Avery the Cat! He’s the cat who was born with an exclamation point!
It was five years ago tonight Avery and I made our acquaintance. Stephanie had a tip on another cat — we had only just begun to search for a worthy successor to the late and legendary Bernie — but Avery made his availability known and she scooped him right up, recognizing talent the moment it licked her on the face. Off into a cab they went and then onto the Long Island Rail Road. Avery was just a couple of months old and he was already commuting.
This was our initial thinking after Avery got off the train:
Such a cute little kitten! But we have to be careful. He’s new, and with older, warier Hozzie around, we just can’t let him wander at will right away. We have to break him in to his new surroundings, like we did Hozzie. We have to get him through his nervousness. We’ll set him up in the bathtub and close the door, because he’ll be shy and…
Forget the best laid plans of us and adopted kitties. Avery was comfortable among Princes about five seconds after he came home. He jumped out of his temporary bathtub encampment and into my lap. He wanted to be around us. He wanted to be around Hozzie. Hozzie preferred to hide under a bookshelf during Avery’s first weekend (same place he mourned big brother Bernie’s passing that May). Avery was his polar feline opposite, in campaign mode from the word “meow”. Hi, he’d say, practically sticking out his paw, I’m Avery the Cat and I’m running for the office of your affections. Can I count on your vote?
He was elected in a landslide.
Hozzie eventually emerged from hiding. Avery never hid. Avery was front and center, our featured kitty. Their chemistry developed slowly, but mine and Avery’s was instantaneous. One minute I was trying to confine him to the bathtub, and before the minute was out, he was my living room companion of record. As a bonus, Avery arrived just in time to catch (or maybe magically spur) the 2005 Mets’ late-season revival. They, too, were hiding under a bookshelf, dropping from 68-60 at the tail end of August to 71-75 by mid-September. Avery jumpstarted them toward 2006. His first night, Pedro Martinez shut out the Braves. After two weeks with Avery on their side, the Mets were 83-79 and bursting out of their own bathtub.
It was a heady time for Mets and cats. It’s still a heady time for Avery. He and Hozzie are old pals now, having progressed from strangers on the carpet to colleagues in the kitchen to something approaching brothers in arms…or legs. He continues to live up to his title as World’s Most Interactive Cat, never shying from Stephanie and finding me cozily amenable after a half-decade of relentless interaction.
Quite a ride these first five years with Avery…I mean Avery! Looking forward to seeing where else he takes us!
Meanwhile, I’d like to take you to lunch at Bronx Banter, my favorite blog of a different stripe. It’s safe to eat there, despite some unsavory elements you might have read about elsewhere.