Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Luckiest Cat in the World

Answer: A Kitty
Question: What did Alison wish for on every birthday cake, on every star, and ask Santa for each and every Christmas?

Mostly because Dad was anti-pet, Al's wish was never granted.  However, in June 1994 we heard a kitten meowing in the garage and our lives were never the same.  Coincidentally, it was the night before Dad was set to leave on a week-long business trip.  The girls were excited to have a kitty in the garage, but Dad made sure it exited the garage before bedtime.  We woke up the next morning and the baby cat was on the front porch... she had not left!  Dad insisted, upon leaving for his trip that morning, "Don't feed that cat."  Mom waited for him to turn out of the driveway and opened up a can of tuna, which she then put into an old plastic Teddy Ruxpin bowl.  Needless to say, the kitty was a happy girl.

Fast forward one week.  Girls have purchased kitten chow and set up a regular feeding schedule for the kitty.  Dad has gotten back from the business trip and asked "Did you feed the cat?"  We beamed angelic smiles and admitted that we had.  In fact, Mom had named her:  Meench.  Dad reluctantly admitted that if we were going to care for this animal, it should be healthy, and told us to take her to the vet.  We had a fantastic summer playing with Meench but the weather grew cold in the fall so Dad suggested perhaps the cat live in the garage so it would stay warm.  Cue trip to Petsmart to buy a litterbox, new water bowls, and a cat bed.  The week of Christmas, Ohio experienced a colder than normal spell and it was freezing, even in the garage.  On Christmas Eve Dad gave us perhaps the best gift of all: He said "The cat should probably live in the basement so it's not too cold"  And so December 24, 1994 Meench became a housecat.  In early 1995 she migrated upstairs and has ruled the roost.  She also, in her first few months with us, gained a nickname: Wooie.  I do not know where it came from, or if it was me or Al who made it up, but I don't think I called her Meench one time after I turned 12.

Over the years, Wooie developed an affinity for many food items, both typical and bizarre.  She was a piggy for all human food and inhaled her cat food almost instantly.  She never truly developed cat-like behaviors indoors.  Despite not being declawed, she never scratched a piece of furniture, or destroyed a drape.  She never once jumped on the kitchen counter, but did enjoy watching an occasional film.... seriously.  W watched baby otters on PBS and here she's watching the Weezer Muppet video.  Outside, the little lady was the best hunter around.  Mice, moles, rabbits, even snakes.  I secretly think the reason Dad decided she was a keeper back in 1994 was because she brought us a dead snake.  According to Dad, she had a busy schedule: eat, sleep, and find sun.

Woo had several brushes with death when we were younger.... notably, when I was at field hockey camp at Ohio State as a high school freshman, she was bitten by a rodent she was hunting, her throat swelled up, and she could hardly eat.  She definitely used up her nine lives and was onto her second set while still a young cat.

Wooie had a fantastic sixteen years with us... she certainly picked the right garage all those years ago.  In May 2010 she was diagnosed with brain swelling and a suspected tumor.  She was treated with prednisone but it was not a cure; it simply relieved her symptoms.  It kept her surprisingly spry and relatively normal for awhile.  She had a nice Christmas, or rather, we had a nice Christmas with her around, and like clockwork two days later, she was not well.   I held her and said goodbye before we left Ohio last week, and this afternoon Mom and Dad had her put to sleep.  For her sake, I hope the road to kitty heaven is covered in milk, tuna, and IGA frosting, the pearly gates suitable for face-rubbing, and the couches sprinkled with both newspapers and plastic bags.

We love you and will miss you.  Rest in peace, sweet kitty.


Jill said...

Oh, so sorry to hear about Meench! You have certainly written a wonderful tribute to her - she was quite the kitty!

Kim said...

Julia, your are the most beautiful, clever writer. What a wonderful dedication to Meench. As I sit here with tears streaming, I know that he truly was the luckiest cat in the world.

Love to you all,
Cousin Kim

Anna said...

Just read your post and I am sorry to hear the news :(
This is the loveliest story - Meench's life was legendary, indeed!