Sunday, December 07, 2008

In Memorium

In July 1998, T and I moved into a new apartment, one that allowed pets. I had grown up with cats and had been looking forward to getting a kitten to add to my and T's new family.

Being conscious of pet issues and such, T and I knew we were going to get our new pet from a shelter. Gainesville Pet Rescue had a great reputation, and we decided to make their organization our first stop. Like any good rescue organization, they had several kittens to choose from. We looked at them, and they were all very cute. But seeing how tiny they were and how much work raising a kitten would require, we realized weren't quite sure we would be good parents to a kitten.

The rescue worker understood out concerns and asked how we would feel about an adult cat. Then she showed us Pistachio. Pistachio was a full-grown female, about two years old. She had a beautiful calico/tortoise coat and the greenest eyes I had ever seen. The rescue worker told us she had been with them for about two months. They were have problems adopting her out because she was an adult and most people wanted kittens. They opened her cage to let me pet her. I scratched her under her chin, and she curled her head into my hand. I was in love instantly.

Pistachio was all cat. She was never much of a lap cat, unless your lap happened to be holding something that was taking your attention. She loved to help me read the newspaper or read my books. Even recently, when I was preparing for the CPS exam, she insisted on helping me study by laying right on top of my books.

She had the best, loudest purr I have ever heard. Really, you could often hear her purring from across the room; I called her my little baby motor boat.

We had established a nightly ritual, quiet time. I would feed the girls, then get ready for bed. Pistachio would follow me to the bedroom and curl up next to me while I read. My hand would reach down to stroke her, often pausing on her sides just to feel the vibration of her purrs. It wasn't at all uncommon for me to wake up with her little face right next to mine, waiting for me to assume the appropriate position so she could curl up with me.

Gods, there are so many things I loved about her.

A few hours ago, I went to the bedroom to change my clothes so I could go to the store. There she was, curled up on the bed on top of T's jeans. She looked up at me and meowed. I reached down to scratch her. I bent down to gently lay my head on her side. She was purring so loudly, so content with her life. I walked out of the room, and T and I continued a conversation about the state of the world and our place in it. During the conversation Pistachio and our other cat, Spats, moved onto the screen patio for some air.

In the space of seconds, I heard one of the cats, it sounded like Pistachio, making strange noises outside. I thought perhaps she had caught a lizard. When I looked outside, I saw Pistachio on her side, moving back and forth as though she was rubbing herself on the concrete, but the sounds coming from her were just ... wrong. I rushed outside and saw that she was convulsing. I didn't know what to do, so I picked her up, and she was dead weight in my arms. She groaned once as I held her to me and called for T. T brought a box lined with a towel, and I gently put her inside. I could see then that she was gone. Her beautiful jewel green eyes were open and unseeing. She wasn't breathing; her motor boat had stopped.

I don't know what happened. I don't know if I want to know. She only only 12. She was a little heavy (11 lbs), but she didn't seem to have any health problems. We were a little late with her annual exam, but she never seemed sick. All at once, so very suddenly, her little light went out.

Goodbye my beautiful, beautiful girl. You were our sweet kitten-face, and we loved you.

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