WHO WE ARE
Snuffy and Satchmo, snuggling
Snuffy and Satchmo, Toulouse, France, 2006
Any time with my cats is "quality" time
Snuffy came into my life just before Christmas of 1994, while we lived in Corals Springs, Florida. Mid-1996 we moved to the Seattle area. Satchmo joined us there early 1997. In December of 2000, we got separated when they moved across the US to Maine. After I moved to Toulouse/France in 2001, it became clear that Snuffy needed to be with me. Separating Snuffy and Sachmo was out of the question, and they both joined me in the south of France.
These cats traveled part of the globe
But they are not just trans/inter-continental travelers! Thanks to NASA, these cats are probably the first to have left the bonds of planet Earth! Their names were etched in a microchip on board several space probes: the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO; launch: mid-2009), the Mars Science Laboratory robotic rover (MSL; launch: November 2011), and the InSight Mars explorer (launch: March 2016). A "selfie" picture of them travels on the second LightSail spacecraft of The Planetary Society (launch: 2016).
Snuffy is a gray tabby "domestic shorthair". Small in size but grand in personality, character and love! He came into my life mid-December of 1994, when it was decided that wee needed a feline companion. One of the very best decisions of my life! We visited the Humane Society near our house in Coral Springs, Florida. They had two long rows of cages, from the front door to the back of the the large office - each row was two cages high. When we walked through the isle between the rows, one cat stuck his paws out the top of his cage, as if to say "I'm here, I'm here, take me!" Well, this ploy worked: we checked him out, played with him for a while, turned him on his back to see if he would scratch, etc., and then we did the paperwork. A couple of days later, "Jake", as his official name was, came home with us. He has been my best and dearest little buddy ever since. He was about 1½ years old at a the time.
He got used to his new home very quickly, and sniffed out every nook and cranny, twitching his nose like a little rabbit. This is why I renamed him "Snuffel" (Dutch for "sniffer", a common name given to pet rabbits). But he went by many names: Snuffels, Snuffy, Snuffy-poops, Snuffy-boy, Lieve jongen ("sweetie-boy"), Boefje ("little bandit")... He had been a 100% indoor cat, so it was fun to watch him take his first steps on the patio and in the grass. I made a trap door for him, so he could get out into his "jungle" around the screened-in swimming pool. He loved running around the pool and lived out there in the summer. Lie most cats, he did not like the water. He actually tried to protect us many times, by vocally warning us not to enter the pool! Sometimes he'd bring small lizards into the house and play with them. We'd put the critters back outside, which made him upset. So I'd crawl around on the floor with him, and together we'd search for his missing toy. He seemed to appreciate the effort...
Other peculiarities and story of the rest of his life is captured in this photo book, published in 2011.
Snuffy, Coral Springs, Florida, 1998
Snuffy, Sammamish/WA, 2000
Snuffy sleeping in a drawer of my desk, Coral Springs, Florida
Snuffy, rolled up in one of his favorite sleeping positions
Snuffy, Sammamish ca. 1999
Snuffy having fun, Coral Springs & Sebring (Florida), ca. 1995
Snuffy in a salad bowl, Sammamish 2000
Snuffy keeping me company in my home office, Toulouse 2003
After Satchmo passed away in 2007, Snuffy's health started to decline... Toulouse 2008
Snuffy, Toulouse May 2008
Snuffy, Toulouse April 2009
Snuffy, Toulouse November 2009
My buddy Snuffy passed away on November 22, 2009...
Mid-1996 we moved from right across the US, from Florida to the Redmond area near Seattle/Washington. In February of 1997, we decided that Snuffy should have a companion. Many (!) hours were spent at "Hooterville" animal rescue in nearby Woodinville. Quite a number of cats were checked out, some came close, only to fail the final tests. Eventually a male cat named "Inky" more than passed muster! He had lived with an elderly couple. His three brethren had already found a new home. Apparently, nobody wanted "Inky" because he had an unhealed nick in his nose, an issue with an eyelid, and weak hips (possibly from a nasty encounter with a dog). Luckily for us, he turned out to be another "winner". A medium-haired black (actually very dark brown), with about the same size, weight, and age as Snuffy. We bonded with him instantly. We were told to keep him separated from Snuffy for a couple of days. But after an hour or so of sniffing each other through the bedroom door, they were introduced - and became friends for life on the spot!
He never responded to his official name, so we decided to call him "Satchmo", the same nickname used for the other cool black cat: Louis Armstrong. Years later, I found another link between "Snuffy" and "Satchmo": there was a musician called "Snuffy" White in "Satchmo" Armstrong's band!
It took about six weeks (and some all-night whining) for Satchmo to get used to being an indoor-only cat. Early on, he gave us a real scare once, by escaping. We searched for him throughout the neighborhood, put up posters, and almost gave up hope. But after 2-3 days, he came back late one night, through the side door of the garage. What a relief!
One night, Satchmo kept us awake, by running up and down the stairs. Next morning, it turned out that we had locked his "brother" Snuffy into the laundry room, and Satchmo had been trying all night to get help! Of course, over the years, there were some wrestling matches as well...
Satchmo, Sammamish 1999
Satchmo, Sammamish 1999
Satchmo, Sammamish 2000
Satchmo loves melon!
In May of 2007, dear Satchmo suddenly developed a rapidly progressing, incurable liver ailment... Many trips to the veterinarian, primarily to make him comfortable... About a month later, it was really time to have the vet come over to our home, and help my dear friend leave this physical world. A heartbreaking "thank you for everything, I love you!". Snuffy was depressed for months...
Other peculiarities and other stories about his life is captured in this photo book, published in 2011.
Satchmo, Toulouse June 2007
Comforting Satchmo during his final hours...
Satchmo passed away on June 5, 2007
Memorial roof tile dedicated to Satchmo at a Buddhist temple on Koh Samui, Thailand, July 2007
I have captured the above story of Snuffy and Satchmo, with many more details, in a 24-page photo book:
The book was published in October of 2011 with ISBN number 978-2-9536846-9-8; it is available in the National Library of France, see here and here. A scanned version of the book can be downloaded in pdf format here; a high-resolution version is here (72 MB).
External links last checked: MAy 2016
©1999-2016 F. Dörenberg, unless stated otherwise. All rights reserved worldwide. No part of this publication may be used without permission from the author.