The Krueger who survived his encounter with the Bobwhite Quail in 1961 was a bold and enthusiastic young fellow with a culinary habit may have led to his demise a year or two later. He loved Japanese beetles and patrolled the top of the grape arbor, feasting. Dad found him under the grape arbor, beyond resuscitation by the vet, and blamed it on the damn beetles. Who knows.
Fast forward to the summer of 1966. Beth could walk, I was hugely pregnant with Shelly and my husband brought home a kitten. Because pets were not allowed we drew all the apartment curtains and lived in semi darkness until we moved the week after Shelly was born. Krueger was named in honor of the late Krueger, who was named for college friend. I’ve named many cats after friends.
In spite of living in semi darkness the first five months, Krueger had a happy and expansive personality. He and Beth were fast friends and playmates. She drug him around; he invented the game of chase Beth and knock her down. Round and round the short dividing wall between the kitchen and living room, then Krueger would double back and jump on her chest, knocking her down. Laughter, squeals from two year old Beth and the game recommenced.
We moved from the apartment to a house to another house in Krueger’s long life, without ruffling a whisker, but most of his years were spent in our Mentor house. Krueger started the cat trail that led from one corner of the back yard, diagonally to the elm tree then straight into the back garage door that led to the door into the house. In twenty years there I watched that cat trail, used by all my felines, turn to hard pack with no grass and visible as a depression under the snow.
My neighbor across the street called me one evening to come get my cat’s litter out from under his porch. “But my cat is a male.” “Well, he’s the father!” “My cat is neutered.” “Oh, please get these kittens!” I don’t recall if I did.
I was gifted a canary once, in a Taj Mahal cage. Harry Canary led to Carrie Nation, the finch, and her husband and babies, and a parakeet each for my daughters. There was a cat population to deal with too; Krueger, Phoebe Snow and BoomBoom. The solution was to hang the cages by hooks in the ceiling. This led to hard packed areas in the carpeting underneath; cats sitting patiently, waiting for a bird to fall. It never happened.
Somewhere around the age of thirteen or fourteen, Krueger began to decline; his liver rapidly failing. Dr. Kroh, our wonderful vet, took good care of all my animals. He put Krueger’s throat back in his body after a failed encounter with a pair of Airedales. He put a pin in BoomBooms front leg when the shattered bone couldn’t be rejoined. The last time he saw Krueger Dr. Kroh said take him home, make him comfortable for a few days.
We put Krueger on a warm bed under the kitchen table, food and water under his nose. We carried him out occasionally to relieve himself, and he watched the family activity from his spot. At Saturday chore time Shelly spread papers on the table and took down her parakeet to clean his cage. The first time ever the parakeet jumped straight out to have a look at the big world. He escaped outstretched hands over and over. He landed on the floor, strutted right past the helpless cat. Krueger stretched his neck, went chomp and had his bird.
Krueger died the next day. But think about it. All his life waiting and then the bird walked straight into his mouth.
Krueger was borrowed from the internet