Karl Strieby

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“Igor Strakatsky” aka “Prince Igor”

In August of 1981, you first laid eyes on your people through the bars of a cage at the Winnipeg Humane Society. Just a few weeks after your people moved into (what was to be) your house in Winnipeg, you reached out a little velvet paw, and meowed a “hey, look at me!” (It may have also been significant that your food dish was getting low at the time...)

When the cage door opened, you jumped onto a shoulder, purring madly, a steady low d-f minor third with a “rusty squeek" on the exhale. The obvious tonality and tempo of your purr inspired the assignment by your people of your official theme song – the d-minor "Frere Jacque" slow movement of Mahler's Symphony No. 1 (which your people performed with the WSO a few weeks after you moved in with us).

Many "lyrics" were composed by your people to your song, which we won't get into here. It always started “Little I--gor”... and went on on to describe something you were into at the time. Your unerring d-minor purr always provided a virtuoso accompaniment.

Young IgorBack to our story. The Humane Society adoption formalities and the car trip home completed, you quickly took command over your kingdom, which you graciously agreed to share with your humans (and shared with other felines later.) It was, is, and ever will be “Igor's House.”

Thanks for sharing it with us, Puss.

You grew from a feisty kitten into a big strong cat who could have been truly fearsome if you had a mean bone in your body. Lucky for us, you didn't.

Igor on the sofaMany a flute student and visiting computer geek got to know you. All appreciators of felines amongst them remarked on how handsome and sweet you were. In your prime, many exclaimed on first sight of you, “What a big cat!” Everyone who got to know you said, “what a nice cat!.”

And you trained your people well. It was never hard to know when mealtimes were expected.

In the morning, if purring in a sleeping human ear got no action, next came the knocking down of objects off the dresser top. Or playing with the “rabbit ear” TV antenna, the window shade, or the ultimate -- rattling of the mirror. And if that didn't work, you'd organize a tag - team effort with the other cats.

Igor on top of the fridgeIn the evening, it would start with ™The Stare, escalate to plaintive meowing, and assorted mischief making. The words "Are you Hungry?" never (until near the end) failed to get a big response -- even if the food dish was still part full, and you were still licking your chops from a course of a meal.

It was amazing how quickly you realized that having other cats in your house also meant -- more food dishes. But you were always very polite, letting either Delilah or Sophie nudge you away from a dish so they could eat.

You were no dummy -- you knew there would be left-overs.

And when your people were both away at work, there was always a worried looking orange tabby watching out the window when they came home. The sound of a key in the lock brought you running to the door.

And when you got picked up by a returning human, you gave the nicest "chin nuzzles" a person could ask for.

Bless your heart, the greeting Igor gave me when I came back from Canadian Forces Basic Training is by far the best memory I have of that time. Even if I had to spend a lot of time trying to keep cat hair off my uniform (and never completely succeeding, of course...).

You could reboot any of several generations of DOS or OS/2 PCs by walking across the keyboard. You were uncannily able to hit the CTRL+ALT keys with a back foot, and the DEL key with a front foot. Then your geek human got a keyboard drawer, and wrecked your fun.

Igor on "his" rocking chairYou could disrupt TV watching or the reading of any newspaper, book, or magazine by very precisely interfering with the line of sight the human had been using. Your tactics included; sitting in front of the computer monitor, sprawling across an open book, attacking an open newspaper when the human moved it to change pages, etc.

You fought a good fight, Little Buddy, against hyperthyroid, kidney failure and associated heart problems. Dr. Lameg did what she could for you for over two years. You were a mere shadow of your former self for many months. But thanks to Dr. Lameg, we had a lot of extra quality time together.

Many new verses of the d-minor "Igor song" were improvised as the months and years went by. But when your weight dropped below 6 pounds and kept going down, your people couldn't bear to see you suffer further. And the gentle doctor sent you beyond your ills on July 31, 1998.

Auf wiedersehen.

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Last site update started 02/20/20.