Memories of the past: different houses and different cats

Memories of the past: different houses and different cats
Illustration from the book about Chuk and Huck - “The cat flies into a snowdrift.” She, you see, was punished for stealing something from the table. But it didn’t occur to me that they should have been fed better. It never even occurred to my cat to “steal” something from the table, because they were always full, and they had nothing to steal from it - all the food is stored in the refrigerator!

“Here is a forest house.
In huge felt boots, in one shirt
and with a cat in his hands the boy jumped out onto the porch.
Fuck! – the cat flew head over heels into a fluffy snowdrift
and, awkwardly climbing, jumped on the loose snow.
I wonder why he left her?
She probably stole something from the table.”
A. Gaidar “Chuk and Gek”.

History and culture. The previous material about our little brothers was dedicated to dogs. Now it's time to talk about cats.

In general, the history of any country is also the history of its domestic animals, the history of how they were treated at different times, the history of their lives. If I were younger, I would write a book “The History of Cats and Dogs in the USSR.” On documents and memories. But, alas, my age does not allow me to take on this matter. According to the plan, I need to write 6 more books, and “cats and dogs” do not fit into it. So maybe some of the VO readers will be tempted by this idea? And let this material be included in this book of his as one of the chapters!

So, cats are in the USSR, or rather, in the city of Penza, and even more accurately, so as not to generalize, in my immediate environment. And...from my earliest years, cats have been featured in it. True, the first cat in our house did not belong to us, but to my grandfather’s sister Olga, who lived in our house on the “other half”. She owned two rooms, a porch, a large barn, where under the floorboards I found a rusty carbine from 1917, and part of the garden with its own toilet.

Since she was the wife of first a tsarist Cossack officer, and then... a white officer, my grandfather, when he quarreled with her, called her “White Guard ...”, and she was his “red-bellied commissar” (the belly of the case was really big!) and “ red-bellied bastard." That is, they had a very brotherly-sisterly relationship.

And then there was a cat living at her house. Big and beautiful. I sat on the railing of her porch with the hostess. But since our families had the same relationship as the Montagues and the Capulets, I considered it my first duty to treat this cat in every possible way. And when her owner didn’t see this, he threw apples and stones at her. Fortunately, due to my youth, and I was then 5-7 years old, I never got into it. But she was very afraid of me!

In general, at that time on our streets (God forbid I say that in the whole country) the “own yard” rule strictly applied. Remember Gaidar’s Chuk and Gek... The movie says directly: “...he drove someone else’s dog out of the yard with stones!” Here we are too, as soon as a strange cat came into our yard, we boys immediately began throwing stones and carrion apples at it. It’s good that we had bad tires and practically no slingshots, otherwise they, the poor ones, would have suffered even worse.

And then her cat disappeared, and the harmful old White Guard woman accused me of her death, which was a complete lie. There was a terrible family scandal that ended strangely. Literally two days later we found a strange cat on our porch, a large, white-gray one, who... asked to live with us! Whose he was, where he came from, is unknown. But...he came, sat on the porch and meowed pitifully.

He began to live and live with us, but his fate was sad. Ringworm appeared on him. Grandfather saw this and said that we will all go bald if the cat is not limed. There was no talk of taking him to some veterinary hospital; I had never heard such a word in 1961. Therefore, despite all my pleas, my grandfather simply took him by the hind legs, hit his head on the corner of the barn, and the cat stopped living. They buried it under an apple tree as fertilizer.

After that, we didn’t have cats until 1968. Then my grandmother gave me a gift: my mother and I returned from Bulgaria at night, and a completely colored, black, white and red animal came out to meet us, squinting half-blindly - a small fluffy kitten!

They named the kitten Fluff, and he turned out to be a lovely, graceful cat, an excellent hunter of mice and rats. We used to sit with the whole family on the porch in the summer and look into the garden. Which had a calming effect on us all, and Fluffy was sitting next to us. And then he goes to the garden. There we see some kind of “fluttering” in the grass, a loud squeak, and now she is already walking back with a huge rat in her teeth. Moreover, the rat’s head was usually chewed out. Later I learned that cats need purine. And it is located in the brains of mice and rats!

Fluffy cat. Photo by the author from 1975!

We fed Pushka well: we gave him milk and minced meat. But with regard to everything else, we are not far from the pure hillbilly of the beginning of the century. We didn't have any trays at home. There was no “cat door” in the doorway of the house. Therefore, even in winter, in frosty weather, when she spent the whole day at home by the stove on a banquette (surprisingly, this banquette is still intact in our house, although we bought it in the same 1968!), she did all her business on the street . She walked up to the door, asked, and was let out into the cold night.

True, our cat was not stupid; she immediately ran along the path in the snow to the fence, and from it to the roof of the neighbor’s house, where there was a hole into the attic. It was there that she spent the night and communicated with her fellow tribesmen.

Well, in the summer, for me and for her, there was no greater pleasure than spending time in the coolness of a wooden house built in 1882. I would sit in a chair with a book by Mine Reid, having mixed myself “cobbler with sherry” from the novel “Quarteron,” and she would sit on my lap.

It’s interesting that she immediately recognized my young wife as her mistress and obeyed in the same way as everyone else, and slept on her lap in the same way.

But in 1976, our house was demolished for the construction of a neighboring research institute, and... do you think we took the cat into our new apartment in a stone high-rise building? “Well, where will the cat live? How will you get her used to living in an apartment?” - all the people around us told us, and we... listened to them. They were stupid in their youth, they didn’t know much...

That is, the cat should have remained in its native ashes? The question of how we would go there to feed her was discussed. But then, fortunately, our neighbor, who knew about her rat-catching abilities, took the cat. And when Pushka was handed over to her, she understood everything and... stayed with her to live. Moreover, when in 1980 we returned back to the city from the village and came to visit her, she was still alive, although she lived a rich cat life and brought beautiful kittens. The hostess doted on her, fed her liver, and gave her boiled meat especially for her.

In general, we were very glad that in her old age she ended up in a kind of “cat sanatorium” and died surrounded by care and affection.

Pussy the cat and her kittens. Photo by the author

Then our daughter wanted a cat. And... she brought a white fluffy kitten from a friend - an Angora cat, which we named Pussy. She lived in our house for 19,5 years and... at first she went for a walk outside, fortunately the door in the entrance did not close even in winter! And if it was closed, then when people saw a cat at the door, they immediately let it in.

But then she was almost killed by street dogs, and we put her in a “home prison” - they didn’t let her go beyond the roof of the store. By the way, she herself never came down to the ground again. And when she needed cats, she stood on the edge and shouted loudly: meow-meow! And the cats came! They crawled along tree branches, climbed up a steep brick wall, clinging to cracks in the bricks with their claws. I would never have believed this if I had not seen it with my own eyes.

The author's desk from those distant times. Pussy the cat really loved to lie like this and be present when I wrote my books and articles. The typewriter on the table is a Yugoslavian-made Traveler de Luxe, very convenient and reliable. It was purchased in 1980 and worked until 2005, when it was replaced by a laptop. All my books, my doctoral dissertation, articles and letters, as well as TV show scripts were written in it, and it withstood all of it. The “Moscow” portable machine was purchased in 1977 and irreversibly “ended” just three years later!

For natural needs, she had the roof of the store, where, by the way, we set up a real flower garden, in which it was both shady and cool for her. But in winter, her toilet served as an ordinary photographic cuvette, in which, along with the sand that cats tend to scatter with their paws, lay torn newspaper paper.

They fed her... from their table, but also gave her minced meat and - especially in the hungry 80s - “cat porridge”: a mixture of boiled small fish with bun crumbs. We only learned about the existence of special cat food in 1989, when our daughter began corresponding with a girl named Gemma from England.

My daughter wrote to her about our cat Pussy, and she sent us not only Mars and Snickers, but also canned food for the cat in a package of gifts. But we didn’t understand this right away, but only when we read the letter, and before that we were very surprised - why did she suddenly send us some canned food? We were just wild back then, with all our higher education, needless to say... Then I thought: we’re flying into space, but we can’t make canned food for cats. But this is so, casually, “we were just chatting in the kitchen.”

The Author and Poussey in 1998

And then Pussy got sick, caught a cold while sitting in the window, and we took her (progress, however!) to the city veterinary hospital, which we already had in the city at that time. But it turned out that this building is of the most vile kind imaginable, most similar to an old barracks, and they mainly do rabies vaccinations, “and treating a cat is nonsense, she’s a cat.”

Well, after this reprimand, we returned home and started giving her human medicine, greatly reducing the dose, and cured her. And Pussy lived with us until 2005! Even our granddaughter managed to get to know her, but age took its toll, and one unfortunate day she died, and, fortunately, very quickly, literally in two hours.

For my granddaughter, this, of course, was a blow. But this is how she became acquainted with death, and this is also important for raising a normal person.

To be continued ...
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  1. +4
    29 December 2023 04: 08
    I don’t really like cats, maybe I just don’t know how to cook them. But I got a little dog with my second wife.
    Small, mongrel, looks like a fox, affectionate, but also a defender of her own, if she tries to touch someone, she immediately barks and jumps on the “enemy”. Why, just like in the picture, I threw her into a snowdrift during a walk, that’s hilarious! Eh, she got old, she was sick, I had to put her to sleep, I cried, looking into her eyes!
  2. +4
    29 December 2023 05: 04
    The cat, deceased, first bit off the mice's heads...
    And then he could kill the rest of the carcass...
    And there was a mystery about hunting mice and other rodents - I didn’t catch them in the hut!
    A barn, a vegetable garden, a field - I caught it, but NOT in the house!!!
  3. +4
    29 December 2023 05: 35
    About cats. As a child in the 60s of the last century, the neighbors had a cat who, after the birth of her kittens, simply crushed them (she did this three times only in my memory), and why remains a “great mystery”. Perhaps she didn’t want to share the attention of her owners with someone else, although they say that cats are more attached to a place and not to people. However, the owners did not get rid of this cat. I myself had a cat, Kuzya, who lived with us for 17 years and who had to be put to sleep as a result of his suffering after a stroke (this also happens to cats). After that I didn’t get any more cats.
    1. +7
      29 December 2023 06: 55
      Quote: rotmistr60
      cats are more attached to places than to people.

      We also had a cat, the neighbor literally foisted it on us. I was still going to school, I was indifferent to the cat Murka, I always wanted a dog. In the summer, during the holidays, I liked to go to the lake for fishing, when I arrived I always gave Murka fish, she noticed this, and began to go fishing with me. We sit together, morning, silence, only the fish splash, we look at the float, the first fish is there. When we got home, I gave her some more fish. And then I had a bad cold, a high fever, so she climbed under my blanket and warmed me, treated me. Then I entered a military school and came on one of my vacations, but Murka was not there, she died, her mother took her to the veterinary clinic, they said it was cancer, it’s better to put her to sleep, she will fall asleep without suffering, she lived for 13 years.
  4. +4
    29 December 2023 07: 43
    I won’t write anything about my cats, different characters, different cases, but I would like to share about the country cat.
    For three years he “terrorized” our dacha society. It appeared out of nowhere and also disappeared unexpectedly, fortunately for the summer residents.
    The cat looked like a street cat, but he had a mania and loved the bastard cucumbers. And it’s okay if I ate them completely, well, I’d eat five heels and be healthy. No, he only bit off the tip and that’s it, the cucumber remained hanging. You come to the greenhouse and are stunned, the only unbitten cucumbers are in places where you couldn’t reach.
    Every morning, conversations began in society about where and how much the harvest had been spoiled.
    1. +1
      29 December 2023 08: 55
      No, he only bit off the tip and that’s it, the cucumber remained hanging.
      Not otherwise than his ancestors were from Ukraine.
  5. +8
    29 December 2023 08: 17
    And I just, really love these little fluffy people. I had a cat Vasilisa. Unfortunately she died, fell from the 10th floor. Cat Phil. Lived for 12 years, by the end of his life he could see very little. Now there is a cat Phil-2. He is distinguished by a fair amount of intelligence and just in my opinion....handsome!
    1. +5
      29 December 2023 08: 57
      Has a fair amount of intelligence
      Naturally, a smart and serious gentleman. And he has an imperial look.
      1. +4
        29 December 2023 09: 22
        Quote: Aviator_

        No. He’s a simple, street guy. He’s his own guy. hi
        1. +4
          29 December 2023 16: 21
          But street people are the smartest, not so. that refined aristocrats.
    2. +6
      29 December 2023 09: 52
      Very beautiful! I like cats of this color.
      1. +6
        29 December 2023 15: 53
        Well, since there's such a booze, I'll show my cats! drinks Today we helped decorate the house)))
        Cats are very smart animals, thanks to the author for the article!
        All coming hi
        1. +4
          29 December 2023 15: 56
          The fawn cat is very beautiful!
          1. +6
            29 December 2023 16: 10
            Fawn is Peach, gray is Gansula. Peach chases mice around the site not out of fear, but out of conscience; on 25 acres there is room to turn around, although now he’s bored, there’s a lot of snow. Hansula doesn’t care about mice, he’s 17 years old, give him butterflies))
    3. +1
      29 December 2023 22: 44
      Phil-2. He is distinguished by a fair amount of intelligence and, in my opinion, is simply handsome!

      Sergey Vladimirovich, do you know that Phil the cat has five fingers on his hands and four on his feet? smile )))
      1. +1
        30 December 2023 06: 23
        Quote: depressant
        on the legs - four? )))

        Of course, Lyudmila Yakovlevna, of course. Because? It is your humble servant who is engaged in the furry claws. laughing
        1. +1
          30 December 2023 08: 23
          Your humble servant is working on furry's claws.

          I didn’t take it into account! )))
          At one time, when I had cats, I had no idea that they needed to trim their claws. Only now, wandering around the Internet, I discovered the existence of such a “service” from owners to cats. The cats are unhappy. In general, scratching posts and other comfort.
          What surprised you most?
          Cats have half as many neurons as dogs, but the neurons in a cat's brain are twice as dense, so the connections are shorter and cats are smarter than dogs.
          It seems that something similar is observed in different “breeds” of people. No wonder they say a liquefied brain...
          Are you really working today?
          1. +1
            30 December 2023 09: 50
            Quote: depressant
            Are you really working today?

            Yes. The end of the year. And before that we spent two weeks traveling to Gzhel. bully
            1. +2
              30 December 2023 10: 03
              Yes. End of the year.

              Well, well... Let's consider that this is good, because it distracts from other realities. I don’t need to run around anywhere, because my soul feels bad. It seems like there is something somewhere that doesn’t concern me, and then it will come in full...
              Okay, I won't talk about bad things.
              I came across a perky article by Vyacheslav Olegovich about PR, although here you can forget yourself and make fun of it.
  6. +7
    29 December 2023 08: 53
    Our Ryzhik plagued the house not only with rodents, but also with moths. Before him, there were mousetraps in the basement and garage, and someone was regularly caught in them, and at night you could hear someone scratching inside the walls. No more. So, due to the scarcity of mice, he switched to moths, which we could not eradicate for years, and it started after I foolishly, without looking, bought a pack of Ukrainian flour. But it’s already been six months since I’ve seen one.
    1. +5
      29 December 2023 09: 54
      Quote: Nagan
      haven't seen any

      By the way, yes. Our current cat Barsya also catches moths and crushes them with her paw! There will be a continuation about her...
  7. +9
    29 December 2023 10: 15
    I now have 17 cats and 4 kittens.
    They get along quite well in a two-room apartment.
  8. +6
    29 December 2023 10: 37
    The cat ran across the keyboard and I suddenly connected to SWIFT of a famous bank. But while I was thinking about what I would do with the wealth that had fallen, this bastard ran back.
  9. +9
    29 December 2023 10: 55
    I lived like this all my life with cats.. And each one had a bright personality. And in general, I personally am in holy confidence in their complete rationality. Not as much as a person, of course, but they have more intelligence than some statesmen and people of art!

    My new one underwent surgery as a child, and therefore is fiercely afraid of doctors. As soon as he sees a white robe, he immediately goes under the closet. And it doesn't come out. And then I became so depressed that I had to call an ambulance. So the cat realized what it was - to me, crawled out, came, sat on the edge of the sofa between me and the doctors, and sat until they left. Looking closely at what is happening. I only realized later that she had come to protect me from the scary doctors! I made sure that they didn’t offend me... Despite the fact that she herself is afraid of them! That's it..
  10. +8
    29 December 2023 11: 19
    I observed a picture proving the presence of higher nervous activity in a cat.

    A village cat, brought up in strict conditions by his mothers-in-law, lives mostly on the street, is only allowed into one room in the house and not always, fed from a bowl with what is left - suddenly left alone with the table set for the holiday - well, almost alone alone, I saw his torment.

    The poor fellow was sitting on a stool in front of the almost covered table, looking at the sliced ​​sausage and struggling with himself. From time to time he stretched his paw forward, towards the sausage, turned away, closed his eyes, pressed his ears and yelled. Then he pulled his paw away, looked at the sausage again, his gaze became more and more insane, and the fight resumed.

    After another attempt, I gave him sausage in his bowl, which may have saved the poor fellow from a serious nervous breakdown. I would have given it earlier, but I couldn’t get out of my chair from laughing.
  11. +7
    29 December 2023 11: 27
    However. Happy New Year to all friends/and not only!/furry people! Happiness and good luck, financial well-being and health. All, all the best! hi
  12. +5
    29 December 2023 13: 13
    I wonder why people are divided into “cat people” and “dog people”?
    They say that there are exceptions, but I have never met anyone who loves both dogs and cats equally. There are plenty of equally haters, but the sick don’t count.
    Perhaps the fact is that cats and dogs, like people, have different attitudes towards hierarchical relationships?
    There is, of course, an authoritative opinion:

    I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.

    But it seems to me that cats don’t look down so much as they demand respect for themselves, and this is not to everyone’s liking.
    1. +5
      29 December 2023 15: 58
      Quote: kakvastam
      and this is not to everyone's liking.

      Exactly. Dogs love you selflessly. And a cat's love must be earned. At least that's according to my observations
      1. +6
        29 December 2023 18: 21
        Cats are bought to love, and dogs so that they love you)))
        Quote: kalibr
        She, you see, was punished for stealing something from the table. But it didn’t occur to me that they should have been fed better.

        You can immediately see the city one)))
        You see, cats in villages are kept not for aesthetic pleasure, but to catch mice. And for most cats, if they are constantly full, this doesn’t matter. They'll get drunk and sleep. Yes. There are principled catchers. But there are also registered thieves. It doesn’t matter that the bowl is full, it still tastes better on the table!))
        There is also a common belief that cats are more likely to become mouse catchers than cats. And this, in general, corresponds to the truth, but now I have two “cat-like” people living with me. But if Chucha eats a mouse, it means she took it away from Belchik)))
        1. +3
          29 December 2023 19: 03
          Quote: Senior Sailor
          They'll get drunk and sleep.

          Don't know. My cat at the dacha always has food in his bowl. But she also catches mice. Once I caught 7 of them in a day! She ate two and... also had some food. And then - yes, then I slept until I left for the city.
          1. +2
            29 December 2023 19: 12
            Quote: kalibr
            But she also catches mice.

            What a score.
            Quote: kalibr
            Ate two

            But this can be dangerous. At least in our area. Mice are often poisoned and...
            1. +1
              29 December 2023 21: 10
              Quote: Senior Sailor
              Quote: kalibr
              But she also catches mice.

              What a score.
              Quote: kalibr
              Ate two

              But this can be dangerous. At least in our area. Mice are often poisoned and...

              At our dacha they are field animals, they come from the fields...
              1. +1
                30 December 2023 09: 05
                Quote: kalibr
                At our dacha they are field animals, they come from the fields...

                So, no one poisons mice in the fields?
                Wild people, children of the concrete jungle)))
                P.S. I don’t know about you, but in Kuban it’s, I don’t even know what to call it... a whole industry. For many, it is a way to earn extra money. They walk through the fields and drink poison.
                1. +1
                  30 December 2023 09: 32
                  Quote: Senior Sailor
                  For many, it is a way to earn extra money. They walk through the fields and drink poison.

                  There are three fields next to my dacha. They are regularly seeded and then mowed. But I have never seen anyone spill anything there in 8 years. Never!
    2. +4
      29 December 2023 16: 25
      Cats have a developed sense of self-esteem.
      1. +7
        29 December 2023 18: 03
        Happy New Year to all VO readers! Everyone eats deliciously and drinks sweetly in the New Year!
        1. +3
          29 December 2023 19: 10
          Quote: kalibr
          happy New Year!

          Thank you, and you too!
          Quote: kalibr
          Everyone eats deliciously and sweet peteь

          I-I, naturlikh!
        2. +1
          30 December 2023 01: 01
          Quote: kalibr
          Everyone eats deliciously and drinks sweetly in the New Year!

          The inscription in the upper left corner of the picture:
          "Kazan cat, Astrakhan mind, Siberian mind. He lived gloriously, ate sweetly, was sweetly active."

          By the way, cats do not have taste buds for sweets, from the word “at all.” They are obligate carnivores, and sweets (sugar) are always of plant origin.
    3. +1
      30 December 2023 00: 47
      Quote: kakvastam
      There is, of course, an authoritative opinion:

      I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.
      Winston Churchill
  13. +1
    29 December 2023 20: 07
    There was no talk of taking him to some veterinary hospital; I had never heard such a word in 1961.
    This actually characterizes the attitude of households towards the cat. There have been veterinary hospitals in all regional centers since the 50s, and possibly earlier. Here you have to fight with relatives for living space, this is not the time to treat the cat.
    1. +2
      29 December 2023 21: 16
      Quote: Aviator_
      There have been veterinary hospitals in all regional centers since the 50s, and possibly earlier.

      Probably she was also with us in Penza. But I didn't know about it. He was small and could not help but take into account the opinions of adults. And there was no Internet. And none of my relatives mentioned it. I have never even heard such a word. But even then, when in the 80s I already knew that it existed and we brought our cat there, as I wrote in the article, it was an extremely vile place. We both brought her and took her away. And they cured it with home remedies. But now it’s not like that. There are two animal clinics not far from my house, and these are clinics, not a stinking barn. And ultrasound and x-ray. And good medicine. So I can only rejoice at the changes that have taken place in our country!
      1. +2
        29 December 2023 21: 18
        So what are the complaints against the child? It was the adults who did not treat the cat, but simply killed it.
  14. +2
    4 January 2024 14: 58
    Vyacheslav Olegovich, thank you for the article, which plunged you into distant childhood. “A dog - the owner feeds me, that means he is a god, a cat - the owner feeds me, that means I am a god.” (c)

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