Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tagged and Bagged by Susan

Susan of Phantsythat has tagged me for a simple meme. Good thing this is a simple one, as I'm up to my eyeballs in contest falderal. For a woman who writes many hundreds of words a day with no thought at all about the need to put my best foot forward, I'm now paralyzed with insecurity.

But this just might be the palatte cleanser I need to clear my head. So, thanks Susan. I probably really needed this.

The Rules:

1. Go to the 4th folder in your computer where you store your pictures.
2. Pick the 4th picture in that folder.
3. Explain the picture.
4. Tag 4 people to do the same.

This is a photo of my cat Rianna. I know, it's a horrible name for an animal, but she was given to me by a little girl named Rianna, and Rianna named the kitten before she gave her to me. So, Rianna it was. She was barely weened when I got her. A tiny red puffball. She followed me everywhere, like a very tiny dog that looked like a very tiny fox. Rianna was the daughter of a Santa Barbara feral mountain cat--these are the descendants of cats that have been abandoned in the mountains above Santa Barbara where I lived for a blissful while. I used to get phone calls from neighbors that a fox was following me.

Rianna was always a loyal and bonded cat, but she never lost her fiercely independent streak which expressed itself in an aversion to being held in certain ways. She was not a particularly affectionate cat, but when she wanted to be petted she sat on my lap and let me pet her. I say she let me, because petting when not sitting on my lap might elicit a warning claw-retracted slap, and if that warning slap was not enough to discourage the unwanted petting the next slap came with one extended claw and always drew blood. My friends who tried to pet her didn't get the kind warning--they got the one claw treatment. This was how she came to be known as Mean Kitty.

Mean Kitty bossed all the dogs. She was never afraid of a dog, no matter the size of the dog. Where did she get that confidence? My big dog Lucy was so cowed by Rianna that if Rianna was sprawled at the top of the stairs, Lucy could not go either up or down the stairs, and would either whine loudly for my help, or would find me to move Rianna. Rianna was a tyrant. Who could imagine such ferocity in a lovely little red cat? I once saw her chase a large yellow Labrador, that she must had taken a dislike to, out of our front yard. Where did she get that self-confidence?

She lived over twenty years--past twenty I lost count. She moved four times with me in that twenty some years. When we moved from Santa Barbara to Salt Lake she followed close on my heels as I unloaded the car and moved into the little house, trip after trip. She did not settle until I did. What a loyal companion she was. Rianna outlived three of my dogs. She didn't seem to ever like anyone but me.

She was never ill, never injured, always had a hearty appetite and never grew fat. The only reason I knew it was close to the end for her was a dramatic change in morning behavior. The last three or four mornings of her life she waited for me to awake, get my coffee and smoke, crawl back into bed to watch morning news, and then Rianna would crawl into my lap, settle deeply, and then pee on me. This change in behavior was so dramatic I called our House-Call Vet and asked him what he thought it meant. He told me it was a symptom of dementia in a cat. So after days of having to strip my bed every morning and wash all my bedding, I decided to let her go. The Vet came and we put her to sleep, and then into a very peaceful death. She seemed ready to go. But I have missed her terribly. Just looking at the picture of her makes me cry.

Okay taggees get ready:
La Bellete Rouge


Linda-Sama said...

I know how you feel, sis. I have 3 cats, and one is 17 and has been diabetic for 10 years. I give him 2 insulin shots daily. He has used at least 4 of his 9 lives. He's on his last legs and one day soon I must put him down. It won't be easy.

Utah Savage said...

It was the hardest thing. I have always know when it was time to let a pet off the easy way. But Rianna seemed perfectly fine except for that one strange change in routine.

Steve said...

what a great story about a great companion

Life As I Know It Now said...

The way you describe her she must have been an awesome kitty. If you read cat behavior at all one would know that first tap was a warning that should not be ignored.

Utah Savage said...

She was a holy terror. She would seem to be napping on the arm of an easy chair, seemingly asleep, but if my dog Lucy walked past her she would reach out and slap Lucy. Yet they both slept with me peacefully.

Tengrain said...

She sounds like the perfect Devil. I like her already.

I am coming up on the year anniversary of putting down my best friend ever, Thurber, and I am a wreck.



susan said...

Okay, just put the water on the boil for spaghetti so while the sauce simmers, I've come by to see your take on the challenge. She's a beautiful cat with magnificent eyes. She rather reminds me of one of those I like to paint - except they're bigger still. I always liked the idea of having relationship with a creature so powerful and potentially savage. Ha, not unlike you, eh?

I hope the work on the book presentation is progressing to your satisfaction. Now take a deep breath :-)

La Belette Rouge said...

I had a cat that just a thought or a picture or a reminder can send me into tears. I love the complexity and independence of cat.

I am so sorry you lost your dear friend. Hugs to you.

Hey, I just did this one on Monday and I tagged Susan!! :-)

Utah Savage said...

La Belette Rouge, my apologies for tagging you. If I'd been attentive I have noticed. I'm a bit off my rocker at the moment. Getting very neurotic. Not unlike my old cat. I'm thinking I'm the reason all my animals have had such strange personalities. Wonderful, but strange.

lisahgolden said...

She was absolutely gorgeous. We have always had cats and each has its own personality, much like people. I was interested to read about Rianna. How nice to have gotten to spend so many years in her company.

Utah Savage said...

Lisa, what do you think. Do I drive all my animals crazy? Or am I just a strange animal magnet?

Kulkuri said...

We have a feral cat that is going on 15 and is bulimic. She doesn't like to cross open areas. Sometimes she will allow herself to be petted, but she'll complain all the while.

Randal Graves said...

I don't even want to think about when the end comes for our cats. I'll be a basketcase.

Amos said...

Dog's have masters, cat's have staff.

giggles said...

Beautiful kitty....

Cats get such a bad rap from folks.... They have such personality!

Seraphine said...

dementia is terrible. it must have broken your heart. she was a beautiful cat.

Utah Savage said...

Amos, this is true.

Randal, start the grieving now. Maybe when the time comes you'll be okay.

Giggles, She was quite a cat.

Seraphine, The really horrible thing about the dementia, was that my cat's dementia followed my mother's death from dementia. This really broke me up.

Mauigirl said...

She sounds like a wonderful cat. Her personality sounds like our old cat Mathilda. She too lived to be quite old - almost 20 in her case.

The peeing thing may have been due to kidney failure. They start to pee in odd places when they reach the end stage of it. You did the right thing to let her go when she had such a wonderful healthy life up until the very end.

Utah Savage said...

Mauigirl, I'll say "odd places." It felt so very personal. She sweetness of crawling into my lap, settling like a little red hen, and them peeing. She seemed so happy about the whole thing.

Unknown said...

Peg O My Heart..I just got back from 5 fun-filled (cough,sarcasm) days with my mother.

I will get to your meme today sweetie..I yours! ;)