Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Speaking of Cats

Cal, the boy I seduced so long ago, has a cat who sent me an email. Cal's cat is very saucy and she actually talks. See Cal's cat talk to me.

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