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Amy

Amy 1991 - 2008

Amy 1991 - 2008

I know a lot of animal lovers read my blog. Among other things, I put up a lot of cute animal pictures and funny animal stories. I generally choose to try to write about positive things. However, the following story is a sad, sometimes graphic description of our recent loss of one of our cats. At the same time, it is a celebration of the joy and companionship living with an animal can bring to your life including the challenges. I just felt I should warn you.

I’ve lived with a number of cats in my life. I’ve loved them all, but none demanded the level of emotional engagement Amy did. From the moment she came to live with us, it was obvious she was different. She was born on my sister’s farm at the same time as another litter of kittens on the same farm. The two mothers shared the responsibility of rearing the litters. She was cute, very cute. Consequently, she may have been handled more than the others, but her affection for humans ran so deeply it was really an innate part of her personality.

Amys eyes glow - taken last Halloween

Amy's eyes glow - taken last Halloween

She became the child we never had. We also took in two other kittens from that farm. Maggie, the hunter, passed away last year in the spring. Kelly is still with us. We love them all, but Amy was our constant companion. If she was awake, she sought us out. She was either in our laps or in our faces. Before Amy, I never realized a cat could be so affectionate. Recently, when we were trying to paint the house, we would both paint while she napped, but when she was awake, she tried so desperately to get into the room we were painting, one of us would have to stop and sit with her.

My three new kittens

My three cats when they were kittens

She was always there. When we tried to write something, she was rubbing against our pen. When we used the computer, her head was on our hand on the mouse, or she was walking on our keyboard. When one of us was in the shower, she waited outside the bathroom door. Late in life she developed the bad habit of waking us up because she so enjoyed our company, she simply needed us to be with her if she was awake.

Two sisters having a little playful boxing

Two sisters having a little playful boxing

She was no angel. She was a drama queen and ruled the household. When they were young, the cats got along but she eventually developed a rivalry with our Maggie. When Maggie was sleeping, she would sneak up and smack her in the face and run away. Even though she was lactose intolerant, she was always trying to get to our milk. One lick and she would puke her guts out. She never learned.

That rabbit has nothing to worry about

That rabbit has nothing to worry about

She wasn’t much of a hunter. She did catch a really large mourning dove once but she didn’t kill what she caught. She would catch cicadas and bring them through the cat door in her mouth letting them buzz with ear-spitting volume. One night, she caught a mouse, brought it to bed while we were sleeping and dropped it unharmed, on my wife’s head. Needless to say, it took us a while to get back to sleep.

Sleepy time in a basket

Sleepy time in a basket

Even worse, we used to store an unused mattress at the head of our bed as a headboard. She had the habit of sleeping on it. One night she jumped off and landed on my face. I woke up to my face covered in blood. I have a small scar across my nose I will carry the rest of my life.

Heres looking at you kid

Here's looking at you kid

People’s relationship with their animals is largely a private matter. In our case, we spent the lifetime of our cats working out of our house so we got to spend more time with them than most people do. Some years back, I discovered three kittens living in our bushes out front. We managed to catch two with the help of our neighbor. I took them down to the humane society. In the line in front of me was a couple giving up a beautiful grown cat. The woman was in tears. After they left, I asked the person working there what it was about. Apparently the cat had been urinating where it shouldn’t and the couple was abandoning it. Around that time Maggie, who had experienced a number of urinary tract infections, had become slightly incontinent.  She would no longer sit in our laps. I believe it was a sign of respect but I missed her being a lap cat. Amy responded in turn by ‘marking’ the house as well. As difficult as this was, our love for them was such that we just tried to deal with it as best we could. We could have never parted with them. I realize people with children have different priorities. Childless couples such as us often treat their pets as the children they never had. And we did. We spoiled them rotten.

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