Looking through my files this seems to be the only existing photo of my orange tabby cat Mick. This would have been taken in the mid 70s, I believe. Over the years every scrap of color and contrast had drained out of the photo, but thanks to the miracle of Lightroom I was able to bring some of it back.
When we moved into the house in West Los Angeles, my dad was totally against having another cat. At this point in time we had left England an eternity ago and moved a million times all over the known universe. So finally settling in a house was a minor miracle and I missed having a cat for most of my teenage years.
My mother missed having a cat too so she plotted against my father by allowing me to keep “caged” white mice in my room. I put the word “caged” in parenthesis as they had the mysterious habit of breaking out every night and ending up in the pantry. Looking back now I wouldn’t have put it past my mother, in her bid for a cat, to be the perpetrator, but I don’t have any proof.
Before long the mice were banished to the garage and a cat arrived on the premises!
I wanted to call him Ringo Starr, my favorite member of the Fab Four band but my mother was adamant that she was not going to be out in the street calling Ringo in for dinner every night. So I settled on Mick Jagger, and as she had no idea who the Rolling Stones were, she was okay with the name Mick!
At first my dad refused to let the cat in the house. Then he said it was okay for him to be in the house but NOT in the living room. Then he said Mick could be in the living room but definitely NOT on the sofa where he liked to sit.
Mick being a pretty bright cat sensed that my dad didn’t like him. So in the evenings when my mother, father and I were sitting in the living room watching TV, Mick would make a bee line for my dad, jumping up on the sofa and attempting to sit in his lap. Of course, my father would throw him back on the floor and Mick would immediately bounce up again. This went on for some time.
My mother then came up with the bright idea of placing an old towel on the sofa next to my father’s spot. Mick figured out what was going on and that became his evening perch. Mick and my dad became pals, each with their own special space on the sofa.
Mick became best friends with the cat across the street, Ling-a-Ling. The two of them spent most of the daylight hours in the garage staring intently at the poor mice, at first trembling in fear in the corner of their cage! I think the mice got over it after a while as they realized the cats could not get to them. Strange to say, once they moved to the garage the mice never escaped their cage again. Hmmm….
When I moved out of my parents’ home I had to leave Mick behind as I lived in a small apartment. And anyway, he would have missed his ‘hood.
A few years after this Ling-a-Ling’s family moved away. As the two cats were inseparable friends, my mother even asked the family if they would leave Ling-a-Ling with her. But no deal. Mick was left to mope around on his own.
Time passed and Mick became ill. My mother wanted my vote on the inevitable decision. But I was a coward and told her to do what she thought was best.
And so Mick crossed over the Rainbow Bridge to his new life. I am sure there are white mice over there too. And Mick, Ling-a-Ling and the mice are enjoying their days as one happy family!
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