At times, he was infamous; indeed, in some locations we lived in, he had a sort of fame. He was a large gray Canadian cat who claimed me while he was a kitten. Kicked out of the litter early, he’d been bustling around Ottowa’s Lyon Street for weeks when I met him. The scrappy brat was tiny but had acquired local fame for beating up much larger felines and dogs. Terrorizing two hoods who thought they could abuse a cute kitten was what brought him to the attention of the neighborhood. Backing him into an alley was their first mistake. He had dashed between their legs and, soon, had them trapped. According to accounts I heard afterward, their emphatic cries for help went unanswered. And the neighbors enjoyed the volte-face situation of the two punks screaming for help.

After he condescended to reside with me, the neighbors filled me in on his activities. Soon, there was a growing compendium of stories. Fights against larger cats and dogs and thefts of food. We named him Clancy after the song Clancy Lowered The Boom. It somehow seemed appropriate.

He lived for over fifteen years and kept me well-disciplined. Among his notable achievements was the bloody apprehension of a burglar in the loft building where I held a studio. The burglar was found by the police in a bathroom, on the toilet, and he was feverishly begging for someone to please take the cat away.

We nicknamed him The Grey Menace, and his motto could have been, “faithful to a friend. A terror to an enemy.”

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