Campus Critter of the Month (October)

Our orange friend Ed Lease seems an excellent choice for the Halloween season. This mature 19 year-old gent makes his home in Alameda with his favorite human Carla.  She has graciously agreed to share her and Ed’s story:

“In January of 1992, when I finally managed to rent a flat in San Francisco that accepted pets, I went to the city pound in search of a kitten. Once there, I found that it wasn’t really kitten season. Before leaving, however, an adult cat caught my eye. He was a ginger Tom who had recently been neutered and was very, very shy. I noticed there was something wrong with his right eye (his posted description, along with the name Eddie, said it was “healing”), but when I went into his enclosure and coaxed him out of hiding, I realized that there was no eye there — he had an empty socket that would never, with any amount of optimism or miracles, house a functional eye again. I felt sorry for him, got the feeling he’d been there awhile, and gave him some love, gratified to see that he warmed to me with patience and careful overtures. Then I left to check the SPCA for kittens.

“The next weekend, I returned in the course of my kitten search, and again, my plan was foiled. I stopped by to see Eddie on my way out, though, and was overwhelmed by his response to me when I entered his cage. He seemed to remember me, and he quickly graced me with a purr and a cheek rub. I was even able to get in a little belly rub with some work. And that was it. I was hooked. While I was completing the adoption paperwork, a whole litter of kittens came in, and I didn’t give them a second glance. Ed (a much more fitting name for him) rode home with me in a cardboard carrier on the Number 22 bus.

“At the pound I’d been warned that because of his eye injury, Ed would have to be an indoor cat, and though that was an idea I balked at, having had outdoor cats my whole life, I agreed for his safety’s sake. The very day I got him home, however, he escaped through a window that had been left open by a roommate, and it took me a week to entice him back in, with bowls of food and milk on the windowsill. After that, and a week spent under the bed, it became clear to me that indoor living wasn’t going to cut it for this former stray. He thrived in my garden, scaling trees, balancing atop fences, and stalking prey as if that second eye was superfluous, and coming in for cuddles, food, and naps. Still, he retained his shyness around strangers, and even with me, it took a full six years before he really cut loose and began to knead during a petting session, though the motorcycle-engine purr was in evidence all along. He held on to his feral-cat tastes, too, happy to wolf down stale bread, vegetables, melon—anything he could scavenge from a trash can.

“At 13, Ed acquired a Lab puppy, Bodie, who he had his doubts about at first. A former brawler, Ed’s previous experience with other cats and dogs alike had been adversarial. It didn’t take long for him to see the benefits of another warm, furry body at nap time, however, and what began as an osmosis-like couch slide into unconscious cuddling has become a solid friendship. And now, at 20 years old, Ed has evolved into a fearless and social cat. He rules the house, yard, and his dog with an iron fist. In his old age, he also has quite a lot to say. He tells me, loudly, about weather conditions and what’s going on in the yard when he comes in. His meow sounds uncannily like the word “Hello,” and my brother swears he heard him saying my name when he came to visit.

“After 18 years together, and moves from San Francisco to Berkeley to Oakland to Alameda, Ed is a beloved fixture in my home, garden, family, and life. Three cheers for rescues!”

Likes: Grilled chicken, broiled chicken, pulled chicken, fried chicken, barbecue chicken, and roast chicken. Also, sunbathing, gardening, community naps with his girl and dog, rabbit-fur mice, and tea (English style). He never, ever gets tired of any manner of petting, cuddling, scratching (get the ears!), rubbing, massage, doting, and general worship.

Dislikes: Halloween, New Years Eve, and 4th of July, when he’s sequestered in the house and forced to use a litter box. Being caught under the covers during bed-making activities.

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