Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sunrise, Sunset

sunset Lake Itaska

The hardest part of having pets is losing them. Its easy to give your heart to an animal, and they take part of you with them when they leave. Last week we lost Smokey.

I adopted Smokey one afternoon when I was having a hard day. We had moved to Lonview from Phoenix a month or two previosly, and were petless. While the kids were at school I was alone in the house, and it was cold, too quiet and lonely. That particular day I was driving home from a less-than pleasant recruiting lunch to an empty house, and I passed the cat adoption branch of the Humane Society and I stopped. After our last cat died at age 17 of diabetes, thought I knew what I wanted: a cat with presence, a talker (it was a classic case of "be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.) As soon as I walked into Paws to Adopt Smokey talked. I can't remember looking at any other cat. He paced up and down his cage meowing and purring outrageously. I asked to get him out. He rubbed and purred and kneaded, and even nipped me. At age 5 he had already lived in two homes, and had spent the last 4 months at the Humane Society. I took him home. (I was in trouble with my husband for a few seconds bringing an animal home without talking about it first, but he came around.)

Smokey had all the presence a person could ask for. Never a lap cat, he would sit on the arm of your chair and purr. He had a purr that could be heard across the room. A coupld of times first-time visiters to our house would hear him and ask "Is that the cat?" not believing he could purr that loud. If he wanted attention and a person was being stupid about it, he would give them a sharp nip on the elbow, which also worked if he was being petted but was ready to be left alone.

There are lots of stories I could tell: the way he liked to curl up in small places,the midnight run to the emergency vet,the bath I gave him that required I take antibiotics afterward, but the important thing is that he became part of the family, and we gave him his "forever home."

Smokey Chair Vulture

Losing a loved one is hard, even when the loved one is a third-hand cat. We will miss our World Champion Purrer with the prissy paws.

We have been a balanced family for a long time: two adults, two kids, two cats, two dogs. With Smokey gone, we had an opening for a cat. And with a somewhat obsessive/compulsive teenager in the house, who had been told he could pick out the next cat, the balance needed to be restored as soon as possible.

It is hard to photograph a kitten in motion. I don't know how calendar photographers do it.

Norman happy

Meet the new addition to the family. A favorable mix of Siamese and tabby cat, his SPCA name was Prince Charming, which was hardly fitting for a robust kitty who will be primarily owned by a fifteen year-old boy. He came close to being Tiberius, very close. We were all willing to go along with that, even though I think cats can have quite enough attitude without being named after Roman emporers. We had watched City Slickers recently though, and so he is Norman. A cat named after a cow.

Norman on rug

It is hard to be melancholy in a house with a kitten. And a new chapter begins.


Blogger Mokihana said...

I just lost my Xanax, my 16 year old talking cat who'd greet me at the door every time I came home. We still have 2 others upstairs, but Xannie's absence is grieving me terribly.

10:52 PM  

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