the white necks of the public
doves, Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,

My working week and my Sunday rest,

My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song,

I thought that love would last forever: ‘
I was wrong

The stars are not wanted now, put out every one;

Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;

Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.

For nothing now can ever come to any good.

3 Responses

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  1. very sorry to hear about the death of your cat. not sure but is 12 years a long time for them to live?

    oh and that part about the cat’s diary is hilarious

  2. I am so sorry for your loss. Loosing a pet is loosing a family member.
    Loved the article and the poem.
    I strongly believe that we will be reunited with our pets.
    Any body who had a close relationship with an animal knows that animals have a spirit.
    A clerical person once told me, that if god feels you need comfort and a special love in your live, he will send you a cat or a dog.
    A strange and wonderful thought. If this is true all of us animal collectors are truly blest,
    Because we are never without love.
    I pity the people who don?t have animals their don?t know what their missing.
    I am sure Strypes very much appreciates the great life you gave him.
    Each time I loose an animal I treasure the ones left behind even more.
    Cornelia Coulthrust

  3. I thank you both for sharing and caring, I still get a bit emotional – but Jdid? 12 years is a good while for a cat but they have been known to live even longer, like 22 years.

    My father had one dog live until it was 15 and another til it was 17!

    It was the cancer which reduced Strypo’s time with us, and even now the other cats are walking around searching for him, they do miss him – he was a very lovable and loving li’l fellow!


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