Once upon a time (September 2000) near Detroit a tiny striped kitten was born. To whom or in what circumstances, no one knows. Only a few weeks had passed, however, before this little guy was left to make his own way in the world. A kindly middle-aged lady named Marilyn picked him up, however, and took him into her suburban home and fed him formula and took good care of him, even though she couldn’t keep him. Until one day her neighbor’s niece Mickey came to visit, in Michigan for a NASCO conference on co-op living. Even though Mickey and her co-op back in Urbana, Illinois, already had two young cats, she couldn’t help but bring this little kitty home.
They named him Fritz. That was Mickey’s great-grandfather’s name and Lars’s father’s name (cat-like people, perhaps?). Fritz lived with cats Fernando and Sasha and humans Mickey, Lars, Andy and Brian for a year, then moved with the whole co-op over to Champaign to become a founding member of Phoenix House.
That’s where I met him, barely out of out of kittenhood, all splay-legged and wide-eyed, with the biggest ears and the longest tail you ever saw. He especially liked to hide in small, dark places:
It didn’t really matter if the others could see him:
Phoenix House human members came and went over the next few years. Mickey and Lars got married and moved to Denmark in 2003, and one of the new people to replace them was He Who Would Become Mr. Merp. He is a good cat person, and pretty soon all three cats figured out that his bed was the place to be:
And in fact, so did I. So by the summer of 2005, we left Phoenix House together for an apartment in Urbana. And we took Fritz with them. Fernando stayed at Phoenix House and Sasha had, sadly, run away for the last time that spring.
There was some anxiety as Fritz adjusted to his new lifestyle:
But he got over it. Always 3rd on the totem pole with the other cats, now he was Mr. #1! He’d found his voice and learned to use it! Did he ever. There was an ongoing debate over how much he should be fed and when. Fritz doesn’t see the point of sleeping in. He was so important now that Mr. Merp made him his very own house:
But then the bad thing happened. After we had left him alone for a very long time over the holidays–with a nice enough catsitter, but still very inconsiderate–we brought home a PUPPY. Fritz did not approve. Fritz had things to say:
But Fritz did NOT smack the puppy around. Despite the fact that he is 17 lbs to Pisco’s 4 (upon arrival), Fritz is letting the puppy call the shots, while he stays up in his tower most of the time. This is unfortunate.
But they don’t hate each other, and Fritz is a very smart cat. He’ll figure something out.