Benjui and Me
By Harold Shuler ~
This is a story about Benjui and me.
My name is Harold. I am typing this because Benjui can’t type. He has no thumbs.
Benjui is a Bengal Cat, half Asian Leopard and half House Cat. He is gray and white with black florets on his back, black dots on his belly and black rings around his tail. He has beautiful green eyes.
I am a human of mixed lineage, fat and old with white hair, moles, wrinkles and beautiful blue eyes.
We live in a 1-bedroom apartment. Our apartment is in a building with a lot of other old humans, some fat, some not so fat, some with white hair and some with no hair.
Benjui and I go for walks every day. Benjui likes to go for walks. Me, not so much. When he wants to go for a walk, and I am working on my computer, he gets up on the table next to me and taps me on the shoulder with his paw. I look into his beautiful green eyes and say “What?”
He looks into my beautiful blue eyes and, with his beautiful green eyes says, “What do you mean ‘what’? It is time to go for a walk.”
If he stands still long enough, I put on his vest and hook up our leash. We are on a leash when we walk. I am on one end of the leash and Benjui is on the other end of the leash. Sometimes I am walking Benjui and sometimes Benjui is walking me. Sometimes we will sit down and watch a squirrel or a bird. I cannot make Benjui move when he is watching a squirrel or a bird.
Sometimes Benjui chases things like squirrels, or birds, or leaves, or bits of paper, or bugs. Sometimes I have to chase after him when he chases squirrels, or birds, or leaves, or bits of paper, or bugs. I don’t run so good any more. Sometimes I just sit on my end of the leash and sometimes Benjui just sits on his end of the leash. Most of the time we just walk and talk.
Many of the old humans living here think Benjui is beautiful and smart. He lets them pet him and take pictures of him. They are amazed the first time they see him in his vest taking me for a walk. Most have never seen a cat taking a human for a walk on a leash. When they see Benjui walking me on a leash, they go, “Oh, Benjui, you are so beautiful and smart, so sweet. I just love your beautiful green eyes. Give me a kiss you handsome creature. Kiss, kis, kiss. Oh. Hi, Harold. Kiss, kiss, kiss. I wish I had a kitty just like you. You are just precious.” Then, they leave.
Some of the other old humans don’t like cats. I don’t think Benjui is scary, but some say he scares them and want me to take him away. So, we say, “OK,” and we go away.
We walk inside the building when it is nasty outside. (Benjui doesn’t like to walk on salty sidewalks or snow. I don’t like to walk on salty sidewalks or snow either.) and when I have to do the laundry. It is a long walk to the laundry. Buenjui doesn’t mind the walk, but he doesn’t like doing the laundry. I don’t like the walk, but I don’t mind doing the laundry.
Benjui takes his meals in a bowl next to the sink in our apartment. I take my meals in a bowl in the dining room. All the other old humans take their meals from bowls in the dining room. The management here won’t let Benjui take his meals in the dining room, because, well, because he can’t hold a fork. When one of the old humans can no longer hold a fork, they have to leave here.
Benjui uses a litter-box when he has to poop or pee. He kicks is kitty-litter out of the box all over the bathroom floor. I have to sweep it up, because it hurts my bare feet to walk on kitty litter. I put his clumps of poop and pee in little blue bags using a shovel full of holes. The loose kitty litter falls through the holes in the shovel, but the clumps of poop and pee don’t. I don’t have litter in my litter box, so I don’t use a shovel. I just flush it.
Benjui’s bed is on a shelf in the bathroom. My bed sets on the floor in the bedroom. Benjui sleeps in his bed, sometimes. Sometimes he sleeps on my bed when I am not in it. Sometimes he sleeps on my bed when I am in it. I sleep under the covers. Benjui sleeps on top of the covers. Sometimes I sleep on my side. Sometimes I sleep on my back. When I sleep on my side, Benjui sleeps in a ball in the crook of my legs and I can move. This is a good thing. When I sleep on my back, Benjui sleeps between my knees. Benjui weighs about 12 pounds and I cannot move. This is not a good thing.
Sometimes I wake up in the morning with Benjui standing on my chest, licking my face. I open my beautiful blue eyes, look into his beautiful green eyes and say, “What?”
He looks into my beautiful blue eyes and says, with his beautiful green eyes, “What do you mean, ‘What?’ It’s time to go for a walk.”
Note: On September 24, 2017, Benjui died. I miss him very much.
Harold Shuler, former household pet of Benjui the Cat.
About the Author:
Harold Shuler was born in Los Angeles, California, in 1933.
He graduated from the American Academy of Art in Chicago in 1961.
During a 30-year career with the U.S.Steel Corporation (1956-1986), his functions included: structural drafting and graphic/fine art. He retired as the Designer Planner for USS Realty Development.
During his years with USS and since,he freelanced as a commercial and fine artist including 3 years as an art gallery owner in Clarksville, Missouri. He closed the gallery in 2002, shortly after 9/11.
He taught drawing and painting at the University of Northern Kentucky and the Denver College of Art and Design as an adjunct professor.
Though he still paints, deteriorating vision has introduced writing to fill the creative gap.
He lives in Lakewwood, Colorado.