"Hi, my name is Deeter. I like to play with small animals."
“Hi, my name is Deeter. I like to play with small animals.”

I used to have this theory that everyone has one Great Love in their lifetime. A Great Love is not necessarily who you end up with (in fact, more likely not IMHO) but it’s someone who changes you profoundly. Author Andrew Sean Greer (“The Confessions of Max Tivoli”) takes it a step further. “We are each the love of someone’s life,” he writes. I love the quote, but I question the math. What if one gorgeous man or woman is the great love of five people’s lives? Doesn’t that leave four people without an available great love?

"Want to come out and play? I'm exceedingly good at hide'n'seek. Just try and find me."
“Want to come out and play? I’m exceedingly good at hide’n’seek. Just try and find me.”

I believe that in addition to a Great Human love, people with animals also have a Great Dog or Cat Love. Sure, I know you love all of your pets, but wasn’t one just a little more special? Didn’t one of them speak to you, make you feel like you and he/she forged an almost mystical connection?

"These are no fun at all to hunt. They don't run, they don't scream."
“These are no fun at all to hunt. They don’t run, they don’t scream.”

Deeter was my Great Love in the feline world, high praise indeed as I’ve had a lot of great cats. Deeter was different, though. We could communicate.  He shared my loathing of all things rodents and like the ruthless assassin he was, he racked up an impressive number of kills.  His homicidal instincts were not restricted to rats. A friend of Sam’s brought a kitten into our house when she came to visit. Deeter went ballistic, stalking and terrifying the little intruder so much it chose death-defying leaps from one outside balcony to another rather than face Deeter’s wrath.  Eventually, Deeter’s patience was rewarded and he trapped the little girl downstairs when no one was watching. He slashed her stomach so badly she required surgery (which I felt required to pay for. Not such a cool move, Deeter.) Don’t worry, the kitten survived and – equally important – Deeter made his point. No new cats would be moving in, not even on a temporary visa, not under his iron rule.

"I'm just a sweet little pussycat when you get me alone."
“I’m just a sweet little pussycat when you get me alone.”

Deeter was a character, a personality with a strong life-force (read death force for rodents, birds and lizards.)  According to my next-door neighbor – not one of Deeter’s fans for reasons which will soon become apparent – Deeter heroically held a rattlesnake at bay while my neighbor sought help.

"This is quite comfortable, really. Thank you for asking."
“This is quite comfortable, really. Thank you for asking.”

For a merciless killing machine, Deeter had a surprisingly babyish side. He loved to toss rubber bands in the air and then pounce on them. He loved to lie beside me and knead my flesh. He loved to jam his head deep into J’s smelly tennis shoes and inhale deeply. He loved howling cat fights with our next-door neighbor’s Russian cat Micki, a psycho KBG agent (I can’t prove it, but strongly suspect.)

"What I need now is another hit off this smelly shoe."
“What I need now is another hit off this smelly shoe.”

For weeks after Deeter died, Micki wandered by our windows like she did every day to tempt Deeter into a frenzy. Now, though, she was searching for Deeter – and she looked sad. Well, as sad as a psycho cat can look. Beneath their violent vicious hatred, I believe they were deeply in love. I guess we’ll never know.

"Oh, the indignity! The insult! Did she have to get me a GREEN cast?"
“Oh, the indignity! The insult! Did she have to get me a GREEN cast?”

I have another terrific tuxedo cat now – Gatsby (below). I’ll always have a tuxedo cat in my life, in memory of Deeter but there can never be another feline Great Love for me.  I’ll miss Deeter till the day I die.

Gatsby the Goofball lacks Deeter's aura of building menace.
Gatsby the Goofball lacks Deeter’s aura of building menace.

If you had a Great Love – Dog or Cat – please post a picture and their name. Surely I’m not the only one.