Crumpet and Thor

Crumpet & Thor

They were "country cats," adopted in 1972 from a friend's farm in McGaheysville, Virginia. We decided to get two so they would have the opportunity to be cats as well as people. Since their mother was Muffin, Crumpet was an obvious choice for the female. We don't remember where the name Thor came from, but although we thought him to be a pussycat in demeanor, we later found out that the neighborhood children called him "Killer Thor."

One day a stray dog ran up the hill into our backyard. We chased him back but he only went part way, then hesitated. We chased him again, and still he hesitated. Then we saw why – Thor was coming up the hill, evidently herding him to some other preferred destination.

We installed a cat door, so they could come and go during the day – at night we would close it to keep them inside. There were times when they were relatively young that we would go on vacation for several weeks at a time and let them come and go as they pleased, although someone came in every day to replenish the food and water; and to pet anyone that was in the vicinity. When we returned, they would rebuff us for several days before finally deigning once again to accept our affections.

Although Thor was somewhat of a roamer, we didn't know the extent of his socializing until one day when we were talking with our neighbor from across the street, and she picked him up and said "How are you Thor?" He looked discomfited that we'd found out that he'd been a regular visitor in her house.

Crumpet was the stay-at-home greeter. She recognized the sound of our friend Ruth's vintage Cadillac and would go to the door to be let out when she heard it. She'd hurry down to meet Ruth, do a few side rolls, accept a few pets, and escort her back up the walk.

I guess we'll never know how many other friends she had, but a friend told us about a member of her car pool whose husband had recently died. She said one of his pleasant memories was when, during his walks, he would pass a house where a cat often would come down to see him. He'd talk to her and give her some pets before resuming his walk. Sure enough, it was Crumpet.

Since they were "outdoor" cats, we never expected they would reach the ripe old ages they attained. Particularly Thor, who would sleep in the street in front of the house, even in the middle of summer. One might think that with his thick fur coat he would prefer the shade of the nearby bushy Mountain Laurel. He did suffer various wounds over the years from unfixed tomcats – one was serious enough that he nearly lost his tail. I guess there were even bigger "killer cats" in the neighborhood.

Although one time when he seemed to be gaining more weight than we thought healthy, the veterinarian examined him carefully, then uttered those famous words "He is a large-framed cat!" (Both Crumpet and Thor were neutered at an early age. In fact, Thor suffered the indignity of having his stomach shaved before they realized he was male.) He lived to be over fifteen years of age, eventually succumbing to cancer.

Crumpet was, of course, more ladylike, rarely getting in fights. She was a master hunter, presenting us with moles on our doormat until none were left in our lawn. The cat door also allowed her to bring her edible catches indoors for more leisurely dining, with the unfortunate consequence that prey that had "played dead" would suddenly be flying or bounding around, chased by a frenzied cat or two, until we could open a door or window and persuade the panic-stricken animal to leave.

In 1989 Crumpet accompanied us when we moved to Germany for two years. She enjoyed her European stay, visiting Paris, and taking several other trips:

When we went on more distant trips, to the Canary Islands, Stockholm, or Greece, she would visit others at the Frankfurt site, or check-in to "Heidi's Tierpension" ("Tier" means pet in German) south of Frankfurt.

We fully expected that she would accompany us on our return in mid-1991, but I guess she decided that, at nearly age twenty she'd already experienced enough of life. This probably made her a centenarian in human terms, and, as Betty Lou noted, she had lived a full life – born a country cat, she grew up to travel the world, enjoying many different cultures and learning many foreign languages, all in Cat.

© Copyright 2002 Jack Ludwick - All Rights Reserved