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Sunday, April 12, 2020

Afterwards

First, my deepest thanks to all who have left comments and emails of condolences (and some graphics I will use soon) about Iza.  They are all treasured.  Each one soothed my heart and eased my pain at her loss.  You are all very special people and I am grateful for every word of kindness you sent.  The Cat Blogosphere is filled with the best people on Earth.

Going to bed Friday night was hard.  Iza wasn't there.  I stared at the bottom corner of the bed where she slept and just touched it briefly knowing I would never see her there again.  I will have to get used to that.   Every cat has personal habits.  And when they leave us, those habits leave with them.  But we who remain remember those habits.  Not seeing those habits again is hard. That corner of the bed is likely to remain vacant forever, as it was HER habit to be there.

But I remain, so I have to go on.

Sometimes, the details of a sad event can wear you down.  I decided on a spot for Iza today.  It is right between Skeeter and LC.  I have 3 Sedum 'Autumn Joy' plants in a row right behind the small pond and Skeeter and LC are between them. 

The plants are 20 years old and long overdue for lifting and dividing.  So Iza will be laid to rest where the center one currently is and I will find new places for the divisions to go.

Forgive me if I sound a bit overly practical.  It's my nature to compartmentalize.  When I am feeling most emotional, my rational side shouts for attention, and vice versa.  I was going to divide the 3 Sedums anyway, and if there is a hole in the right spot, well...

I went out and realized the spot has gotten overgrown with briars and weeds, so I spent an hour pruning and hoeing around it.  I would have dug up the Sedum, but my left hand decided to do that fun "involuntary finger clenching" trick.  So I had to stop for the day.  That Aspercreme stuff really helps.

Tomorrow, I will dig the plants up, dig the hole deeper and set Iza into it (she is in a bag in the basement refrigerator for now).  I think I will add a couple of her rattley-mousies, a branch of dried Nip, and a small bag of treats.  I think I will bring out the portable CD player with "Clair De Lune" on at the final moments.  Symbolism matters.

Then it will be time to build another wooden box marker and get some brass letters.  Building a box marker eases the pain somewhat and makes me feel vaguely productive. 

And then there are administrative things to do.  The blog header needs to be changed and the sidebar has to be updated.  I don't like to let things like that linger; it just bothers me to have unsettled details sitting around.

There is a certain irony that she died on Good Friday and will be buried on Easter Sunday.  

As I was sitting around the house, it occurred to me that I had 3 unusual cats.  Not to ignore The Cats Who Came Before, but Ayla underwent 3 spay operations before "they" finally got things right, Marley is a male Calico (only .1% of Calicos are male, for genetic reasons - he is an XXY cat), and Iza underwent a miraculous transition from Siamese to Tonkinese (I have the papers that declare her a purebred Siamese) and she died on Good Friday.  None of that was deliberate, of course.   Maybe it is a gift...

I won't go too long without a 3rd cat.  3 feels right for me.  As they say, when one door closes, another opens.  I want to consider carefully, though.  I was expecting that, when the time came, I would be older (I turn 70 next month).  I was thinking that, around 75, I would be too old to assume I would be able to care for a kitten its whole life, and I'm not intending to leave any behind.

So I was expecting to either adopt an adult cat or foster one (I have since realized that I could never foster a cat - I couldn't give it up to someone new) when one of The Mews went OTB.  Now I'm not sure.  I've never had a "real" kitten.  Even The Mews were about 8 months old when I got them.

I'm a bit torn.  The idea of adopting some adult cat and giving it a safe home and love when it may never have experienced it before is deeply appealing.  And I would be a good person for that.  Living alone (happily I will add) and being home all day woud be the perfect situation for an older stressed abandoned cat.  Ppeople who adopt senior cats for that reason have my never-ending admiration and respect. 

But a kitten...  OMG, the pleasure of seeing one experience life anew and discover fun and human attachment, and seeing the pure innocence.  I want to experience that.  And Ayla is 13 this year and Marley 10.  There will be (sadly) a few years from now when I will be certain to adopt an older cat because of my age at the time.

I guess you can see where this is going.  Sometimes, I find that just typing things out see I can read the words settles internal debates.  It will be a kitten.  And THEN an older cat.  And who knows, maybe by then I will have resolved my fear of having to give up a foster care cat, thinking of it more as an opportunity to be a mini-shelter to a cat at a time moving to a new loving family. 

I have a memory to fall back on for that.  I don't remember how many years ago it was, but one cold rainy November morning I was driving to work and needed gas.  I stopped at a place nearby and there was a cat near the pumps, wet, cold, and miserable.  It stayed next to me.  When I went inside to pay for the gas, I told the people there that they should let their cat inside.

They said it wasn't theirs and that someone had tossed it out the car window as they were leaving an hour before.  I went out and held the cat a few moments and then turned around and took it home.  I set it in the garage with a litterbox and some food and went to the office.  When I returned, the cat was dry, had pooped and peed, and it came right over to me and purred its little heart out in my arms.

Of course I adopted it.  But people have preferences.  Some people love short-haired cats, some people love long-haired cats.  Some people love solid-color cats, some people love mixed-color cats.  I tend to love mostly solid colored short-haired cats.  This one wasn't.  She (I discovered after a quick check) was long-haired and I bet there wasn't a square inch of fur color that matched the next.

I brushed her carefully for almost an hour.  It was a new experience for he and she didn't like it at all.  She had badly matted fur (amazingly, no fleas, but maybe that was because she had been out in the cold rain).  I named her "Cher" because she was a bit weird (and I LIKE Cher).  She never fully integrated into the household but was very loving when she had me alone.  She may have never lived with other cats.

My supervisor at work knew about her (I did have to explain why I was late the day I found her). Well, it turned out his family had a cat who was "My Cat From Hell" quality (hissy, clawy and mean) and had recently died.  Being a rather perceptive person, he asked if I might consider letting them adopt her.  Yes...

He and his wife came over to my house one evening to meet Cher.  Cher did her best "love me" routines, chasing a tossed kibble, batting a toy and rubbing legs.  When Mrs Supervisor (a school Principal, so no diminishment intended - I just never learned her name) sat down, Cher immediately jumped up on her lap and purred.  Well THAT settled it!

They took her home.  I felt a bit relieved (and rather noble about my good deed saving her and finding her a new home).  He told me a few days later how happy they were with her.  They had renamed her Boo because of her wide eyes and somewhat startled appearance.  And looking at pictures afterwards, I saw that they were right.

So, I CAN give up a cat.  That's good to know for the future.

But now, the question of what kitten.  I spent my first couple of adult decades with gray tabby female give-aways.  Nothing wrong with them and I loved each of them dearly.  But I did develop a desire for change.  Orange Skeeter was the 1st non-gray tabby females.  Black&White LC was 2nd.  Then came Siamese Ayla and Siamese/Tonkinese Iza.  Then Calico Marley. 

Please don't get me wrong when I say that I want to enjoy the beauty of other color cats.  And the personalities of other breeds.  It's pretty much my last chance.  While I have loved many Domestic short-hairs, I also think that any cat purebred or not is going to be happy here and me with it.

And let me say that the purchase or adoption fee of a cat is pretty irrelevant.  It's the food and vet and litter that matters and that is the same for all cats.  So, I'll assume from past experience that any cat will love me and I it....

I have a strong tendency toward a female Tonkinese.  Iza was amazingly affectionate and devoted.  But I see pictures of others.  It will be a short-hair (maintenance is not my greatest pleasure), female, smallish-to medium size (my lap can't manage a 20 lb cat), and (unless Tonkinese) "different".  I want a cat that talks a lot.  I want a cat that looks like a cat.  Forgive me please, but no short legs, weird ears, and a full tail.  A cat with a high degree of intelligence (for a cat of course).

Brown for Abyssinian or Burmese or Havana Brown.  Or Siamese colors.  I'm really limiting myself here, I suddenly realize.  You start to think about what you want and the list narrows fast.  I think what I am realizing is that I want Tonkinese female with Burmese colors. 

But there will be another cat of some kind here soon.  I'm not one who leaves doors closed for long.  BTW, you can have a smile at the first version of that sentence:  I originally typed "I don't leave closed doors open for long..."  You have to laugh at yourself sometimes. 

We will be back soon to visit all you dear friends.  But we need a few days.  I'm sure you understand.