“Every life should have 9 cats” – Anonymous
Our resident diva passed away on the 21st of November, having exhausted eight of her nine lives. (She donated one to our chocolate labrador).
She lived a full life in her thirteen and a half years, more human than cat and more dog than cat (when she realised she needed to be the alpha dog, given that space and attention was being diverted to not one, but two demanding, boisterous chocolate labradors).
She lived with a ferocious dignity, never shying away from what she thought was right and due to her. She kept the dogs in line, swatting them, warning them, stalking proudly under them, making her way to a patch of sunlight or a cushion or a table or a corner – wherever her fancy took her that day.
She explored the neighborhood (or rather many neighborhoods as we moved homes regularly), climbed walls, roofs and trees, fought brave and unnecessary battles with the local felines, sunned beside pools, evaded predatory pythons and terrorized neighbours. She did have an artistic side to her, manifest every time I practiced Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. She would appear from behind a door or curtain and lie down beside the piano till it was over.
For a time, when her motherly instincts dominated (for about less than a year), she decided to put our (then) eight-year-old to bed. She timed it precisely each night, waiting by his bedroom door, matching his calculated leap into a pile of pillows with a perfectly parallel arcing leap, then settling into a fluffy heap beside his head, possessively watching over him as he fell asleep. Every night, with that job well done, she went her nocturnal way.
And she talked. How she talked. Never reticent, she expressed her precise feelings, intentions, opinions and needs in no uncertain terms.
She fell ill. She recovered by the skin of her teeth and the cumulative determination of pet, vet and family – all tirelessly working to one end through drips, injections, meds, and baby food syringed into her. She recovered and resumed her daily altercations with the tabby next door, stalking her at dawn and dusk, vituperative.
A year passed, and she fell ill again. Despite daily drips and 5 injections, she did not improve. She lay listless, weak, unmoving, unable to eat, stand or walk. No opinions, no resistance, just a blank acceptance. It was time for her to go; the vet recognised it as did we. This feisty ferocious feline was telling us, in her own inimitable way, that this was the end. We held her close and watched the light die out of her eyes, those fathomless depths of cat-world mysteries ( Lesley Anne Ivory).
Given how small she was, how tiny, there is an enormous loss of energy in the house. The dogs feel it, as do we, and the mood is sombre, the emptiness heightened by the absence of the jingling of her little bell. But her presence is everywhere still, her bright pink collar on a stand, the echo of a mew, grey hair on cushions; the spaces she occupied still infused with her spirit.
We were lucky to have her in our lives.
RIP, Fluff. We miss you so much.
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