Above is a little animated gif I had up on an old website of my two cats Fitz, a gray stripe tabby and Foothill, black and white.
I don’t remember the exact dates but they were around in the 80s and 90s.
I was a big Gilbert & Sullivan fan at the time. I named Fitz after Captain Fitzbattleaxe, First Life Guards from the operetta Utopia, Limited. Utopia was the second to last collaboration and not very popular. But I liked the name, even though Fitz was a girl.
Fitz was another case of a cat adopting humans. When we visited the West Los Animal Shelter she was the one cat who stuck her paws out of the cage to wave at us. In those days they didn’t allow prospective adopters to handle the cats (a policy that has changed, thank goodness) so we couldn’t really tell too much about her personality.
On the way home in the car she was pressing her nose against the window like a dog, really excited about watching the scenery going by. Among all the cats I have had in my entire life, I have to say she was the most intelligent. I could go on and on with stories about her activities.
Foothill was named after Foothill Boulevard, the main street which runs for 60 miles east to west through the foothill districts and cities of Los Angeles. At about three weeks old he was found on that boulevard, flea-infested and starving, scavenging in a trash can in Tujunga.
I was working late and when I came home one night I walked into the dark kitchen. I accidentally kicked a box that was left on the floor… what the heck is this doing here, I thought. When I turned on the light and bent over to pick up the box I saw a tiny black and white bundle of fur… purring loudly.
We already had two cats, Felicity and Fitz and I had said “no more!” But he was such a sweetie and needed a good home, so after we named him, he became part of the family. Felicity was a feral cat and not allowed indoors as she had never learned to use a litter box.
When Fitz and Foothill met, for the first few days it was a contest of wills. Fitz was the dominant cat with Felicity and of course, wanted to hold that position in the hierarchy. Fitz by then was 9 months old and three times the size of Foothill. But Foothill was a scrappy little guy and would stand up on his hind legs to box Fitz on the nose!
Fitz and Foothill had an interesting relationship. Foothill was a little slow mentally, probably because of lack of nutrition in the first few weeks of life. He followed Fitz around like her shadow, doing everything she did. And as Fitz was so bright, she got into all kinds of adventures with Foothill willingly being her accomplice.
On the other hand, Foothill had shown his dominance with his physical strength which increased as he became healthier and bigger. Although both cats were fixed, Foothill’s favorite pastime was climbing on Fitz’s back and… do I have to go into the graphic details? Fitz was not having any of it and would turn around and howl at Foothill.
Sounds like the typical marriage, huh? You KNOW, I’m just kidding, right?
At the age of fourteen, Fitz had an accident, snapped her spine in two, and I had to put her to sleep. I’ll never forget waiting at the vet’s office with Fitz’s head resting on my shoulder, lifeless from the middle of her beautiful body on down to the end of her tail.
Foothill pretty much died that day too. He didn’t know what to do with himself and went into a deep depression. He would literally stand in one spot for an hour or more, suddenly keel over on the floor and then stay in that position for another hour or so. A year later he passed, I believe, with a broken heart.
Inseparable in life, I know they are now having all kinds of adventures on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge.
(The photos were scanned in from mostly long-faded prints but at least they are preserved forever.)
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