Saturday, June 27, 2015

Farewell, Katherine!

We moved in here in March of 2004 and in April, and Lady Katherine Tallahassee Berryhill, Kat. came to join us.  She was a couple years old at that point and she spent her days mousing and complaining about my horrid parenting skills.  Until the kids stopped playing outside, she was never more than a few feet from them-even if they went all the way to the creek.  She slept with Ben more nights than not and until a few years ago when he got too heavy, she'd push against the high sides of his bunk bed with her back pressed into his side and shove him to the side so she'd have more room.

I needed the leg room

She used to line up mice heads and bodies like a serial killer in training.  If we'd had nosier neighbors, I am sure one or both of the boys would be on some kind of watch list.

I like things neat

By the time she was 12, she started losing weight.  I took her to the vet and she was checked as healthy, but aging.  She once topped the scales at 13 pounds and was a mere 5.  Her fur lost some of its softness.  She started hacking up food.  Back to the vet, who said she was old.  An old cat.  She'd go when she was ready.  As long as she was active, no need to interfere.  I'd know if she needed help.

baby bunnies make my fur soft

I saw her when I came in last Thursday to feed and water everyone.  She was on the porch and when we walked up, she started purring so hard it sounded like a mower.  She'd started drooling when she purred, I moved the water bowl closer to her cat box throne in case she dehydrated and added some ice cubes.  I didn't pick her up for a cuddle, she'd gotten bony and seemed to not enjoy any more contact than just being stroked on the head.  I topped off her food as we were leaving, in a hurry as usual, and yelled, "Bye Katykins!" over my shoulder and scooping up her latest dead mouse to fling into the woods.  There's a shovel by the front steps just for this.

I have thought she was gone for good at least a dozen times over her life.  She'd just leave and be gone for days, she once went out to the barn and it was at least a week before she came back again,  She's left when we fostered dogs, when we moved furniture around, when it warmed up and she was able to get outdoors after being mostly cooped up.  Ever since there was a spider in her litter box YEARS ago, she's gone outside to use the bathroom, even in the rain,  She's never come when called.

Pet me,  Not the button board.  That is for sleeping.

Until she abused the privilege by dropping live mice inside, she did have a ladder going to the bedroom window that she would climb in and out of.  The dresser has perma scars from her scrambles to land on it.  She used to get in bed with us at night just to lay across my face, she loved to lay in the kitchen chair and poke the dogs in the butt with her paw, stretching it out between the slats until it just brushed them.  We called it 'counting coup'.

Faces are for sleeping.

She often switched chairs and would complain loudly if you were in the chair she wanted next.  For a few years, she occupied the 6th dining table chair and would sometimes peek over the edge of the table while we ate, flicking her tail and purring.  Happy her 'kittens' were eating, but pissed it wasn't the mouse she'd maimed and brought inside for them to finish off.  She used to get on the bookshelf and knock everything off the top so she could walk back and forth more comfortably.

I found her body in the side yard earlier this week, just a few feet from where we buried Kaiju and our other pets.  She'd been dead a while, a couple of days.  I felt horrible for not finding her right away, for not even knowing she was gone.  She's been here as long as we have, she and Ben are nearly the same age. How did I not miss that presence?  I don't even know what happened to her,  Did she go to the pet cemetery and lie down and die?  Did she get dragged there by one of the dogs?  Did someone drop her roadkilled carcass over the fence?  I hope it wasn't prolonged, that she made her own choice and was at peace.  She'd had a long life,

Goodbye, Katykins!  Thank you for helping me keep an eye on my babies, for keeping Benny warm, for keeping the mice population to a minimum, for almost always making it out before cacking.  Thank you for being our first family pet, for enduring a parade of other pets, including dogs that only wanted to eat you.  Thank you for not clawing out any of their eyes.
Thank you for all the nights you made sure I was still breathing, even if your checklist mostly involved suffocating me first.  Thank you for all the times you tried to save me from bed mice, even if EVERY time, it was my feet you were gnawing on through the sheets.  I still don't believe you never noticed me screaming.

I can't really say I loved you, you annoyed the crap out  of me most days and shed on my stuff any chance you got.  You had a contrasting color of hair for every fabric.  I found you burrowed in the clean laundry more than once and that set me on the straight and narrow.  I have not left a load unfolded long enough to cool off in years.

But you were a good cat and I enjoyed our lives together, you saw me through every day of my 30's and were there through the very heart of the kids' childhood.   You were a yowling fixture in our lives, forever parading dead things along the walkway, staring holes in my head from across the yard, crushing my seedlings every spring and digging up perfectly good veggies to poop.  And then missing the hole you made. Your rusty purr would be set off by the slightest movement and last for hours, often terrifying me out of a deep sleep when you'd come stalk me in my bed and get worked up about the thrill of biting my feet.

No, I can't really say I will miss you either, but still, I am not glad you are gone. It's the end of an era, Katy Kat, I will feel your loss for years to come.

About Me

Unschooling mama from the start with 2014, 2016 and 2018 graduation dates. I enjoy camping, reading, swimming, hiking and photography.