My former wife grew up with cats.  I used to say they were so Catholic, they didn’t have their cats fixed.  On the other hand, I hated cats. My mother was petrified of cats, and we never had one, nor were there any in the neighborhood.  I always had dogs and still do. My ex used to scoff at dogs, and sing praises about cats. As she said so often:

“DOGS DROOL AND CATS RULE.”

I never knew what that meant, but it seemed derogatory to dogs and praised cats.  To this point I believed cats were totally useless and dumb. For whatever reason, I decided to get a cat for my wife for Christmas of 1997.  My three sons knew about it and were wild with excitement:

“This is truly going to be a Christmas to remember.  Mom is going to love having a cat”. Sounded good, and I believed it but you need to know that I knew nothing about cats.  This was going to be sheer luck, but as I believed all cats were stupid and useless, there was no luck at all. I couldn’t get a “good” cat.  No such thing.

By prearrangement I had someone pick up the cat at the Humane Society and meet me for the transfer on Christmas morning.  My ex had already opened her $5000 dollars of Christmas gifts which she would return and upgrade the next day. I said I had to go to the office for a minute.  Soon I met the person who carried to my truck an orange cat—also called a tiger cat. I didn’t even have a box for him and threw him in the back seat of the truck, as if he were a dog.  The cat jumped on my shoulder and began to purr. 

I was impressed.  It took ten minutes to get home and the cat never left my shoulder and never stopped purring.  A really friendly cat—or was he?

I walked in holding the cat and announced to my wife that the cat was hers and it was time for her to have a cat.  She was thrilled.

DOGS DROOL AND CATS RULE—her words, not mine.

I tried to hand her the cat and all Hell broke loose.  The cat began to hiss and tried to claw her. He would have no part of her.  He jumped off me and went and hid behind the Christmas tree. I didn’t think much of it, and neither did my ex.

“He’s got to be terrified,” she lamented.  I didn’t say anything, but he was not terrified with me.  A few minutes later she left the room and the cat immediately came out and jumped in my lap and began to purr.  I gave him to one of my kids and the cat was warm, but not like he was with me. But he did not hiss and claw. When she reappeared, the cat ran behind the tree and we could hear it hissing.  He would get used to her with time. Frankly, I found it a bit funny. Her cat hated her and loved me.

She got very frustrated over time and got another cat which was as stupid as a plug—what I thought all cats were.  We named the tiger cat Nick, and although I would have bet my life that no cat knows its name, I might have lost the bet with Nick.  Nick’s love for me and hatred of her only intensified with time. In March of the next year, my ex left and I stayed in the house with Nick and the dogs.  Soon I got a property list that she had made and given to her lawyers. There were three hundred items on it and the first was a box of kosher salt. I scanned the list and found only one item that I seriously objected to, and that was Nick the Cat.  I told her lawyer that she could have all the items on the list and I wasn’t asking anything in return—but not Nick the Cat. She was adamant that that cat was given to her (and it was) and was non-marital property. The first note I got from her was that she expected me to support her to a standard of living which she had enjoyed as my wife.  Ah, how quickly they learn. But Nick was another matter.

Even if she made Nick like her (impossible) she did not have the place for an outdoor cat.  Nick loved the outdoors, and I could provide it.

I had been without Nick for months and moved to my place in Rangeley.  I had replaced the box of kosher salt and all the other crap, but I missed that dam cat.  I bought a dog and named him Linus. Although I did not know anything about it there was a war going on between one of my kids and his mother.  Nick the Cat was scheduled to be put down because he was “unmanageable”. My son went nuts and read his mother the riot act—and she deserved it and then some.  Having a cat killed just so as not to give it to your ex is as cruel as anything I have heard of.

My son called and said he was coming up to see me.  He arrived carrying a small crate. There was something orange and moving in it.  My heart began to race. It was Nick. The door was opened and Nick came flying out and jumped in my lap and began to purr. My son was amazed.

“He didn’t forget you, did he?” he mused.

Linus appeared and he and the cat fought and Linus lost.  Linus lost every battle with that cat and never learned. When my son left, I took Nick for a walk and he had acres to hunt.  And he loved all people-especially children. He would be gone for days, but always returned. He left my side and went in the woods and began to hunt.  I was worried he would not find his way back, but he did. He had brought back two dead squirrels and a mole. He did that regularly, and it is part of a real cat.  One day there was a wedding at Loon Lodge and as the ceremony started outdoors, Nick appeared and curled up on the bride’s dress. The ceremony continued with Nick in attendance and he was famous for that.  On occasion he would sneak into Loon Lodge and appear in the dining room, which was crammed with patrons. When he came home, he would climb up the side of the house and scratch at a window. He was one in a million!

He spent many years with me and tormented Linus.  He loved the other dogs and played openly with them.  On one occasion I saw him nuzzling with a coyote on my front lawn.  That was a bit much, but he knew what he was doing. He came home one day and was terribly hurt.  He had a broken tail and that is a death knell for a cat. I had him put down.

CATS RULE AND DOGS DROOL—you got that right dear.

MARKET REPORT

Sideways is the best I can do.  Boeing got clobbered with the loss of the jewel of its fleet in Africa.  The worst large cap stock in the last year is GE. Just because you buy good stocks does not mean you can’t take a bath.  This market is getting long in the tooth and has problems to overcome. Tax revenues which were predicted to go up with the “tax cut” have not and the deficit is a real problem.  The trade deficit which was going to be cured under this administration has grown to its largest amount in a decade. It is still too early to say these problems won’t correct in time, but we are off to a bad start,  Also, impacting the market and the economy was that absurd government shutdown.