My cat could be a bit of a “high-brow” if he chose to be. He wore a tuxedo (black tie formal wear,) and he had a mustache and goatee. He was quite the celebrity around the apartment complex and the official greeter whenever anyone came to call. Tux could also be a bit of a rascal from time to time. He had his ways but that was part of his charm. Tuxedo cats are black and white cats of the domestic variety and are formally known as jellicle cats.
His name was Sir Tux, simply called Tux for short. Tux died of old age, kidney failure. He was 17 when he crossed the Rainbow Bridge and would have been 18 come this October. Tux died at 7:17 p.m. on March 10, 2013. The average lifespan of an indoor domestic cat is 10 to 14 years so Sir Tux lived a good long life, but then he was very loved and treated very well. That makes a big difference.
Tux had thick, rich and silky black and white semi long fur, pointy ears with a bit of tuft in each of them. He wore white sox and gloves that he washed daily. He bathed frequently wanting to always be at his most handsome best. He, of course, never knew when someone, namely me, was going to show up with a camera and he did like posing for those pictures. Tux always wanted to look right smart in any photo someone might take of him. He knew he was from a line of very famous cats, some of which we quite close to royalty.
I like to read so I had read him the stories as we sat enjoying the quiet of evening in our favorite rocking chair. Humans and cats alike should know their genealogy.
Sir Tux was truly quite distinguished among cats and often chatted with other cats and critters in the neighborhood from his window ledge in the kitchen of our home.
Tux was an indoor cat. The only time he ever went outside was when he was making his trip to the vets for his check up and any booster shots he might need. He didn’t care much for riding in cars or going to the vets, though he was quite fond of Edie, the veterinarian assistant. Edie always had a special treat for him after his grooming session.
Though other black and white cats are often called tuxedo cats to be a true tuxedo cat, a Jellicle, the cat must have a solid black coat with white fur limited to its four paws, tummy, chest, throat and chin and appear to sport a mustache and goatee. Sir Tux was all of that. He was a true jellicle.
The title Jellicle Cat came into being and stuck after the publication of T. S. Eliot’s book about a fictional tribe of cats that were all dressed in formal attire. You may have read the book, “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.” If you haven’t, you might want to. It will help you to understand where the psyche of your family’s black and white cat is coming from.
Tux comes from this same line of great and famous cats. They are all related, however distantly that might be. You may also remember Mr. Mistoffelees, the feline stage magician from the musical “Cats.” Surely Tux is kin even if several times removed. Tux had a very magical way about him; and then there is Meowrice from “Gay-Purr-ee,” and who could ever forget Puss-in-Boots, that famous Jellicle who went to visit the queen or Felix (Pat Sullivan’s favorite feline) and Sylvester (Fritz Freleng’s beloved Looney Tunes star) those cats of cartoon movie fame, or Tom, that rascal of a cat of Tom and Jerry fame, made famous by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera and Metro, Goldwyn Myer Productions; Sir Tux claims kinship to each of them and we can’t leave out those two famous stars from the movie “Shrek,” Kitty Softpaws and Postman Pat; and of course we can’t leave out that famous U.S Presidential Cat of the White House, Socks who was catered to by President Bill Clinton, First Lady Clinton and their daughter Chelsey. They are all world famous tuxedo cats and Sir Tux was just as famous, at least around the neighborhood.
Sir Tux also liked to sing. He could be quite operatic. He had a lovely song and quite often sang to me while I was reading in the evening. He was also a very religious cat. He religiously sat with me while I listened to my daily devotional hour and to Christian music; and he would occasionally sing along. He liked to read as well. He was a very intelligent cat. Tux would sit in my lap while I was reading and help me turn the pages. He was a bit of a speed reader and often tried to turn the page before I had finished reading the last paragraph. Sir Tux was a very unique cat and the truest of friend.
Sir Tux had his little quirks too. He wouldn’t eat out of any dish that wasn’t his dish. He had his own silver bowl (stainless steel) and his own private water fountain (bubbler). He had a crystal saucer (clear plastic) for his special treats. They are the only dishes he would eat from. There were only certain foods he would eat too; Purina Indoor or Naturals and Iams soft foods that comes in those little cans that were served for Sunday dinner or on special holidays. Tux knew when it was Sunday. Don’t ask me how he knew. I haven’t a clue. He liked what he liked and would turn his high brow nose up at anything else offered to him. He might try a bit of something else if you served it to him, just to be polite, but don’t serve it to him twice. He’d walk away quite insulted.
Sir Tux was also particularly fond of his own private kitty garden, those kitty greens that grew in the plant stand in the bay window. Ah, a salad snack and a bit of sunbathing made any day a perfect day; for a cat. If Tux were still here he would tell you how important salad greens are to a cat’s diet. He enjoyed them and an occasional catnip treat.
Sir Tux particularly enjoyed his private perch by the kitchen window where he could look out at the bird feeders on my deck. Tux was a very social gentleman cat and carried on long and frequent conversations with the birds and squirrels that frequented my deck. They’d occasionally taunt each other and occasionally Rastus Raven and Buster Blue Jay would raise Tux’s hackles and I’m fairly sure the debates would have come to blows had Tux been a free roaming cat, but he was not.
However the language sometimes became quite unbefitting the station of such an illustrious cat as Sir Tux. After years of having cats in my life I got so I could understand cattinese (that is cat talk for any of you who are unsure of my meaning) quite well and if I didn’t understand all the words I clearly understood the body language. So did Rastus and Buster and they usually flew away to some high branch in some tree a fair distance from the deck just in case “that cat” escaped his confines behind that glass wall. Tux had zero tolerance for backyard bullies.
Well, Tux has gone home now and I really miss him but death is just as much a part of living as being born. It happens to all of us, even people. I have lots of pictures and lots of wonderful memories of those marvelous days in my life with Sir Tux, the jellicle tuxedo cat. He was a good and treasured friend.