Silver Streak (aka Streak, aka Meeeester Streeeek) was one of the few cats in our colony that could easily be imagined as a lap cat. Named for his two silver whiskers, he was always friendly around us. An unfortunate urinary problem and an impossibly tangled coat made him the object of our special care. He loved the attention.
We noticed Streak straining to urinate early in his life and searched for a medication that might help. We stumbled on an over the counter additive that was designed to be put into a cat’s water bowl. That was an impractical way to administer anything to Streak unless we wanted to pour gallons of it into the entire colony’s water supply and hope for the best.
But Streak’s social nature saved his life. He quickly learned to visit the back porch rail for a small helping of wet food with a few drops of medication in it. A few other cats discovered the secret feeding and stopped by for treats on occasion, but Streak was always the star of the show. He seemed proud of his special status and his urinary problems cleared.
Streak’s fur was prone to matting and tangling. After he became comfortable with us being so close for his medication he allowed us to clip and brush his coat as long as we worked quickly and gently. We weren’t trained cat groomers so he sometimes returned to his buddies in the colony with a patchy coat, but he never seemed to mind.
And that Meeeester Streeeek name? Back when I was an undergraduate at Rice, an advisor suggested Russian as the best language to satisfy my foreign language requirement. (I never forgave him for that suggestion, but that’s another story altogether.) The class was at 8:00 AM, a hard time to make when you’ve spent the previous night in a serious game of 9-ball. Absences were common.
The instructor was a wonderful guy who had escaped the Soviet Union for a life of freedom. He spoke with a strong Russian accent that elongated most vowels and referred to everyone in the class as Mr. or Miss. One of the other students was a guy I knew whose last name was Strunk. Strunk was one of those students who could cut nearly every class and still ace the course, so he did.
My Russian instructor would call roll every morning, and it wasn’t long into the semester before he noticed Strunk was never there. Very nearly every roll call came to include a “Has eeenybody seeen Meeeester Strunk?”
Those 8:00 AM roll calls were burned into my neurons, so Silver Streak was Meeeester Streeeek to me.
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