In Memory of Charley

26 July 2002 - 20 December 2013

How do you describe a Charley? Especially one that acts like he's half parrot? Charley was the baby of the Maggie's litter but you wouldn't know it now. He was also the only male besides Charles until Pixel & Desi joined us.

Charley was a solid black American shorthair who is a genetic mutation. He had extra toes on his front feet. He's called a polydactyl. Ernest Hemingway, the writer, collected polydactyls.

Having a thumb on each front paw can make life interesting for the parents of such a furbaby. One, you have to either declaw the kitty, which we didn't want to do or clip them and that is a royal effort to do. Especially with the one that turns under in between the thumb and the other claws. It's really hard to get at. So I had to start his clipping at a very early age.

Actually, I started all of them as early as possible. But he was first and you would still think that I was torturing the poor child. He tried to bite *mama* and I would tell him NO, but he had to keep trying, just like a child.

Photo of his front paws.

Charley loved to play parrot, to act like a trapeze artist and he got himself in more trouble than any of the other kitties combined.

Charles and I keep reminding ourselves that it's a good thing we don't startle easily because we would never know when Charley would take it into his head to jump onto our back or shoulder to ride. Here is a shot of Charley in the curtains his first year before I took them down.

And I got this shot when he parked himself on Charles' shoulder.

Charley LOOKED like he belongs to Miss Izzy but they weren't related at all. And it was because he was so much like her that Miss Izzy took to him so quickly. That didn't last. With his sharp claws and childish/teenage antics, he got on her last nerve. She decided that she just didn't like him most of the time. And yet, he treated her with proper respect by exposing his belly to her. That's when she just gets huffy and walks away. All he wanted to do was play.

He was a very vocal kitty with a wide variety of sounds. He was so vocal that he tended to keep us awake at night. And he took up one of Snowy's habits. He would like he got lost in the house and had to yell to be found.

Having triplet's in the house has been really interesting and fun and hair-raising/pulling at the same time. If this has come even close to what a human set would be like? I think I would have been in the looney bin by now.

Here are some more of our favorite Charley pictures:

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