Friday, July 16, 2010


There have been many cats in my life. Cats of all sizes. Cats of all temperaments. Cats of all colors. However, there has only been one Daggett. He was, at his heaviest, 35 pounds. An orange orb of a feline that had a meow the size of a kitten's. It was the first week of 9th grade when my Mom took all four of us down to a pet store on the boulevard to pick out a kitten. My brother, Andy instantly had his eye on a sassy pumpkin-colored kitten. We named him Daggett Norbert Berry. We were big fans of Angry Beavers, if you couldn't tell. Daggett was a scrappy kitten. He would chase Andy across the living room- he always did like Andy best. They've had a special bond from the beginning. I think Daggett always knew it was Andy who picked him. Daggett became the man of a thousand names, his most well known moniker being "Babyman". I started calling him "Sugar-booby" after watching some sort of Beach/Surfer/1960's movie where a mobster called his girlfriend that. It just seemed appropriate. We would have informal naming competitions and see what we could come up with for him. He was an excellent muse.

I don't know at what point Daggett became a fat cat. I was in 10th grade, I think. He was monsterous. Placed on several diets, nothing seemed to really lower the numbers on the scale for Babyman. That didn't matter though, you see, Daggett had a woman. She loved him no matter the size. My Mom found Weezer in the parking lot at church on a Tuesday night. I came back out to the car to get a drink of soda and there was my Mom feeding a stray, fluffy white cat part of her Del Taco burrito. I dubbed her Weezer after the CD sitting on the dashboard. Weezer and Daggett became inseperable. Even when Weezer had a litter of kittens (not fathered by Daggett, who sadly had nothing but a pair of fluff balls), Daggett took care of them when Weezer became ill. He did draw the line at nursing them. He wasn't quite equipped for that.

Daggett was a star in our household. Friends would tell other friends about the monstrosity that was Babyman and tell them to ask to see him next time they were over. He would come mosey on out from somewhere to the shock and delight of everyone who saw him. People were drawn to him... he was a very charismatic dude. My kids could not get enough of him, I think they liked him because he was the only cat who couldn't get away from them. He was also the only cat that could act as a beanbag chair. He was tolerant and loving, even of the youngest cat admirer.

Yesterday I got a text from my Mom that Babyman has gone onto the big cat heaven in the sky. I don't feel like I got to give him a proper good-bye the last time I saw him. I knew he was going to the vet, but I thought "Oh, I'll see him again." So I gave him my typical greeting and loves, but not a proper good-bye. I'm sort of kicking myself for that. Daggett has been there through all of my major life events the past 12 years. High school dances, break-ups, meeting Cameron, getting married, having babies, etc. When I told Josiah about Daggett, he cried and said "Can we just look at pictures of him?" To make me feel better Cameron told me this: "Daggett didn't go to domestic cat heaven. He went to big cat heaven, with the panthers and lions." I couldn't agree more.

Daggett was a common thread for our whole family. That might seem extreme to some of you, but you probably aren't really pet people. We are. Every animal that comes through our lives has a personality, an attitude and place in our hearts. None of them bigger and badder than Babyman.

I'll miss you Sugar-Booby.

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