Monday, April 9, 2012

H is for Harvey

Harvey Hayes

As my readers know February was a horrible month.  If only because I lost my cat Harvey.  It was very traumatic because I was the one who accidentally ran him over.  It was not something I would wish on anyone.  So I decided to dedicate this years letter age to him and let everyone know about his amazing life.

I got Harvey as a kitten.  I was looking for a kitten/cat for my birthday and just hadn't found one in my area. So on my birthday my now ex-husband and I decided to go to an animal shelter near where my mom works in San Bernardino.  As we were walking in a lady was also walking up with a cat carrier.  Now at this point I hadn't decided if I wanted a cat or a kitten, or a specific breed or color or anything.  One of the few things I had decided though was I wasn't getting an orange tabby.  (yea...things sooo go according to plan for me)
Well we heard this mewling coming out of the carrier and the woman was more than happy to show us this little bundle of fur.
He husband had found him on his construction site, in the same carrier he was currently in.  He had a towel, some dry food and a little cup for water.   I took one look at this kitten and almost cried.  He was no where near old enough to be taken from it's mother, much less be put on dry food and water.  Even though I had no interest in an orange ball of fluff, I couldn't turn this one away.   I had feeder bottles and kitten milk at home already from having to feed our baby hamsters.  (another long story) And I'd bottle fed kittens before so we decided to take him home right then and there.  She even gave us the carrier he came in.  Which happened to have the name Hayes written on a piece of masking tape on the top of it.  (hence his last name Hayes)
He was such a little fighter, but he had such bad luck.  We kept him in the bathroom.  Since it was the only room in the house that we could easily keep our other cat out of, and he couldn't get stuck anywhere.   He loved being bottle fed and responded quickly to all the feedings.  However within the first few months he found a nice big spider behind the toilet and got bit on the nose!  Poor baby.  His nose swelled up, he had the shakes.   We sat up with him for nights on end.  He somehow pulled through.  Eventually getting big enough to eat dry food and be introduced to our other cat Buddy.
Fortunately Buddy is a friendly cat, and he had been around kittens before.  He took Harvey under his wing and soon was teaching him how to open cabinets and convince my girls to give him human food.   Slowly he got even bigger.
He was such a cute kitten and he grew into an even cutter cat.  He would chase the girls around their room, and play hide and seek with them.  (Basically they hid under blankets and he would pounce on any part that got exposed)
I really think he convinced himself that they were just bigger, funny shaped cats.   (I don't ever think he lowered himself to believing he was a
After my divorce I moved to where I am now.  Buddy and Harvey while they had gone outside in our previous home, no longer went outside.  Buddy because he was too old. (he is 11 years old now) and Harvey because I was afraid he would try to go back to our old house and get lost.  So he tried to be an indoor cat, although not too hard.  Eventually he got out one summer night when we were barbecuing.  Amazingly all he did was roll in the dirt!!!
He was so happy to sit outside while we were outside that I eventually caved and let him go outside.
I had a very dirty cat, but a very happy one.  It cut down on his meowing at the door a lot.
Well that's when he began his adventures.  He began following us outside everywhere.  And I mean EVERYWHERE!  My daughters went to school nearby and he would wait outside for them to come home in the afternoons and pester the neighbors. He especially tortured my neighbors dogs.  He would sit right outside their fence and make them bark.  When I would tell him to go home he would sit between our bushes on the edge of the street and stare at them.  He would lash his tail and give them a look and they would start barking all over again.  He knew he was at home, technically, but he could still tease them about the fact that they were behind a fence and he wasn't.
At the pool.
He also took to terrorizing the local feral cats.  A different neighbor leaves food out for them, and Harvey insisted on visiting all the bowls and cleaning out all the food.  As you can see from his picture he was NOT a small cat.  He ate very well at home.  But he liked to eat whatever he could get so he would use his size to bully them and take their food!  He could be such a brat. He even would go to the neighbors house and convince her to give him food at her place!
Finally staying at home wasn't good enough for him.  He felt he needed to escort the girls to school.  He would follow us down the street and all the way to the school and then follow me home.  It got to the point that we had to make sure he was locked inside the house when we walked anywhere or he would follow us.  He followed us to the pool, to the school, even to the local clubhouse for the Halloween party.  He spent the whole party entertaining the neighborhood kids.  He even walked right into the clubhouse a few times and I had to send the kids to take him back outside!
On the way to school.
Then he had his biggest adventure.  In November we had car issues, and for about a week we were without a vehicle.  One night my boyfriend decided to walk to the local Walgreens, which was a few blocks away.  I went with him, and of course Harvey followed.  OMG, I thought he had turned around and went home after the first block.  He wasn't big on walking too far and if I refused to carry him he would eventually either lay down and wait for me to come back or turn around and go home.  We went to the store and came home.  Later that evening I got a call from my girls grandpa.  He had seen a cat that looked like Harvey INSIDE Walgreens, but he wasn't sure it was him and hadn't taken him home.  Walgreens was already closed for the night so I decided to wait til the next morning and see if he came home.  He didn't, so up I went to Walgreens.
Apparently he had walked in the doors.(which are automatic)  Then he decided to wander around.  He even jumped up on the counter at the check out register! The guy who was working that night said he had tried to give him some treats but he didn't want any, just pets and attention. (of course he had just gotten a buncha treats and food at home!)  The manager put him in a cart and went to push him outside, since he refused to leave.   A concerned customer decided to take him home.  Of course Harvey just jumped in the car and sat on her lap the whole way to her house.  (he could be such a smooze) The next day she put up signs saying she had found him.  We got a hold of her and got him back home, no worse for wear for his adventure.
At this point we figured he needed more than a flea collar, so we got him chipped and got him a nice fancy collar from Petco.  It even had a bell. So we could hear him trotting up the steps on the porch.
Even the day he died he had another adventure.  He decided to walk across the street near my home. (probably had some other person that was feeding him too)  Well a concerned motorist stopped and was afraid he would get hit, so she called him over.  (Of course he went)  She called me on my cell #, which was on his collar, and told me how she found him.  She was right on the other side of the wall from my house, but she didn't know that.  So I drove home and met her in front of my house.  He had just jumped out of the car when I pulled up and was posing for pictures that she was taking with her cell phone!  He was such a ham.  He even gave me a look when I picked him up and put him inside.  As if to say "what did I do, she picked me up".
That's one of the reasons why when I didn't realize he was behind my car when I left later that day.  I thought he was still inside.  He must have snuck out when I was taking some groceries in.
Buddy still misses his friend.  The kids and I still miss our baby.   If it wasn't for my neighbors I don't know what I would have done.  Since my neighbor with the dogs had run out since she saw what happened, and she summoned my other neighbor to take care of what needed to be done.  I don't know if I'm ready for another kitten.  No other cat will ever replace Harvey...although I have warned my boyfriend that if I see any kittens or cats he might find a new one in our room.  I do know that I miss having him sit out on the front porch with me.  I miss him climbing on my car and staring in at me through the windshield, wondering what I was doing inside the car.  I still have issues backing out of my driveway some days.  I still start crying out of nowhere when something reminds me of him.  I freak out when I see anything dead in the road and god forbid I accidentally hit one of the numerous pine cones that litter the area.  We used to make a game out of aiming for them, now it just makes me sick.
I even saw a dog get hit the other day.  The dog was fine.  It rolled out from in front of a truck a few cars ahead of me.  I couldn't drive, I just couldn't.  I just stared at it.  My boyfriend kept telling me that it was ok.  It's owner was nearby and the dog was jumping up and down and running back and forth.  By the time I got home I couldn't stop shaking and just started to cry.  Fortunately my boyfriend is very understanding and stayed with me til I calmed down.

I'm crying again as I write this.  I don't mean to be a downer, I just wanted people to know what a wonderful, amazing cat he was.


  1. I just lost my cat of about 10 yrs last month :( we got her when she was tiny and full of fleas (the tiniest kitten from a farm litter) She wouldn't have been able to survive outside. Pets become such a part of the family and it's so difficult to lose them. And you're right, it's impossible to replace them, they have such unique personalities!

    1. I'm sorry to hear of your loss. Thank you for stopping by.

  2. I am so sorry about your precious cat, Harvey. Thank you for sharing the wonderful story about his life with you. How could anyone resist a yellow meowing, tiny ball of fur?
    I'm visiting on the A to Z Challenge...check out my 'C' post.
    Kathy at Oak Lawn Images

    1. Thank you for stopping by! I will be sure to check out your "c" post.

  3. Hi...I'm hopping over from the A to Z challenge. Lovely tribute post...good luck with the challenge.

    Donna L Martin