Albert The Cat
From the desk of the Soul Stealing Ginger
March 13, 2013
I met Albert Buchanan when he was the tender age of six months. He was an inquisitive kitteh, always exploring, always trying to expand his knowledge of his universe. As a teenage kittah, he replicated the experiments of Sir Isaac Newton, independently proving the theory of gravity by dropping cookie jars from the top of kitchen cabinets and studying their behavior as they fell.
Perhaps I get ahead of myself. Albert had been adopted by the future EW at the tender age of two weeks. In the six months between his adoption, and my meeting him, he was declawed and un-tom-ed, though he remained untamed.
The later step was likely unnecessary. Albert was a rare calico male known as a Kleinfelter kitty. He had an extra X chromosome, a mutation that allowed his three colors, but also virtually guaranteed sterility.
Albert instantly decided that my lap was a worthy one and he made me his adoptive human almost as soon as we met. It would take another eighteen months for the future EW and I to take such a leap, but Albert and I were fast friends from the start.
Now, an interlude where I throw in some of my history. Growing up, I had limited pets. Every time Dad would get transferred, there was a risk that we could not take a pet. Germany, Korea, Hawaii, Alaska all had quarantine rules that made it almost impossible. When dad came back from Vietnam the last time we got a mutt, named 'Boyboy' by a not-so-creative older sister. We kept him for about eight years, until he just disappeared one day.
In Hawaii, as a teen, I adopted another mutt and a kitten, but they could never leave the island, so homes were found for them when we left.
As an adult, pets were not allowed in the barracks. Post-army, I had another kitty, but a prototype-EW took him when she moved out shortly after the kitty arrived.
I mention all of this to illustrate that I don't have a lot of history with pets. The first one that I REALLY bonded with was Albert.
Albert and I really got along. He used to sleep on my feet, or wrapped around my head if it was cold. When I was at my computer, he would perch on top of the big tube monitor and surf the interwebs with me.
He was surprisingly intelligent and grasped the purpose of a fence. When I taught him how to chase butterflies by the backyard lantana, he actually respected the boundary limits and stayed in the easily jumpable fence.
Albert had a medical issue that caused some problems with his eyes. He was FHV positive. It might have been from his mother the stray, or he might have picked it up from some strange pussy that he always seemed to have hanging about the backyard. No matter, he never let his social disease get him down.
A few times a year, he would get eye ulcers from the FHV. Sometimes they were bad enough that he needed to go to the UGA Vet school for treatment. He was a big hit there, with his XXY mutation.
In the dark days of 2004 and early 2005 -- when I really should have called the marriage quits -- one of the concerns that delayed me was the custody of Albert. Surely, as she had brought the kittah into the marriage, she would retain custody of him. My delay over this point proved to vastly complicate an otherwise simple legal procedure.
In early 2006, junior was born. But it was 2007 before the EW decided that Albert would steal the baby's breath, or claw him up, or somehow kill the infant (who by that time was almost two).
One day, she asked me to terminate Albert. Just take a rifle and whack the kitty in the back yard. Of course, I refused.
She bundled him up in his car carrier and drove him to Gainesville, Georgia, and left him with her mother and brother in a house full of strange dogs.
As could be expected, he did not thrive. A few months later, while I was at work, she drove to Gainesville, collected him and took him to a local vet to cure his terminal inconvenience.