LOVE is anterior to life,
Posterior to death,
Initial of creation, and
The exponent of breath.
– Emily Dickinson
It has been a week. My heart still breaks over and over every day when I wake up to a house without a cat. I have had cats since before I was born.
My mom tells a (possibly apocryphal) story of visiting her aunt, who’s cat had just had a litter of kittens. One of the kittens was instantly attached to my mother, who at the time hated cats. Also, at the time, unknown to everyone, my mom was pregnant with me. The kitten knew, of course.
Shenanigans occurred between my mom’s sister and aunt, and my mom ended up with this kitten, who stayed glued to her side throughout the pregnancy. They were so in tune that the kitten went into her first heat the day my mom went into labor.
When she came home from the hospital with her teeny new baby, my mom was worried about how the cat would react. She didn’t need to worry, though. The cat, Tuffy, immediately climbed into the crib with me, and stayed as my constant guardian and companion, protecting me from any intruders, or people who would bother me. The cat wasn’t my mom’s friend – the cat had picked me, before I was even born.
So, I’ve always been a cat person. I love them with all my heart and soul. When I donate money at the end of the year, it goes to various shelters and organizations that support cats. When I didn’t have local family to spend thanksgiving with, and since I don’t observe Christmas, I would spend the day at a local cat shelter, feeding the kitties and playing with them while the regular staff got a day off.
She came into my life when I was a senior in high school. She was in my senior pictures. She would sit inside my shirt when I’d go to the mall. She’d ride in the back window of my ’84 Ford Tempo when I’d go places. When I moved to Colorado, she sat on my lap and on the front shelf of the dashboard of the moving van, a perfect traveling companion. When the boyfriend and I started spending long weekends together (since we lived so far apart) I’d bring her with me, and she happily settled in here with the dogs. She was so easygoing.
As a kitten, she was so tiny, and silky, and black, that when she’d lay on the floor, it was as though all her bones and muscles just melted. She looked like a puddle of black silk, so my mom called her “Puddles.” She marched right into our home and told our current cat (A beast of a boy named Imp – the devil incarnate) what was what. She would chase the light of a flashlight, jumping 4-5 feet up the wall to get it. She LOVED to chase balls. She talked constantly. As one friend said on my facebook wall, she was a legend. Everyone who knew me knew of her. She had a voice that would stop traffic. We have a Kinect, and the microphone would pic up her yowls while she was walking around the house, and if the boyfriend was playing a multiplayer game, the other players would often freak out at the noise. Her voice also hit the perfect pitch to travel through the phone – even if she wasn’t that loud, it sounded magnificent on the other end of the line.
My last landlord loved her, and worried about her ceaselessly, because she’d hear the howls and moans from my apartment – but that was just Noire gathering her “babies” – little toy balls that were made of foam, and looked like golf balls. She loved those things. She would gather them into piles and “yell” at them for being so scattered. She also loved to put all the “babies” in my bed when I wasn’t home, so when I would arrive at the end of a long day, there were presents for me.
This video is from 2 or 3 years ago – her agility, interest in playing, and alertness really had gone down in contrast to this, mostly in the last 6 months, though even just 3 weeks ago, she still was batting around the “babies” – just with less leaping and attacking. She was so beautiful. She was my heart and soul. And now, she is stardust. One day, I will see her again. I cannot live with any other thought than that.