A Long Line of "Other Kitties"

by Tina Blue
December 17, 2000

          Several years ago I adopted a six-month-old feral stray, after his (also feral) mama was hit by a car near my home. My old cat Luke had a way of bringing home kittens for me to take care of, but this was the first really feral one. It took me two months to coax him into my home. During that time I had to lie on the ground (the parking lot of the apartment building, actually) near the food I had brought out, with my hand extended, so he'd get used to me and associate me with good things. (Think of Sigourney Weaver playing Diane Fossey in "Gorillas in the Mist.")

          I'd come out with the food and say, "Luke, where's your friend? Where's the other kitty?" Soon, the stray would come when I called "Other Kitty," so that became his name. After a friend let him escape while taking him to the vet, I spent weeks hunting for him. My heart was broken. My then fourteen-year-old son found another gray stray boy kitty a few months later, and we named him "Other Kitty, Too." He was killed by a car at eight months when he followed Michael down to the city's main street (Michael didn't even know he'd gotten out). Again my heart broke.

    I don't usually buy cats--I adopt strays or cats someone else is planning to dump at the Humane Society. But this was late November, when there are few cats available, and I needed another Other. I bought a gray marbled tabby Maine Coon kitten at the pet store, and he became "Another Other Kitty." This Other Kitty is still with me--and at six years old he is huge, as Maine Coon cats tend to be.

          The same day second Other died, I also adopted a girl kitty from the people upstairs, who were going to get rid of her. (Another of my cats, Gabby, is also one I adopted from them because they were going to take her to the Humane Society when she was ten years old.) The one I adopted from upstairs that day, Lila, actually looks more like first Other than third Other does (and more than second Other did), but at the time I also needed a boy Other to fill the space in my heart left by second Other. (Are you following this?).

          I usually do not use the same name on pets, but most of my pets live for a very long time, because I take really good care of them. My first two Others didn't finish with the name, so I had to keep using it. Weird, I know.

          My daughter wrote this limerick after we adopted first Other:

You know, I have such a strange mother.
She calls our second cat "Other."
I've a brother named Mike,
It's a name that I like,
But another she'd call "Other Brother."

          Having a cat named "Other" can create amusing situations.

          I live on the corner of two main thoroughfares in Lawrence. Cops often pull over speeders and red-light runners at this intersection and have them drive into our parking lot for their ticket. All of my cats are trained to come to me when I clap my hands, since I often lose my voice from teaching so much. One time, I was on my porch clapping loudly and calling, "Other! Other!" Then I suddenly noticed that the cop and the driver he had just pulled into our parking lot were staring at me. I guess they thought I was applauding the ticket and calling for another.

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