By Judy Reiss
It has been a long time since I told you about the furry members of our family, so it is about time. Actually, I really didn’t think about it, but Victor did and let me know that it was definitely time that I shared his “story” with you.
For those of you who don’t remember who Victor is, let me tell you about this wonderful boy cat. I am not really sure how old he is now, but I do remember that I heard an advertisement on The Trading Post on WDEV that someone had a Siamese kitten for sale. And as it happened, I was looking for a kitten since one of ours had passed away. So I took my grandson, McKinley, who was about 3 1/2 and we went to Barre to see this kitten. Of course, he was adorable and that was that. When we got into the car to come home, kitten and all, I asked Mac what he thought we should name him and with no hesitation he said, “Victor the Tree.” And Victor the Tree he became.
So, about 15-16 years later, Victor runs the Reiss household! Without a doubt, this is the most wonderful and weird cat we have ever had, and we have had several. But I think that Victor is the only cat we have ever had who has no idea that he is a cat. I used to think that he thought he was a dog, but over the years I have decided that I was wrong. I now believe that he just thinks he is a short, furry and smarter than average person. He does everything, and more than my children did when they were young, and as a rule he is much easier going!
When we go out during the day he, of course, stays home. Now he can come and go outside whenever he wants to and I assume that he does. However, he does not go outside to catch mice or any other wild creature. In fact, I think the thought of putting a live mouse or even a mouse part into his mouth would make him sick. But when we come home, he is always sitting on the trunk in our entry way and waiting to greet whoever comes in the door. And not always but quite often he will give a welcoming yowl and then jump onto Malcolm’s shoulders. Never on mine, however. And I must admit that sometimes he will jump to meet a stranger who is always surprised when this boy lands on their neck!
He bosses both the dogs around, and of course, now that our beloved James has passed, he makes every attempt to keep poor Yul in line. This past winter I did think that old Victor was looking quite thin and after a trip to the vet, found he has a condition that has to be controlled by taking a teeny, tiny pill twice a day. Giving an ordinary cat a pill is hard enough, but trying to give him a pill just isn’t possible. So we try and put it into his breakfast and his dinner. Needless to say, he wouldn’t even consider eating plain old cat food so we put his pill in tuna fish. And this worked pretty well for a few weeks. Now, twice a day, it is a game between us. I hide the pill in his tuna and he tries to find it and spit it out. Right now it is about a 50-50 score.
He, like the rest of the family, including my hibiscus tree, goes to the Cape for the summer. He loves it there because the Cape is one giant litter box! And although he is very neat and very private, he does like to try and shock visitors. This time when I tell you that this darling boy cat is better behaved than any of my children or even my grandsons ever were, believe it. He is very much like a 3-year-old toddler.
Once last thing that I should share with you is bedtime. At 9 p.m., it seems that all of my furry children can tell time. Regardless of whether I am reading or watching TV, they know it is time to go upstairs. If I ignore them they bark, whine, scratch or pick me until I can’t stand it any more and up we go. Once there, I sit in my chair and usually take off my shoes and turn on the TV, just for noise. And then both dogs and Victor get a piece of chicken jerky! The dogs, of course, get 3 pieces but Victor appears to be content with just one. And after I shower, we all get into bed while I read. Victor comes and goes but once Malcolm arrives he settles down for the night nested into Malc’s arms. And that is how we spend the night. Lily pins herself to my back. Rufus wherever he can sleep without getting too hot, Yul at my feet and Victor the Tree in his position of importance in Malcolm’s arm! And there he stays until he decides that it is time for the Reiss family to get up and begin another day. And we welcome the day together the same way we said good-night!