Gooey and his Golden Horn
painting of Gooey Some lessons I learned from Gooey:

Know your strengths and use them to your best advantage.

A sense of humor can usually rescue you from the stickiest of predicaments.

If you've got it, flaunt it!
Photo of Gooey wearing a red hat "Appearing whenever the mood strikes him. Well worth the wait for his dulcet warble.
Critics call it unearthly, but fans call it sheer unadulterated talent - a gift from God."

I was coasting down a freeway off-ramp when the driver in front of me tossed a ten week old kitten out his window into the Oleander bushes along the divide. I immediately pulled to the side of the road and rescued the stunned little guy. Fortunately he was not injured, and after a short acquaintance period, he fell asleep in my lap and we rode home together. Because of his black and white markings, I originally called him Penguin, which later evolved to Mr. Goo, and then to Gooey.

Right from the start, we realized that Gooey was no ordinary feline. Some cats prefer to keep their thoughts to themselves, others answer only when spoken to, but Gooey talked all the time. He initiated daily seminars on a variety of topics, including (but not limited to) feeding schedules, food preferences, the feline health benefits of an all-chicken diet, etc., etc.

Shortly after I rescued him, I was listening to some old Billie Holiday vinyl, and Gooey trotted into the room and took a seat in front of the speaker. He gave the music his undivided attention for a few minutes and then burst into an enthusiastic accompaniment which was right on key. He was actually improvising some fairly intricate horn lines, and of course I applauded him and made a big fuss over his performance. That was the moment a star was born. From then on, he sang every day. If there was no music to accompany, he'd make up his own complicated little songs, complete with dynamics and key changes. These a cappella performances were usually executed in the laundry room where the acoustics were strongest and offered just the right touch of reverb.

One afternoon after scavenging the flea market, I returned home with a child's red T-shirt and a goofy pair of sunglasses with lenses shaped like mice. Gooey greeted me with his usual barrage of questions and comments, demanding to know where I'd been and whether there was anything in that bag for HIM. As a matter of fact, there was. I tugged the T-shirt over his head, tucked the sunglasses under the back of his collar, and began to applaud. His chest swelled and he began to strut his stuff, insisting that we get him an agent right that very minute. Over the years, his many costumes included flannel shirts (sleeves rolled up, of course), tank tops, hats, bandannas, and bow ties, and he loved nothing more than to dress up and perform for guests. After one of his lengthy arias, we presented the Golden Horn to Gooey and hooked it onto his collar with much ado and ceremony.

Gooey passed away at age 15 from Feline Infectious Peritonitis. May he always hear the sound of two hands clapping.


Prints and greeting cards of this painting can be purchased
on my Artwork for Sale page.

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All images © Alison Whalen