Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Cat

My cat passed away this weekend.

The first thing I always tell people about my cat is "I didn't name her". She belonged to my cousin's wife, and when my cousin passed away she had to move and couldn't take the cat with her, so I told her I would care of her cat. I don't believe in changing names of pets, so I was a 38-year-old man living alone with a cat named... Tiffany.

I tend to be known as a "fussy" eater. And since the universe loves playing cruel karma tricks on people, it gave me the world's most finicky cat. I would literally throw out 2-3 cans of food every day (beyond what she actually would eat) in an attempt to find out which brand and flavor she'd choose to dine upon that day. She would also often snub her nose at chicken, turkey, steak, tunafish, kitty treats... This is what her meal area would typically look like: I would have to put down food one flavor at a time until she found something she wanted.

The second way Tiffany and I were alike is that she loved watching television. Yes, it's true. Whenever Discovery Channel or Animal Planet had a show about the big cats, Tiffany would stare at the screen. I bought her a "Video Catnip" DVD designed specifically for cats which featured birds and squirrels running across the screen. She loved it. To top it all off, there is an old episode of the original Star Trek that had a woman who turned into a cat. When I was watching it, everytime the cat meowed on screen Tiffany would perk up and watch, then turn away when they cut back to the humans. A cat that watches Star Trek? How cool is THAT!

Tiffany was old when she adopted me: probably around age 13. When I first took her to the vet, he told me she had hypothyroidism and kidney failure, and put her on some medications to slow down the inevitable. I was told that cats typically take these meds for one-to-two years, and then it's over. I was more than willing to spoil her for that year or two, which is one of the reasons why I didn't force her to eat whatever I threw down on the floor.

Well that was over 6 years ago. Even the vet was amazed. At her last visit, the vet told me "I can't believe your cat is still walking." But don't think she was this elderly thing sleeping all day. Up until the very end, she was a very affectionate (i.e. pain in the ass) cat. When I was watching TV, she'd jump on the couch with me. If I was on the computer, she'd jump on the keyboard. When I went to bed, she'd jump on my chest and if I was lucky, actually face me.

My home is a little more empty this week, but I know I'll be cleaning cat hair out of the carpet, couches and my clothes for years to come so I will remember her often. I'll miss you Tiffany.

Here's a moment of silent for Tiffany - long live the kitty litter fire.
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