My Tribute

 

 

 

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A brief chronology: Pito was born in Woodside, Queens (NYC) sometime in 1985, 1986 or 1987. He was one of a litter of six belonging to our (Cita's and mine) neighbour's cat. He offered one to us and we really had no choice. There were five ginger tabbies with six toes on each front paw and then there was this sole little black ball of fur with seven toes on his front paws (hence "Pito" which is "Seven" in the Philipine language, Tagalog).

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A very early memory I have of Pito is of a desparate "meow" coming from the living room in Queens - I ran from the kitchen to find Pito half way up the drapes and swinging back and forth - his claws had gotten stuck in the fabric and he could not get back down. In 1988 we moved to a townhouse in New Jersey. I fashioned a swinging door for him which allowed him easy access to the front yard and back into the house. At times I would here him taunting the local Tom cat and then I would see Pito flying through the swinging door and peering back at the big Tom cat through the kitchen window - I am sure he was saying "neh, neh, neh neh neh". He was very smart and never vicious (contrary to the opinion of some that were intimidated by his outsized paws and extra claws).

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He stayed in NJ for a year and then in April of 1989 moved to Manhattan as I was in Namibia and Cita had moved back into the City. We all moved back into the house in NJ in 1990 and then he moved with me to Manhattan again later that year. He stayed with me on 2nd Avenue until I left for Kuwait in 1991. He stayed on in Manhattan with Cita and then returned with me to my 2nd Avenue apartment late in 1992 when I returned from Kuwait. Then in 1993 Cita got custody of him as I was off to Zagreb and many other places. Between 1993 and 1998 Pito lived with Cita and her new family in NYC, Thailand and Switzerland.

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In the fall of 1998 Pito arrived in his travel box at the cargo area of the Skopje airport - he had just flown by himself from Zurich. I wondered if he would remember me as we had not seen each other in at least 4 years. I went up to the box, openned the door and called his name - "Meow", he said to me in his familiar and friendly voice and out he came looking majestic as ever (thank you Cita for taking good care of him), although a little stressed and anxious after the solo flight

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Although the time Pito spent with Bernadina and I in Skopje was fairly short, I have a feeling that it was some of the best times of his life as he had a beautiful garden to play in, two doting "parents" that spoiled him endlessly, a young male cat "ginger" that became his little buddy, the dumb collie across the fence that he endlessly tormented (read Bernadina's tribute) and of course there were the neighbour's dogs ("Mommy" and "Tonto") which he occasionally allowed into our house. I remember many cold winter nights in Skopje when both Bernadina and I would go off into the neighbourhood to search for him as he had not returned to the house by the established curfew time of midnite. We would return after 45 minutes of cold and fruitless searching only to find him waiting for us at the front door with a look on his face as if to say "where the hell have the two of you been knowing how hungry I must be after galavanting out in the cold for so long?".

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Pito moved up with me to Pristina in July of 1999 and lived in my fourth floor apartment on "Mother Teresa" street and was always there at the door to greet me no matter how late I would come home. He always slept by my feet on the bed and would let me cuddle up to him when I was often cold (no heat & electricity available) and lonely. He really was the best cat - he developed a cute habit here in Pristina, where he would sit next to me while I was eating in front of the TV. He would salivate as usual and wait for me to give him a piece of whatever I was eating. If I was eating something very spicy, I would first try to suck off the spices before putting the bit of meat (he also enjoyed eating beans) on the couch by my side for him to enjoy. He would then wolf it down and wait for 5 seconds before reaching over with his paw to remind me that he was waiting for his next piece. He would also do this if he felt that I had not been petted him long enough. Although my right hand still bares the scars of our "rough house" sessions, I can say that there was not a mean bone in his body. He loved dearly and was loved dearly - I loved him so much.

Bye bye Pito.