First Name, Theo. Full Name…?

Theo came to us out of nowhere. As so frequently happens, we had no intention of getting another cat. Oh yes, we had a cat already and had recently lost another one in the past few years, due to old age. The one we had left, Karma, was already very old. She was over 18 years old in fact. And, she had never been an “easy” cat. She was “bad Karma”  way more often than she was “good Karma.” (I used to say she was half Angora, half Russian Blue, and 100% bitch. People would laugh, but it was true.) She was gorgeous, though. (See the pics below.)

From top left: Karma was a playful cat even when she got old, and loved ribbon and string of all kinds. Top right: Karma posing on her favorite pillow. Bottom: Karma doing her Greta Garbo impression (“I vant to be alooooone.”)

Our plan– of course we had one – was to wait until Karma had gone to the big kitty litter box in the sky and then, and ONLY then, would we get another cat. And we would get two cats, young but not kittens, that could be buddies for each other.

Well, Theo had other ideas. He showed up one day in the late summer of 2004. Actually he showed up in the very early morning while it was still dark. Michael (my husband) and I were just starting our daily 3-mile walk, about 5:30 AM. We got to the end of our tiny cul de sac, and heard a piteous crying behind us. Turning around, there was this very small and very thin black cat, not really a kitten but certainly not grown, following us. Michael was very firm. He pointed sternly at the little cat and said, “No! Don’t follow us! Go to your own home!” And we walked out of our street and did our 3 miles.

When we came around the corner toward our street on the way back, the little black cat was still sitting at the corner of our street in our neighbor’s yard, waiting for us. As soon as he saw us, he gave us a meow, stood up, stuck his tail straight up in the air, and followed us back to our house, mewing pitifully all the way.

Well! We certainly weren’t keeping him. And although he was thin, he was clean. No fleas, no obvious injuries. So I spent most of that day driving him around the neighborhood and asking everyone if they knew whose kitty he was. My best friend Janie and I had him scanned for microchips. I put up signs all over the neighborhood. Nothing. Then I placed a “FOUND” ad in the paper. Nothing.


When Theo first came to us, he was exhausted and starved. He spent some time hiding under furniture and in boxes.

Did I mention that Karma had absolutely ZERO tolerance for any other cats? As far as she was concerned, she was the only cat on the planet and that was how things should always be. No way we could try to get the two of them together at her advanced age, and she already had kidney disease. So we kept Theo in the downstairs part of our house, where our studios are. Plenty of windows, lots of places to hide and play, and we were down there a lot. But. He could not be with us upstairs. OK, that’s fine, we’ll find someone to adopt him. No luck. He had not yet been neutered and was really starting to act like a MAN, if you know what I mean. Plus, as soon as we started feeding him and he rested up, he doubled in size and weight in no time. People would come to look at him and say, “But I thought you said he was a kitten!”

Meanwhile, all our friends are like, “So what are you going to name him?” And I would say, “We’re not naming him because we’re not keeping him.” And they would say, “Oh, sure, Linda…”

Eventually of course we caved. We realized he’d been with us for what, two months? More? He had gotten really big and nobody else wanted him. Plus he was not as socialized as he needed to be, and he could be really aggressive.

So what did we do next? Well you already know we still have him. But the name? How did he get that very long and dramatic name…?

Stay tuned…