Even my blog featured him once in a starring role in one of my "Airline Fare School" series posts, in which he perfectly illustrated the fare concept of the open-jaw.
At 6:30 this morning Catdog was alive and well but soon to die an ugly death, killed by two dogs roaming our neighborhood. Not the way he would have chosen to leave this world, I'm sure, and definitely not the way I wanted.
That's how he got his name. Instead of slowly sizing me up, and then trepidatiously allowing limited contact at first, he bounded up to me on the back patio while I was reading, as if to say, "Go ahead and pet me. I want you to". More dog-like than cat-like.
Added to his sometimes dog-like behavior, was the historic fact that my father in silly moments would sometimes refer to cats as catdogs, and there you have his name: Catdog. (We didn't hear about the half-cat, half-dog cartoon character named Catdog until years later.)
He moved from being surreptitously fed (by me), to being openly fed (by both of us), to living in the Catdog Condo (a cardboard box with a blanket on it on the backdoor step), to full-fledged citizenship with in and out house-privileges which he liberally exercised.
Though never much of a hunter, Catdog was quite the fighter fearlessly taking on other cats who invaded his turf. From long ago he had a slightly shredded left ear, the result of a battle where he came out the loser. I have no idea of the number of times that we had to run outside to intervene because we heard the sound of an impending or ongoing cat fight. Surprisingly, Catdog was already a neutered male by the time he arrived on our shores, yet he acted as if he still had "them". Time and older age did seem to have mellowed him over the past two years, because the catfight became a rare event.
Except for two very bad bouts of ilness long ago (2001 and 2003) that had neurological symptoms, Catdog never again showed signs of FIV. Other than the low days now and then that any mammal can have, it was pretty clear that Catdog had boxed the virus into a corner.
Just the way that people get on with each other, pets and humans who live together acquire rhythms of expected behavior. It was no different with us. Between us and Catdog, it was mostly about food.
You have no idea.
One of my favorite memories of Catdog took place maybe 6 years ago. It was a warm summer day, and I was putting some clothes up on the backyard clothes line. I always liked to tease Catdog and I had been doing something - probably touching his belly which he didn't much like - while I was simultaneously dealing with the clothes. He grew tired of my being obnoxious and left the immediate area. But no more than a minute or two later he zoomed in, gave my calf a friendly little chomp and ran off again. Nice work, Catdog. I deserved it.
Because this spring has been so cool and wet, the clothes line hasn't gone up yet but I reckon it will in the next few weeks. When it does I'll probably be overcome with memories of my old friend.
You were a great cat, my best feline friend ever, and I'm going to miss you very much.