Leia is one of the three cats that lived with Wes when he and I got married. She, Luke & UB were litter-mates. She was a bit neurotic and wary of strangers, which was anyone she decided was “strange” at the moment. I knew I had “made it” into the family the first time I came to visit and she sought me out.
She is the most recent of our pets to leave us. Making the decision to put her to sleep was agonizing. She was very old, very sick and it was the right decision. None of that made it any easier, as anyone who has been in that position will attest.
Losing Leia made me realize that I remembered more about the passing of my pets than about the lives they spent with me, probably because that moment is so heart-wrenching that it has burned itself into my memory. I decided that, before any more time has a chance to make my memories fade, I would jot down the wonderful things I remember about the wonderful animals who’ve shared their lives with me.
As for my Leia-lou, as we called her, she was a bit loony. Wes called her “Loopy-Lou.” He remembers that, as a kitten, she used to fetch bottle caps. She and her brother and sister would sleep together in a small basket.
A few years ago Leia suffered from a condition called Mega-colon. We tried medication to see if we could alleviate the problem (it didn’t work). While she was on the medication we went to Cape Cod for the weekend and decided to bring her with us, since we didn’t want to make anyone else responsible for pilling her twice a day (not easy!). She cried the entire way to the Cape and then, once she realized she had us all to herself, she was in Heaven! After 3 days, we loaded her back into the car and she cried all the way home. When we got back to our house, she looked at the other cats and was outraged! Apparently, we’d betrayed her. She thought we’d finally made her the sole heir to the feline throne. Poor Leia! She ended up needing surgery to correct the condition and, luckily, at the time,we were able to afford it. She came through surgery with flying colors.
Morgan, her step-brother, loved to torment her. She would hide in her kitty condo and he would lie down in front of the exit. She would hiss and spit and make tons of noise – making it sound like there was a huge cat fight going on! He would look up, with feigned innocence: “Oh, am *I* troubling you?”
Leia was afraid of feet. Her eyes would dart around the room, watching the feet of the people approaching her. If you said her name as you got close, she would realize you knew she was there and wouldn’t step on her, and she’d relax a bit. When she was content, especially while being petted, she’d purr until she drooled. (This is a lot more endearing than it may sound.) And, although she was still wary, I got her to let me carry her around like a baby, upside down in my arms. I will miss her terribly.
I expected to write one post and include all my pets in it. What was I thinking? Obviously, one post is not enough space to fit them all. More memories to come.