It was a tough day on Thursday, when Lyla the Nice White Cat (who was actually a Balinese-Siamese mix with lilac points) lost a long, slow, gradual battle with chronic renal failure. She had been a much-loved member of the family for 10 years, so it was very sad for all of us to lose her. She was a very petite, refined cat. The photo at right shows her in her favorite spot: sitting on top of the computer modem in my office, warming her butt, and keeping an eye on me through nearly-closed lids. She was also the only cat I’ve ever known (and I’ve known a lot of cats) with a life-long, pronounced cowlick on the back of her head, very visible in the picture below, which was the last photo I ever took of her, at the point where all she wanted to do was sit in my lap and sleep. Her health crashed rapidly in the last week, and as painful as it is to have to make end-of-life decisions with pets (much less humans), it was clear that her condition had reached a point of no return, and equally clear that there was nothing to be gained by putting her through invasive medical interventions that would have, maybe, extended the inevitable for a few days or weeks, but certainly would have led those days to be severely uncomfortable, frightening ones. And I couldn’t do that to her. She deserved to leave us as gently as possible, under the circumstances, and she did.
With Lyla gone, Rosie the Busiest Orange Cat in the World became the sole kitty in the house. And I don’t like or approve of that being the case, because I believe that no intelligent, interactive being in our home deserves to spend eight hours a day by his or her self without someone to interact with. We actually got Rosie when Amy the Slow Brown Cat fell ill, so that when Amy’s inevitable time came, Lyla would have a friend. It worked out swimmingly, though Lyla’s final days came so quickly that we weren’t able to make the same arrangements for Rosie.
So today, Marcia and I went to the Mohawk and Hudson River Humane Society and adopted a beautiful 18-month old grey tabby with extra, different-colored toes on her front feet. That’s her in the picture at right. The deciding factor for us picking her was when we were told that her tail puffed up big when she was happy, not scared. Lyla’s did the same thing, so that seemed like a nice trait to preserve. She had a name assigned to her by the good folks at the Humane Society, though we don’t really think it fit her, so we’re working to get her to tell us what she should be called, though we’re open to suggestion, as well. Katelin has proposed Lorelei (after the list-topping Pogues song) and Wednesday (after the Addams Family). My sister has a cat named Earl Grey, so I suggested Lady Jane Grey, until I remembered that she was executed nine days after being named Queen of England. We’ve also got a running inside joke between my mother, sister and I about naming new pets Glicky, and if this cat was male, I would probably do that. But Glicky doesn’t seem to fit a girl kitty. So the New Grey Cat is, as yet, without moniker. Who does she look like to you?
Rosie is eager to make friends with the New Grey Cat, but she’s still getting her sea legs in her new settings, so I think we’re still a few days away from the hissing and growling giving way to the usual sight around here of cats piled up in the communal kitty bed. I’m looking forward to a new equilibrium, even as I miss the old one.