HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
February 5, 2007, Herald Journal

Tybalt the cat is a big fellow


Before Christmas, my daughter, Julie got roped into taking care of a cat.

One of the customers where she works adopted a baby, and needed to get rid of her German Shepherd. One of Julie’s co-workers was willing to take the dog, if someone took the cat off her hands. That’s how Julie ended up with Tybalt.

Tybalt is named after a character in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” Julie is his third owner, so she wasn’t the one to name him.

He seems well-trained, quiet, and is used to being with people. He isn’t fearful of strangers, and doesn’t act wild.

However, Tybalt is the biggest cat we have ever had. He has a tail like a coon. When he walks, it’s not the silent, stalking, slinky walk that most cats have. He makes a thumpety, thump noise, even when he walks on carpet.

Tybalt’s size is unnerving. He can jump to the top of an open door, and perch on the top ledge. When he yawns, his mouth is cavernous. His teeth are the size of a saber-tooth tiger’s.

Instead of climbing the stairs one step at a time, he leaps up the bannister, and in three jumps, he’s at the top.

Our cats in the past were either females or runts, so having a big cat like Tybalt in the house is a new experience.

Our other cats slept all the time. Tybalt, on the other hand, wants to play. Even though we ignore him, Tybalt pretends we are playing “Chase the Cat” with him. He will dash ahead of us as we walk across the room, and then peek around a far corner to see how close we are to catching him.

Sometimes, if we are closer than he expects us to be, he will turn so suddenly he’ll run smack into a wall or piece of furniture.

Recently, his fuzzy catnip toy got kicked under the freezer chest. I thought that would be the end of that toy. No. Tybalt’s front legs are so long, he easily reached under the freezer and pulled it out.

Tybalt loves to be with us, where ever we are. He will sprawl out full-length on the floor, and watch us, moving only his head. He’s mostly white, so it’s like having a polar bear lying around in the house. If we are struggling to step around him or over him, Tybalt will continue to watch us nonchalantly.

When we are working on the computer, Tybalt will jump up on the keyboard to see what we’re doing. I always wonder if that much weight on the keys, all at once, will be enough to erase the hard drive or damage the computer.

Tybalt is three years old. I don’t know how old a cat is supposed to be when he reaches full-size, but this better be it. I don’t know if I can live with an even bigger cat.