The Bravest Cat I ever knew.

This Hub is about our kitty Vino. I have two other Hubs, Life with Cats & Life with Cats 2, this one is about the bravest, toughest, sweetest, and most of all loyal Kitty we have ever had the pleasure of sharing our lives with.

Vino was a small Red tabby that my husband and I adopted from the local Human Society. Vino was surprisingly friendly. He reached for us through the cage, demanding we pay attention to him. We, of course, brought him home. We had two other kitties at the time, Janis and her daughter Little One. Vino was about 6 months old when we met him. He had been picked up behind a restaurant going through the dumpster and garbage bags. They told us he was very good at breaking open the garbage bags in order to eat. We should have paid better attention to that comment.

The first night home was interesting. We showed him where the litter pan was kept. He immediately used it. Such a good boy. He than checked out the rest of the house and the girls. No fear in this kitty. He did not run and hide under the beds, sofas, or any dark corners as most Cats do in a new environment. Vino was curious about everything, including the red glass of wine that had been placed on the dining room table. That is how he received his name. Stuck his nose right in the glass and took a sip. Than jumped down. His name was Vino from than on.

He than cuddled up to Janis and took a nap. We were amazed. He adapted so well that first night. It was the next morning that we discovered we needed to start keeping the garbage in the pantry with the door securely closed. Who knew that a 5 lb. cat could tip over a full garbage can? Garbage everywhere with him sitting beside it happily eating. I was not amused, but we had been warned. Sort of.

With the adjustment about the garbage Vino settled in nicely. He loved to sit with us and watch TV, and he accepted the other cats that moved in with us shortly after his adoption. He was best buddies with Shadow, a black and white Tom we found by the creek next to us with part of his tail missing, and Bronco, Fluffy's kitten. Fluffy had belong to the old woman that lived in the house before us. As we had cats already Fluffy moved in with us. We had her neutered as soon as her kittens were old enough. That brought our little Cat family up to 7. Vino, Shadow and Bronco, the boys, Janis, Little One, Fluffy and Thumbelina, (another creek cat) the girls.

Vino was the only cat we have ever had who went around visiting the neighbors. Vino wore a collar and all the neighbors knew he belong to us, but he showed up everyday at the back porch of any house that had an older resident, and did not have a pet to say Hello. The neighbors, one of which was my husband's Aunt, gave him food or just a pet. We had to ask one neighbor to stop giving him chicken fat because he came home and threw it up. She bought a small box of cat food to give him when he came to visit. He would come in and sit with them for a while before moving to the next house, but he always came home. He was just being neighborly and, my words, a mooch.

Vino came home one day with a very large live squirrel in his mouth. The squirrel was almost as big as Vino. I was home between shifts and heard this racket coming up the porch. Vino opened the screen door with his paw and marched into the living room carrying this poor squirrel in his mouth like a kitten. The squirrel was chattering its head off. Vino let the squirrel go. Up the drapes it went to the valence where it stood scolding Vino. Vino danced back and forth trying to figure out how to get the squirrel back without climbing the drapes. Vino knew not to climb the drapes, ever. I grabbed Vino, put him in the bedroom, and then went to get a towel to capture the dang rodent, that would not shut up. I did get the squirrel and put him outside at the base of a tree. Up it went, chattering the whole time. I think that squirrel had every cat in the neighborhoods attention. I know all mine showed up. All of them found themselves in the house, while I let the squirrel calm down. Vino was very unhappy, that I let his prize go.

Vino is also the cat who got into trouble with the Christmas decorations. Vino climbed the Christmas tree. Janis would just hit the balls at the bottom when we weren't looking, or so she thought. Once the tree fell over, with him in it, he never did that again, it must have scared him as bad as it did us hearing the crash at 3 in the morning. That was followed a few days later by the sound of pounding on our bedroom door and cats crying. We got up to discover Vino had tried to eat the tinsel on the tree and was choking. He was hitting the door, with all of the other cats crying for help. I am not exaggerating. It was the strangest thing to open the door and find them all in the hall with this bit of silver sticking out of Vino's mouth. My husband grabbed it and pulled a huge wad of tinsel out of his throat. Vino purred and followed us to the tree. We removed every bit of tinsel from the tree right than. We have never put tinsel on a Christmas tree since. We also made a call to our Vet to find out if the stuff was poison. It isn't but we needed to watch Vino for several days to see if he developed any problems. Thankfully he didn't. But he did stay away from the tree after that experience.

I stated in the beginning of this that Vino was the bravest, and most loyal kitty we have ever owned. This is why. My husband came home for lunch one day, and was met by a very upset neighbor. She had heard crying, like a child. When she went out to investigate, she found a pit bull in our driveway attacking Fluffy. She yelled at the dog, who grabbed Fluffy and started to run. Enter Vino. She watched as Vino leaped on to the Dog's back, scratched, bit and howled, until the dog released the other cat. She said Vino chased that dog all the way into the farthest part of our yard. Fluffy was dead. Vino was very upset as was my husband. The dog had come through a hole in the fence. My husband went around to the owner, told them what had happened and explained if he ever saw the dog in our yard again, he would make sure it was the last time. My husband is a very gentle soul, for him to threaten an animal shows how upset he was. We also called the Human Society and reported the dog. The people had very small children. Would you let a dog that kills small animals near your child? Our answer was no. We didn't have small children, just Cats, but we worried about the children in the neighborhood. My husband checked on that dog every day for weeks until it went away. Vino was right there with him checking on the back fence. We had sealed up the fence on our side, and the dog's owner sealed their side, as well as putting the dog on a chain. I hate seeing dogs chained, but I didn't want to lose another Kitty to this dog or someone lose a child.

We think the dog was why Bronco disappeared a few weeks before. Bronco and Vino had been rough housing in the house, we sent them both out to play. Vino came back very upset, Bronco never did. We looked for Bronco for weeks. Nothing. Vino and Shadow missed their buddy for several months. The remaining girls and the boys cuddled together a lot after both Bronco and Fluffy went away. What has always amazed me to this day, was that Vino took on a dog to protect his friend. I had never heard about a cat that did that, and have always been proud of him. Though there is a part of me that worries that we could have loss two cats that day instead of one.

Than there was the time I came home and Vino met me at the door. Vino did not want me to enter the house. Meowing, pacing back and forth, generally under foot. Very strange behavior. I didn't get much into the house before discovering the house had been robbed. I picked up the phone and backed out to my car. Vino went with me. He kept guard while I made the call. Such a brave kitty to try to warn me something was wrong.

I am going to add the time my husband's friend picked Vino up by the tail. The friend didn't like Cats, Gary told him that was not important as we did and he needed to respect that. Don't know what Terry was thinking when we picked up Vino by the tail, maybe he thought is it would be funny. Vino didn't think so. Vino did a 180 and latched on to Terry's arm. Scratching and biting. Gary was yelling at Terry to put the cat down. Terry released, Vino jumped away and ran. Terry yelled at Gary that his Cat had bit him. Gary told Terry he deserved it and to never ever do that again. Terry didn't and he gave Vino a lot more respect after that day. Called him one tough little cat.

Example of why I call Vino the Sweetest kitty. Vino developed urinary crystals that neutered male cats, who love dry food, sometimes get. We almost lost him, but thankfully the Pet Emergency room knew exactly what to do when we brought him in. Poor kitty. A week at the Vets, followed by wearing a cone till the stitches came out. About this time my than 3 year old niece came to visit. We told her not to pick up Vino because he was very sore. Ah well, she was 3. We woke up early in the morning hearing Vino crying. We opened the door and there she was carrying the poor kitty under his arms down the hall. All Vino did was cry for help. No hissing, scratching or biting of the baby. Such a sweet gentle boy. We picked him up from her and put him in another room. This was followed a few days later by more crying at our bedroom door. This time when I opened the door, Vino and Shadow were the only ones there, and as soon as I came out they ran for the kitchen and looked back at me, meowing the whole time. My 3 year old niece had decided to make breakfast. She had the pot out and eggs, and was surrounded by the girls and now the two boys. My niece complained to me that the cats would not let her near the stove. Good kitties. They all received a reward. I always thought that the protection of the baby by the Cats was surprising, as they were not often exposed to children of that age, and seemed to know that she was much to young to be doing what she was doing.

We lost Vino to Feline Leukemia. Vino lived before the vaccine became available. We decided to take him to the Vet's and let him go. One of the hardest decision we as Pet Guardians have to make. All the neighbors knew Vino was ill and were very sad. The day before the appointment, we received a call from my husband's Aunt. Vino had just been by. She was very excited as he had not been to visit in weeks. She was hoping he was getting better. He wasn't. We found out later he had visited all his friends to say good-bye. The only way I can describe why he would go out, as sick and weak as he was to see each of his friends and it was the day before the appointment. He knew, I'm sure of it.

Vino was the sweetest, toughest, bravest, friendliest and loyal kitty I have ever known. We still miss him to this day. He has been gone almost 25 years now. He was only 10. Shadow lived to 25. Janis 22. Little One 17. Thumblina returned to the creek after Vino past. She would not come back to the house or us. We saw her down by the water once in a while. I sometimes think she went looking for him.

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Comments 2 comments

truthfornow profile image

truthfornow 5 years ago from New Orleans, LA

Such a sweet story. It is really amazing how much cats understand what is going on and the bond we can have with them. Vino was a great friend and you have written and very beautiful tribute. I voted this up!

Carol Petretti profile image

Carol Petretti 5 years ago from California Author

Thank you very much for your comment. I enjoyed writing Vino's story.

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