C is for Cat
Anyone who knows me even a little bit would also know that in my world C could stand for nothing other than Cat. I admit it, I'm a crazy cat lady and would probably have dozens if it weren't for the voice of reason... my husband, who loves felines as much as I do but insists that five inside is enough! (As an adult, he had one cat, or should I say the cat owned him, that lived to be 20 years old. That's rare, and a testimony to the care and love it received.) As middle-aged folks with children grown and out on their own, our cats have become our "furkids" and provide us with endless hours of entertainment and affection.
This post is not only for the amazing A-Z Blogging Challenge, but also for Write A Letter Wednesday. This letter is dedicated to Stormy, who celebrated his 15th birthday in March, which makes him close to 80 in cat years...
My Beloved Stormy,
Who could have imagined the experiences you and I were destined to share when chose you from a litter of farm kittens in the early summer of 1996? You were a six-week-old fluffy grey furball with exotic white eyeliner and ears much too big for your tiny body. My daughter, just graduated from college and staying with us for a month while waiting for her state board exam results, named you Storm, which we soon corrupted to Stormy much to her dismay.
I remember how comical you looked with your outsized ears and tiny paws fringed in long fur. Ever the playful prankster back then, one of your favorite tricks was to latch on to the end of a roll of toilet tissue and trail it all the way thru the house while we were away at work. You became so adept at unrolling it that we found it easier to just keep a bin of shreds rather than neat squares on the roll. The roll of paper towels hanging in the kitchen were also fair game for destruction!
In your early years, you weren't all that affectionate and cuddly. You wanted to be around us and interact with us, and you followed us room to room, but didn't want to be held or cuddled, a preference that changed with later years when you discovered that lap time was luxurious and even moreso if someone would brush your long silky fur.
Do you remember when the handle of the plastic grocery bag you were playing in got looped over your long tail and in your eyes it became a monster, expanding with air and and hovering over you as you flew around the room trying to excape it? We laughed until tears ran down our faces! When I was able to catch you and rescue you from the clutches of the evil bag, your poor little heart was pounding and your eyes were wide as saucers with fear. To this day the rattle of a plastic shopping bag will send you fleeing to another room.
Bright and quick to learn from the beginning, you taught your self some adorable "tricks" fueled by our applause the first time tried them. If we were eating in the den, and it was something you wanted to share, you'd roll over on your back on the floor in front of us, paws extended up in the air, and "play dead" while watching us carefully thru narrow eye slits. We would laugh, and offer you a treat. It worked every time, didn't it?!
You loved your "dad" most, following him everywhere like a puppy, even to the bathroom, where you would sit at his feet and take advantage of the captive audience. It was here you first tried the "praying" bit, sitting up on your back haunches like a dog, putting your front paws together, and begging for petting. Of course we laughed! It wasn't long before you began using that as a gesture to request permission to jump up on our laps... a habit that you've continued to this day. We'll look down to see you silently sitting up at our feet, paws together, "praying", waiting for us to say "come on up Stormy," as if you ever needed to ask permission in the first place!
Then there is the "tap my nose" trick, another self-taught game. When you slept in the bed with us and weren't quite ready to settle down, you would walk up on your daddy's chest and tap his nose with your paw, as if to say "Hey you, play with me!" In no time at all you learned to repeat this whenever we would say "Tap my nose, Stormy!" You still remember this trick in your old age too. Just the other day I was holding you on my lap and talking to you about our lives. I was sad because I know you won't be with us a whole lot longer. You listened carefully and nuzzled into my arm with your ever-wet nose, and then out of nowhere reached up and tapped my nose, as if to say "It's ok, I'll always be close by." That made me cry.
You know you've been with me longer than any other man in my life! My longest marriage lasted only 13 years. That says something about love and loyalty I think. I tell John that you are "The King" in our house, with a harem of four feline ladies to attend you, though mostly you growl and dismiss them if they dare to come too near. You are pretty much permitted to do whatever pleases you, which these days is more about taking long leisurely naps than anything else. John asks when he will be the king, and I tell him not until you've passed to the spirit world!
I wince when I think of the hard, hard times we went thru together before I left my ex-husband... so much anger, hostility, and confrontation. So much drug and alcohol-fueled craziness. It was really scary, wasn't it? Then too, you had to endure the pounding of the band's amplifiers as they practiced in the house all hours of the day and night. I know it hurt your ears as much as it did mine, since you'd burrow under the bedcovers with me.
Then I had to leave and I couldn't take you with me. My apartment in town wouldn't allow any pets, and it nearly broke my heart. You spent a little time at my daughter's house but weren't happy there, too many other kitties and unfamiliar people. You languished, so I brought you back home to your daddy at the farm and you were so happy to see him! He had missed you greatly too. Things went well there for awhile, and you really liked his girlfriend. She adored you and took good care of you too.
But the time came when he lost the farm house, seldom having employment will do that, and once again you needed a place to go. I asked if I could have you back, now that I was married to John and we could give you a loving, healthy, happy home to enjoy in your senior years. It was a sad day for your daddy when we met to pick you up and he had to say goodbye, but a day of rejoicing for me, as at long last I had you back in my arms!
You have done so well in our new house, your fur shines, your eyes are bright, you spend your waking hours watching the activity outside our windows in all four directions. You are fed a healthy diet and loved on a lot. You get treats every morning and never let us forget them. Your life is peaceful and you seem so content. Sometimes you talk a lot, especially when supper is running a little late!
We laugh when we hold one of the new kittens up to you by way of introduction and you snarl like a grouchy old grandpa, warning the "youngun" not to mess with you... as if you would harm one tiny hair on it's little fuzzy head! But you put on a very convincing show. You do it with the female cats here too, warning them with a look and a snarl if they annoy you with their antics or chasing each other about... and they pay attention! It is Stormy's house after all, he is the king here!
You're getting older now, we see the signs. Your once muscular body has become softer, thinner, and your walking is more frail. You don't hear as well, I if approach when you are sleeping you are startled. That never would have happened in your youth. Your beautiful face is now framed in white where once it was dark silver gray, and your eyes aren't quite a bright as they once were, but are still so very exotic, lined in white as if hand-painted. You have always looked as if you were of regal breed, rather than a common barn kitty who was fortunate to be born very handsome!
I know that one of these days you will leave us for the spirit world voluntarily, or medical issues will come which will force us to take humane steps to prevent you from suffering. Until then, I will hold you close in my arms every night and whisper how much I love you, and when you have crossed the rainbow bridge I will hold you in my heart forever until we meet again.
God bless you my beloved furbaby... you were such a comfort to me in the darkest times of my life, and are such a joy to me now. No one could want for a better friend.
Love always and forever,