El Gato Muy Malo, 1992(ish) – 2010

This post originally appeared on I Read Odd Books

Today marks the second anniversary of the date when I lost the most remarkable animal I have ever known. Note that I did not say the best cat ever, or that he was a good boy, or anything praising his virtue. Adolph was a terrible cat at times, so bad we called him El Gato Muy Malo, among other things. But goddamn he was remarkable. He was our nasty roommate who refused to learn English and get a job. I am not one to anthropomorphize my animals. But Adolph was different.

Happy Fatty
I cannot describe him well anymore. I fear so much time has passed since I spent time with him that I would not be able to find the words to tell you how intelligent, friendly, disgusting, valiant, nasty and wonderful Adolph was. Even if he had been a perfectly ordinary cat, he looked like Hitler and lost a leg. That alone is worth remembering.

But even though I no longer really know what to say, I needed to commemorate this day. I posted his eulogy on this site, but I also wrote about him in a cat community. I was surprised at how many people felt similarly about him in just the informal post I made right after he died. I gave him a lengthy eulogy that he likely felt was the least I could do, and it was. Last year I also remembered his passing. Perhaps next year the day that he died will pass without me immediately realizing the significance of the date. I tend to doubt it, but I also used to doubt that a single day would pass without me thinking of him, and that has happened.

Until then, I’m just remembering the most epic cat who ever lived.

Feel free to tell me about the epic animals you have known and I’ll return to odd books on Monday or Tuesday, I swear.

17 thoughts on “El Gato Muy Malo, 1992(ish) – 2010

  1. I have known, been around or lived with animals my entire life, and I can honestly say that Adolph was the most amazing creature to ever cross my path.

    He had strange relationships with inanimate objects, like Mr. Penguin whom he liked but they would occasionally have a falling out only to reconcile days or weeks later:

    Not to mention his arch nemesis, the Christmas velveteen rabbit, whom he inexplicably hated until the day he died.

    I could sit here and write about him, or I could just share my favorite photos. So here are the photos.

    Riding in the wheelbarrow (I wish I could find the macro’ed one):

    Forearms of a bulldog:

    Beware of Adolph:

    Captain of the SS Toucan:

    Farewell, old friend. We miss you terribly.

    1. The beware of..” picture is hilarious.. I hope the dog survived the wrath of El Gato.

      Sorry about your cat..he seemed decent

      1. Ted, my cat was smuggled across the border when the residents of Nuevo Laredo paid the bravest man in town (some say the stupidest man in town) to deliver the cat and his evil away from their town. Once in the USA, he began a reign of psychological terror that caused many people in our old neighborhood to paint the evil eye on the trees in our front yard. Adolph influenced several major celebrities’ life works and would have married twice had we not neutered him. He owned more firearms than you and could have drunk you under the table before his kidneys failed. He was more than “decent,” you dumb bastard. Adolph could have kicked your ass and taken your girlfriend and don’t you forget it.

          1. Hey Ted,
            Don’t take it the wrong way: Adolph was a bastard, I’m a bastard, Jim Goad is a bastard – Ms. Oddbooks loves bastards, so her calling you one was a *good* thing. It shows the affection she has for you. So no worries.

          2. I was kidding. The stock comedic response should have been : “I’m not dumb…” // implying that I am indeed the son of a thousand fathers, all bastards like me//, but that would have been a bit too obvious,even for my dull wit, so I did a little switcheroo.
            Now back to you: how can an anvil be a bastard? Maybe if it were forged from spent 7.62Ă—39mm army surplus rounds and the ak-47s from whose loins the anvils where eventually formed denied their paternity. Regular brass ammo can’t form a good anvil.
            Still,someone would have to raise the baby anvils to maturity..maybe that’s why the bigger one’s are so much more expensive than the small anvils..the state anvil orphanage only provides basic nourishment ,so in order to grow big,anvils would have to be adopted or raised as pets
            Maybe I’m going to adopt a baby anvil someday..just hope I get a soviet one and not a brown/black anvil since those are unreliable and tend to sprout too many rusty anvils and before you know it you’ll be flooded with useless anvils that nobody wants
            ..I will consider getting a female Chinese anvil,because I don’t like how they are treated over there

    2. I could never figure out if he and Mr. Penguin really did have arguments, only to later reconcile. But there was no doubting his utter enmity for the Velveteen Rabbit. So bizarre. I wish I knew what fueled his anger.

      That fucking cat…

      1. I wish I knew what fuelled his anger=>the fact that his moustache was fucked up. Symmetry is the key to the Hitler moustache. His owners/serfs could have dyed the extraneous parts white and improved his self-image. I have a crooked tooth that sticks out so I know exactly how he felt..
        Still,it’s good for opening beer bottles.

  2. Every once in a while you do have a pet that is more than an animal in your house. Our wonderful cat, Spunky, had to be put down this last September. He had been very ill for about a week and it turned out it was cancer as we feared. Spunky came into our family’s life about 15 years ago. We rescued him, his brother and sister from a ditch north of here where they had been dumped at the end of the summer. They were likely only about 12 weeks old, clean and healthy looking but not going home to the city with their family. We took him home with us and began our life with the cat my kids would come to love more than anything. He desperately wanted to be an outside cat but our life in a big city would not allow that so he learned to walk on a leash and to escape when the opportunity presented itself. He was a talker (there must have been some Siamese in him)and was always quick to make a comment on what he thought we needed to know. He loved my son Sam most of all and would always run to the door when he heard Sam come in to say hello. On his last day with our family, my kids (24, 22 and 19 years old) laid down on the grass with Spunky in the back yard, shared stories, laughs and tears before we left for the vet’s office. Spunky would not ride in his carrier and insisted on looking out the window to watch the traffic. We all got a chance to kiss and hug him goodbye and to hold him while the vet quietly put him to sleep. We have a lot of pictures and videos and a paw print to remember our very special friend. I’ve been lucky to have had some very epic pets but sharing this cat with my children has truly been special.Thank you for sharing Adolph’s story and allowing me to tell you about our Spunky.

    1. Thanks for telling me about Spunky. We have a talker now, a sleek black cat called Clementine. Man, we hear from her a few times a week, telling us off about something.

  3. I miss Adolph and I have only known him through your writings.

    I don’t really believe in anything any more. But I swear the ghost of my elderly cat visits sometimes, saved from a crazy hoarder masquerading as a cat rescue lady. I feel him sometimes, walking over me or hopping on the end of the bed. He was a dear sweet cat, who loved sitting with us while we played video games.

    1. I think I’ve seen phantom cats but I also had an interesting prescription pill addiction going on when most of them happened so really, who knows. I can say that I see William, the beautiful son of Sally we could not trap before he contracted FeLV, the most. I think grief fuels it for me, the sense that I failed a living creature.

  4. Any cat with a fondness for Cosmic Catnip is my kind of cat. I am truly sorry for your loss, late as such sentiment may be, but from this post, it is clear that not only was he a very special cat but that his life was much improved by your love for him.

    I also love his wonky moustache. Cats with wonky moustaches, in my experience, always have amazing personalities.

    I don’t believe in much, but I believe there is a place something like Cat Valhalla or something. I’m sure Adolph is hailed as a genuine hero there.

    1. He may be feared as a tyrant. He was really a terrible cat in many respects.

      Thanks for the kind words, Jacob. 🙂

  5. I am sorry about Adolph. He reminds me a bit of my boy Grim, in personality and both being tripod cats.

    I used to hate cats. Hated them. Was scared of them — the same thing, really. When I got my kittens, it was an accident. They were orphaned and only a few days old. I hated them but I didn’t want to be a kitten killer so I took care of them all. I found a good home for two and kept three. Of those 3, only Grim remains. I lost Loki in 2007. He was a special cat and my secret favorite. And I was his favorite person. How incredibly humbling to the favorite person of a sweet cat like he was. Not the brightest cat but possessed of a simple, true personality. Loki was like a living teddy bear — you could hold him and cuddle him and carry him around and he’d love it. He’d never struggle or squirm. He was happy to be with his people.

    We lost Akasha last year. The only girl in the litter and the only girl cat I’ve had, she was also special to me. I used to say that if cats had a sense of humor, she had a great one. She’d go from incredibly dignified and self-possessed to chasing her tail in the blink of an eye. She was a sweet cat who loved on her own terms, never on anyone else’s.

    My husband sometimes jokes that my boy kitty Yoshi is the reincarnation of Loki as they are sometimes disturbingly similar. (We got Yoshi and his brother a year after Loki died.) Neither of us really believe it; we’re atheists and neither of us believe in an afterlife.

    But I want to believe it, sometimes. It makes me feel the loss less deeply to think it could be true. And makes me hope that maybe one day Akasha will come back to me as well.

    1. Adolph decided I was his human. I have no idea why, but I was the human he wanted and so he deigned to be my cat. It was a strange honor.

      I never really wanted cats either. I still want a dog. I will probably never have one.

      It’s funny how we people who have no problem with the idea of life being over when we die simply cannot stomach that idea for our animals. I suspect if they lived longer, it would not be so hard to take, the finality that comes when something we love is gone forever when it only lived 20 or less years.

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