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Odessa American, Texas, Nathaniel Miller column
[November 30, 2012]

Odessa American, Texas, Nathaniel Miller column

Nov 30, 2012 (Odessa American - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- I could never understand why John Grogan got all the attention he did when he wrote those columns, and eventually a book, about his dog.

"Marley and Me" was released in 2005 and then a movie with the same name was released in 2008, but try as I might, I couldn't understand what the appeal was. It was a dog, it was dumb, and it left a path of destruction in its wake.

Mind you at the time the book came out, I was an 18-year-old armed with a pack of Marlboro Reds and roaming UTSA like a big man on campus ... or at least I was in my head. The idea of reasonability was at the time passing classes, getting to my job on time and making sure there was enough gas in my 2001 Dodge Dakota.

But then I graduated, came to Odessa, and for the first time in my life, I was on my own. Not knowing what to do at home by myself, I went looking for a pet. In my search, a friend told about a gray kitten that was saved from the verge of death by a local clinic staff. They lovingly called her "the monster" because she would meow nonstop when she got hungry.

While looking at the kitten at the clinic, I hand to keep putting my hand in front of her so she wouldn't walk off the edge of the examination table. After doing this several times, the kitten bit my hand in annoyance, showing me the tiniest glimpse of her personality.

I immediately paid the adoption fee and took her home the next day.

I took the suggested monster name and changed it to "Monstar" after the mythology of one of my favorite bands. To say she lives up to the name is an understatement.

Not long after her adoption, I would come home to find Monstar climbing halfway up my bass bag only to look at me, run and climb up my pant leg. Food, especially salads, left unguarded, were subjected to a small gray flash grabbing whatever she could put in her mouth and hiding just out of arm's length under the bed.

At the time when I began to feel I was going to regret the small gray beast, I sat down to strum the acoustic guitar in the apartment and Monstar, coming out of whatever trouble she was getting into at the moment, sat down to listen. As I continued to play, she didn't try to swipe at me or the guitar, but instead, intriguingly watched as my left hand made chord progressions and my right hand finger picked each string.

Since then, a guitar in my hand has become a favorite time for Monstar, second only to feeding time.

As strange as it sounds, Monstar is a fan of acoustic rock. Heavy metal like Mudvayne and Slipknot well giver her case of the "crazies," or that moment where cats get sudden bursts of energy. Country leaves her indifferent and rap doesn't play out of my speakers.

I know it's weird to say that a cat enjoys music, but this isn't a normal cat. The White Stripes' "We're Going to be Friends" is a favorite of hers. Even to this day, she'll stop whatever she's doing to listen to the song.

One of the handler's favorite bands is the Eels, an Indie rock band formed in 1995. Their best known song was probably "My Beloved Monster" from their album "Beautiful Freak" and released on the "Shrek" soundtrack.

While the song could refer to the singer's lover, or an actual monster (the song refers to a jacket with four sleeves), the song is another favorite of the gray Monstar that is currently sitting in the way of my computer as I type this.

My girlfriend jokes I love the cat more than I do her, and it's a lie. Angela doesn't drive me as insane as the cat does.

Since becoming a pet owner, I finally understand why Grogan wrote all those columns and eventually that book about his family dog. I, however, won't be doing that any time soon after this runs.

However, if something happens and this cat does lands me a movie deal in the future, my only request is that Owen Wilson doesn't play me.

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___ (c)2012 the Odessa American (Odessa, Texas) Visit the Odessa American (Odessa, Texas) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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