Our Feline Family Member Mr. Clarence the Cat
Our tabby cat Clarence – more properly, Mr. Clarence – came into our lives 10 years ago last summer. He is full-fledged member of the family in all respects – in fact, he is in many ways the center of the household. He is as quirky, dignified and lovable as his name suggests, a gentleman with definite needs and a heart full of affection.
My wife named him Clarence because we needed a nice, strong name to yell out when he committed some minor annoying act (knocking over papers, scratching on the carpet) to get attention.
He does this when he thinks his feeding schedule is running a tad behind. Once he has had a meal or a treat, though, he is content to plop himself down on the rug or curl up beside us on the sofa.
If left to his own devices, Clarence would be a rather overweight kitty. As it is, we help manage his hefty but not obese size by throwing an all-natural product suggested by his vet across the living room for him to chase. He seems to enjoy running after them. This limbers him up for more sustained play, like leaping into the air to catch a plastic ribbon or batting a rubber ball around the room.
Clarence has many endearing habits, like grunting loudly when he stretches or lying on his back with his front paws curled up. He is talkative and will modulate his meows according to the volume of my voice. We have had many soulful discussions that drop down to very soft tones.
He also has an obsession with shoes.
When I work in my office, Mr. Clarence comes by to say hello – not in hopes of being fed, but for a pat on the head and a hug. He is my buddy and confidant, a good soul with true depth of personality. You might say he embodies the name “Pet Me Happy.”
Barry Alfonso has written songs recorded by Johnny Cash, Pam Tillis and Olivia Newton-John, contributed articles to Rolling Stone and the Los Angeles Times and earned a Grammy Award for music journalism. He is currently active as a personal historian, freelance author and faithful servant to his cat Clarence.