Sep 072013

We used to have a cat named Tarka. (It’s a Hungarian word for mottled, spotted, etc.) She showed up at our doorstep in 1999. Winter was just around the corner, the cat was obviously not doing well outside, and no-one was looking for her… so one day, we let her in.

Tarka was “not a very polite cat,” as a neighbor described her one day. Her characteristic sounds were hissing and howling, especially at other cats.

One such other cat was Bill, another stray that showed up in the neighborhood. Eventually, Bill was adopted by some people across the street, but in the winter of 1999/2000, Bill was still an outdoor cat who occasionally showed up on the small deck just outside our kitchen glass sliding door.

One morning, Tarka noticed Bill outside and she began howling. My video camera (yes, it was that long ago) was handy, so I started taping. The concert went on for several minutes until Bill got bored and left. But not before our other cat, Marzipan, showed up on the scene, no doubt wondering what this racket was all about.

Sadly, none of these cats are around anymore. The first one to leave us was Marzipan; ten months after this video was made, lymphoma killed him.¬†Tarka stayed with us for another 11 years, until her ailing kidneys took her away. She mellowed as she aged, but she never really became what I would call a “polite” cat. And Bill spent 13 years with the family that adopted him before he, too, died earlier this year.

We have several other cats, who will hopefully stay with us for a long time. But I doubt we’ll ever have another cat as unique as Tarka was.

 Posted by at 10:22 am