HIGH RIDER 1983-1997
May he rest in peace :(
It all started when I got a tailless kitten named Socks. As female cats will do if you let them, she eventually gave birth to kittens, four of them! My little brother kept a tailless one and named her Tammy, after a girl he had a crush on. Another was a male tabby, the only one with a tail, and was adopted by my older brother and named "Garfield". We called a tailless tabby "Tiger". The fourth kitten was adopted by our nextdoor neighbors and was named "Guido".
Cick here to hear me with John, Socks, Garfield and another kitten (REAL AUDIO 53 secs)

Eventually Socks disappeared and Tammy had a litter of her own. One of them was much smaller than the others, so we called him the "runt", and didn't think he would survive. One of the other kittens was a grey , smoke-like color so we called him "smokey" and I decided to keep him. Unfortunately, Smokey disappeared while still a young kitten.
I was so upset about the disappearance of Smokey, that I adopted the "runt" and decided to keep him inside. At some point someone bought him a collar with bells on it [odd for an indoor cat!] and this led to him being named "Jinglebells". When he was smaller and less rotund we used to put him up on top of speakers and curtain rods. This is how he got to be called "highrider". The neighbors, believing that he was the result of an incestuous coupling between Tammy and Guido, called him "Baby Guido".
serene HR in front yard
So from being an outdoor kitten Highrider became an indoor kitten and grew to a spoiled rotten indoor cat. After I moved out my parents went on vacation and Highrider stayed with me for a couple of weeks, thus he became a spoiled rotten apartment cat. Highrider then moved back into the old homestead.
HR in the kitchen
Back at the old homestead he was eventually confined to the living room which had a trap door gong to an outdoor litterbox. Thus began the fourth stage in HR's life. This room also contained an oldfashioned wood burning stove, thus he became a "hearth cat".
HR by the bushes
HighRider in the driveway
HR was content with this life and for a while he even had a companion, a sweet little calico cat named "callie". Unfortunately, she didn't get the hang of the outdoor litterbox and so she was exiled to the great outdoors. A few months later she was run over by a car, and from where the body was found, it appeared that the driver did it deliberately! HR soon got over the loss and was again content in his life as a hearthcat.. Unfortunately, this didn't last.
After recovering from a bladder infection, HR began to urinate in inappropriate places. After trying several things, my parents were unable to break him of the habit. My mother saw no choice but to banish him from the house. Thus began the fifth and final stage of HR's life.

HR didn't like being outside and whined to be let in. This was surprising because he had always been a very quiet cat. My mother was worried, for good reason, that a cat that had been a spoiled rotten indoor cat for so many years would not survive outdoors. So my dad built a cage around the outdoor litter box and made a roof for it. During the day HR stayed outside and at night he stayed in the cage. He adapted well to this new arrangement and soon he began to come to the cage each night to be put in.

This new arrangement lasted for some time while HR grew fatter and lazier. HR did have a few health problems, and often got hairballs (not an unusual problem for a long haired cat). At one point HR was very sick and we all thought he would soon die. Dad, who was really into woodworking at the time, was so certain of it that he fashioned a coffin and a tombstone. HR recovered, however, and the two items remained morbid conversation pieces for years to come.
On Friday, September 26, 1997, my mother looked at HR and said "you look matted and dirty, I'm going to give you a bath!" An hour later she saw him over at the next door neighbor's house. Later that day she looked for him and couldn't find him. For a week nobody could find him. Our worst fears were confirmed when his body was found a week later, writhing with fly larvae.

The larvae had consumed most of the body and there was so little left that Dad decided to bury him without the coffin. The tombstone, however, was placed alongside those of Callie (not his Callie) and Snowclaw, on catgrave path. Dad plans to bury HR's mother Tammy in what was going to be HR's coffin.

Cat grave path
So the 3rd generation runt of the litter that nobody thought would make it survived 14 years and several living arrangements. He did not, however, outlive his own mother.

Farewell Highrider/Jinglebells/ Baby-Guido,
may you rest in peace!

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