I’ve struggled with how to start this post. I’ve tried out at least eight or ten different openings, but nothing’s working, and I keep bursting into tears.
So. I’ll just come right out and say it. Yesterday morning, my three-year old beloved monkey of a cat, Louis, suddenly died.
[Time out to cry a bit.]
The night before, my friend Michele had brought over dinner from Whole Foods. There was girl talk. There was laughter. There was flirting with Nika, the fluffy girl kitty (aka the Evil Queen, because she’s such a %$@&ing bully to Louis. Plus the fact that she pees on the bed).
Michele asked where Louis, my other kitty was. Most certainly upstairs, I said. Shy, that one.
But when Michele went to leave, there he was, half-way down the stairs, looking out between the bars. Charmed by his handsome face, Michele stepped over to introduce herself. And much to my delight, instead of escaping to a safe distance at the top of the stairs, Louis investigated her finger, and proceeded to spend the next ten minutes flirting outrageously.
He rubbed his cheek against her finger. He plopped over on the step. He rolled onto his back and looked at her upside down while batting with soft paws at her finger. In short, he pulled out all the stops on his “Louis the monkey-cat” routine.
He had us all in the palm of his little paw.
A few minutes later Michele said goodbye, I went to bed, and although my knee is still pretty messed up, all was well in the world.
The next morning everything changed.
I had just woken up, when I heard a loud THUMP, as if something heavy had fallen from a great height. When I left my bedroom, there was my beloved Louis, lying dead on the floor, apparently from a seizure or a hidden heart condition.
Louis, oh Louis. How could you go? I was expecting you to co-star in my videoblogs for at least another decade. I planned a series of “X minutes in the life of Louis the Cat” videos. (Plus, vengeful spirit that I am, I lived each day in anticipation of a time, years hence, when you might grow some balls and the Evil Queen, old and arthritic by then, might finally get her comeuppance.)
Why do the good ones always seem to get taken much too soon?
[Time out for another crying jag.]
Louis, I miss you.
Here, then, is my little memorial to you, dear Mr. Boo, my monkey-kitty. Even though you sometimes annoyed the hell out of me, I miss you and I want you back, goddamnit. I love you, sweet kitty, and I always will.
Louis the Cat
July 15, 2007 (approx.)-October 14, 2010
Three years ago today (exactly), my neighbor, Brendan, sent around an email with a photo of a kitten he was fostering:
If you know of anyone looking for a male orange tabby kitten, let me know, I’ve got one at my house, one picture is attached. 😉
This little guy was howling in the bushes at work last week, but a really nice guy named Ivor from a place called Fat Cat Rescue met me there on Saturday, and caught him in about 10 minutes.
He sat on my lap for two hours last night purring, he’s pretty tame, so I think he was dumped in our business park, seems too civilized to be feral. I haven’t heard him meow once since we caught him, which is kind of weird, and he uses the litter box too.
As it happens, I was actually considering getting a second cat, and if I were to get another kitty, I knew I wanted an orange male tabby (since they tend to be such awesome guys).
Now the Universe was handing me an orange male tabby for the taking, if I wanted him. How could I turn down such an offer from the Universe?
But I was conflicted. My other cat, Nika, was hypo-allergenic (a Siberian, the result of a relationship with an allergic boyfriend), and now I was single again. Adding a “regular” cat to the menagerie would effectively defeat the purpose of having a hypo-allergenic kitty – in one fell swoop effectively eliminating all cat-allergic men from my dating pool.
What’s a girl to do?
I replied to Brendan’s email:
I don’t know if I can adopt him, but I want to meet him!!!
Ha. Famous last words.
Love at first hiss
Louis, you hissed at me from your corner in the cat carrier in Brendan’s bathroom, but within a minute or two your hisses were accompanied by a background of loud purring. And a few minutes later you were rubbing against my hand. Then out of the carrier, and it wasn’t long before you were climbing up into my lap!
It was meant to be, Louis. You and me, redheaded soul spirits. Here are some of my memories of you:
Because Nika was such a %$*&ing bully, you spent most of your time in my studio with me, while the Evil Queen owned the downstairs. You were my studio friend, my familiar. The windowsill was your favorite perch, though you also wore me down in the battle over the drafting table, and co-starred in a number of my videoblogs either napping or bathing or roaming around on its surface.
I shrieked at you on a number of occasions when you ran across some artwork I was creating for a client, but somehow you thankfully managed never to damage anything.
I miss you coming to visit me at my computer, looking up at me with your big, loving eyes. Words cannot express how much I loved feeling your little body leaning against my calf, your tail twining up my knee.
On the other hand, you also took small chunks of flesh out of my thighs when you leaped into my lap and didn’t quite make it all the way… And you drove me crazy walking to and fro in front of my monitor when you wanted to be fed. Nutty kitty.
No longer will you climb onto the back of my computer chair and lick my hair.
No more will I worry about tripping over you on the stairs. (You never moved, you crazy beast! You’d just lie there, tail directly in the path of my foot, looking up at me. Not a day passed when I didn’t almost smoosh you on the way up or down the steps. You weren’t the sharpest tool in the shed sometimes.)
I miss you being in my way, Louis. What I would give to have you blocking my steps on the stairs again.
You made funny clicking sounds at birds in the tree outside. You had the funniest way of shaking your head that I’ve never seen in another cat. In the mornings, when I’d finally emerge to your piteous cries of “feed me,” you’d turn tail and run just like a character in a cartoon, leaving part of your body behind for a moment.
Of all the cats I’ve ever had, you also had the most expressive voice, and cracked me up on a daily basis.
I have way too few photos and videos of you, but I’m glad I’ve got this one, which captures your monkey spirit, and your one-of-a-kind voice:
In the past few weeks you were even getting some cojones, making inroads into Nika’s territory, even teasing her on occasion. Sometimes she even backed down! (I always cheered for your team.) I had hopes that maybe you’d tilt the hierarchy in your direction and give the Evil Queen a taste of her own medicine. But maybe you were too sweet for that.
I wonder if I could have saved you if I’d gotten outside my bedroom faster. I like to think you went too quickly for that, quickly and without pain. I like to think you didn’t suffer. I like to think you knew how much I loved you.
Louis, I miss you. I’ve been pretty nonfunctional for the past couple of days, and I feel like I can barely string a sentence together. Sorry if this memorial isn’t up to snuff. I know you’ll forgive me though; you never required anything of me but love, and two meals a day.
Rest in peace little buddy.