If you know
the Horners you know that we love us some cats. I don't, in fact, remember my life
without a cat.
I converted my husband, Fred, to love cats too...although he won't really admit it readily. Our girls all love cats in varying degrees. It's safe to say--we are cat people.
I have had the best experience with all of my cats, and have never been without one in my entire 50 years of life.
was Bootsy. She and I grew up together.
When she was put down when I was 13 years old I
cried for months afterwards. She was my most best friend.
I had a difficult time when we moved from Windsor to South Windsor. I was bullied pretty badly. You'll read more about that in a later blog post. Bootsy would greet me at the end of each day
by kissing me through the bars of the railing of the upstairs staircase.
She seemed to sense I needed a friend. She never left my side. A beautiful
angora Persian black and brown beauty. I still think of her.
|The first cat in my family tree. Bootsy Horner.|
We're not sure what
happened to her that caused her injury. What I remember is that one day she came
in from being outside and she couldn't walk. She dragged herself into our
downstairs bathroom and wedged herself between the wall and the toilet. We wondered if maybe she had been
hit by a car. My mother was going to be bringing her to the vet later that
day. I snuggled up to Bootsy before school that morning. I remember she was
grooming herself. She wouldn't let anyone touch her but me. I pushed my face into her
fur as she gave herself a bath. I told her I loved her. She licked me on the top of my head.
My mother had
her put down that day while I was at school. The vet recommended it because of
her age. He said they could explore what was going on but the cost and recovery
would probably be too much. I didn't understand. But I know my mother loved
her too and wouldn't have put her down easily. All I knew was that I was
|My Dad petting Bootsy|
brought into the Horner family a year before I was born. She was my big
"sister. " I'm told it was love at first site for both of us. My
mother, who, went back to
work when I was very little, liked to tell the story of how Bootsy liked to
protect me from strangers.
One of the
earliest jobs I remember my mother having was at The Windsor Towne House. As of
2013 it still stands in Windsor. Back then it was a place for business men
who were working for long term assignments at various Hartford area businesses. I
think a lot of engineers like my Dad. My mother liked to entertain. My
parents were separated or divorced at this time. I don't remember which. I
remember my mother would invite men and women who didn't have a place to go for Christmas to our home for Christmas dinner. My mom just didn't want people to be
alone for Christmas. I'd like to think I
inherited that feeling. I open my home
to all on Christmas Eve and have had many "orphans" on this night. And I love it.
But back to
cats. On those nights that mom had
parties and strangers were over, Bootsy would
sit at the top of the stairs and glare down at everyone . She frequently
planted herself right in front of my bedroom door if strangers were over and I
was asleep. Mom liked to say she was protecting me.
remember how we got Munchkin. My mother called her Nadia. Everyone was enthralled
with the gymnast Nadia Comaneci, who just scored a perfect 10 in the Olympics. The
name didn't stick. Everyone else called her Munch. I remember she was a sweet
thing. She was a gray and white tabby. I
never grew as close to her as I had
Bootsy. But I loved her. She lived with my mother right thru the time she moved to
Westfield, Massachusetts and I was in college. I don't remember how she died. For some reason I think it was diabetes. I know I was
grown and my mother was close to her and they were great companions.
|The only good photo I have of Munchkin. |
She looked a lot like Boo-Boo Kitty.
One of the
stipulations I had when I married Fred was that I needed to have a cat right
away. He was fine with it but he wasn't really a pet kind of person. He had all
kinds of random pets growing up but they never stayed around for one reason or
another so he never really formed that magical bond between a pet and their owner.
He would soon know that incredible love!
A few weeks
before we got married, my sister in law, Carol Horner, took in a stray cat. The
cat, it was soon discovered, was pregnant. Fred and I had plans to move into
our new house about a month after we got married, so I thought it was fate that
there would be some kittens available that I could choose from to make our new
house truly a home!
were born a week or so before the wedding and Fred and I went to take a look
and choose one. Fred’s only condition was that we had to have a male cat. He
felt female cats were moody and unfriendly (not true, of course). I didn’t care
what sex we got…I just knew I needed a kitty. We chose a name in advance.
Boo-Boo. Fred won’t like this story getting written down for all generations to
see, but Boo was an affectionate name that I had for him early in our
It was adorable, trust me.
choose a black and brown newborn male and named him Boo-Boo. The plan was he would stay with his Mama until he was old enough to leave her which would be
about the time we were moving into our new home. Carol was happy to take care
of him until we were ready for him.
came, and then our 2 week honeymoon. First a week in San
Diego, California and from there a cruise to Mexico. When we returned, Carol
had left a message for me to call her. I was crushed to hear that little Boo
Boo had died. Another one of the kittens had died as well and Carol’s theory
was that because the mom was a stray, she was not healthy herself and her babies
|Our sweet Boo-Boo Kitty (1988-2008)|
Carol felt so
terrible that “our” kitten had died, that before we got back from our honeymoon
and had found out, she went up to a farm she knew of in Stafford Springs,
Connecticut that had kittens for adoption and chose one for us. He was waiting for us at her house.
There we met
the love of our family’s life. Boo-Boo Joseph Hawran.
He was a gray
tabby with white paws and a white tummy. And the most precious baby boy you
have ever seen in your life. Carol chose him from the other kittens because he
had such a sweet nature. We had 20 wonderful years with Boo Boo. The day we had
to put him down due to cancer in his jaw was the day our hearts broke in pieces. Fred
cried as hard as I did that day.
We used to
joke that we had Boo Boo longer than we had our daughters. He was, in all
senses of the word, spoiled rotten. He was our baby before we had babies.
incredibly smart. People smart. When he wanted to go outside, he would ring
this silver bell we had hanging on our front door handle. He taught himself to
do that. It was simply left there one Christmas. All of a sudden he started
ringing it. People were astonished he taught himself. But we weren’t. That was Boo-Boo.
When we first
moved to Hope Circle, Fred and I used to take walks after dinner. We would start up
Hope Circle to Rood Avenue and I would glance back and there was
Boo-Boo—trotting after us. Wanting to walk with us. Almost to the end of Hope
Circle. It took us some convincing and explaining to get him to go back home. We were worried about him wandering too far away from home if he walked with
later he could tell time. Seriously.
I worked at
home doing web design. The girls were all in Oliver Ellsworth School. I would easily
loose track of time while I working. But not Boo-Boo. He knew the girls would
be coming home soon, and he would come into my office and meow to go out around
2:45pm. Loudly. The bell was gone at that point. And he would pace around. And
bother me. Until I let him out. It took me a while to figure it out. I would
glance out my office window. Every day he would trot out to the front lawn and
sit and wait. Several minutes later the bus would roll up to the front of our
house. Boo-Boo would stand up. The girls would get off the bus. Boo-Boo would
run over to the them to greet them (and be greeted by them).
it. Other kids would comment on it, “Is that your cat waiting for you?”
There were a few times over those years they
were all talking with each other and would run past him accidentally on the way into
the house. He would look stunned when that happened. They would always realize it and run back to love him.
He loved to
be outside while they were playing. Or if Fred was working in the yard. He
would sit under a bush in the shade and just watch. He’d come over once in a
to make sure you knew he was there and get some love.
|Boo-Boo's usual cuteness|
always came in at bedtime. You would just call him and he would come in. No
worries. Once when he was younger he was gone for a few days. I scolded him
about it and it never happened again.
He was a dream
because he never used a litter box. We trained him to go outside. Even in the
He got the
“good” seat on the couch. Boo-Boo had his favorite seat and if you were in it,
he would circle around from the family room to the kitchen, back to the family
room to see if you moved yet. He was polite about it. Boo-Boo was always
polite, we used to joke. But by the third time he circled around and stood
there looking at you—you felt guilty. And you moved somewhere else. To another
seat, to the floor—wherever. And Boo-Boo would happily jump up to his seat,
take a bath and go to sleep.
We have had
other cats since. All just as loved and adored and worshipped.
Bow. He was a
black and white little boy I got from my friend Denise. Michelle and he
each other. He would let her hold him like a baby and she would rub his big rabbit feet. Bow Francis was his legal name. He had a wild spirit and went out for long stretches of time. But he was a sweet boy. One time he came back with the tip of his ear chewed off. He went outside one night and never came back. We think he met an untimely demise due to another animal. After Bow I never let our cats out again. I just couldn’t
face losing another one.
We don't have a lot of photos of Bow. Here he is. Can you see
the notch out of his ear on the left? (1998-2009)
BJ. He was a
sweet tiger cat. BJ Lawrence. Our girls gave all of our cats a middle name, if you haven't noticed. He was from the CT Humane Society. But he was a nervous sort. Not at the very beginning, but definitely as he got older. It
ended up he had heart problems. He used to sit on the kitchen stool all the
time. He was afraid of Buddy, our next
cat. Sadly, he died on our bathroom rug after a blood clot made his legs useless and
his heart gave out. He meowed during the night and I layed down with him and stroked his back as he passed away. Fred had to
take him to the animal hospital for cremation. I was too sad.
Buddy Arthur Hawran, about 3 months after we took
him home from the vet. BJ wasn't hiding on the kitchen chair yet.
next. Buddy Arthur Hawran. We had just put Boo-Boo down a few months prior. I walked into my vet
with BJ for an exam and he said in his Indian accent, “Ohhhh…you need a new
kitty. This one is perfect for you. He needs a home.” I said absolutely not.
My heart was still too broken over the loss of our Boo-Boo. Sara was with me. No, no, no, I said. Just take a look, he said. Well,
of course, that’s all it took. Buddy snuggled right into the crook of my neck.
He was a kitten that Hartford animal control found on the streets of Hartford
during sub zero weather. He had an upper respiratory infection and was not ready
to go home quite yet. He gave kisses to Sara. Snuggled and purred with me. I had to have him. Of course. Darn cat love.
Then came Stuart. We
decided after BJ died that Buddy needed a playmate. So Katie, Michelle
and my niece Lisa all headed to the CT Humane Society. There we met this
adorable Ginger named Stuart. So, breaking with the “B” theme of our cats, we
kept his name and brought this hilarious guy into our family. His middle name? Ward. After some kid that Michelle went to school with. A kid she didn't even like much, apparently. But it suited him, anyhow. I honestly think
that next to Boo-Boo, he is the smartest cat I have ever known. He has
incredible patience and a long memory. If he wants to get into something…he’s
gonna figure it out. His specialty is chewing plastic bags. And headphone cords. Yeah, he's weird. But we sure love him.
|Stuart Ward Hawran. Thanksgiving 2014. Deciding he|
wants to help set the table with me.
Life is sweet
with cats. They are each so individual, and I know they are spoiled, loved and
cherished beyond belief. Cats rule!
Labels: BJ, Bootsy, Buddy, Cats, Family History Blog, Genealogy, Genealogy Blog, kitties, Stuart