I’ve written about Leia, the most recent pet we’ve lost. Working backward in time, the next two cats to pass weren’t really “ours” but we got to share a bit of them, and they are missed.
First is Rugen. He belonged to our daughter-in-law, Angie. I’m sure there are many things about Rugen that she will remember that we never even knew, but I do remember the first time we met him. We had a group of friends over to play a game and she came by with this little bundle of shiny black fur. He walked around the kitchen table while everyone took turns petting him. He had huge paws with an extra toe, hence his name – Count Rugen, after the “six fingered man” from The Princess Bride. If you haven’t seen The Princess Bride, he’s the…. no, wait. If you haven’t seen The Princess Bride, stop reading this blog, immediately, and go watch it. Seriously. Anyway, Rugen had huge feet and grew up to be an incredibly large cat. Unfortunately, his life was too short. Rugen joined the growing pet cemetery in our yard this past summer, just three years old.
My Mother–in-law, Joanne, had two cats when I met her: Ebony and Taffy. Ebony died just a year or two later. Taffy was still going strong when Joanne sold her home and moved into The Sarah Pierce (now called Brandywine), an assisted living center in Litchfield. In 2009, Joanne and Taffy moved in with us. Up until that time, Taffy had no use for Wes or me. She would hide the moment we entered the room. For some reason, we terrified her. After moving in with us, Joanne had multiple hospital stays due to her failing health, followed by long recovery periods in nursing homes. We fed Taffy but pretty much left her alone. Taffy, however, changed drastically. She was used to round the clock company and got very lonely. All of a sudden, we were acceptable humans; she sought us out for love and attention.
The strangest thing about Taffy was her “meow.” She would be all alone in her room and start to cry and it sounded like “Hello?” Well, it sounded more like “hewwo.” Like Elmer Fudd had just come to call. But it was really strange. The first time we heard it, Wes & I looked at each other quizzically, then one of us answered, calling “Hello?” down the stairs. I don’t remember how long it took us to figure out it was Taffy. From then on, we took it in stride but other people would turn their heads when she cried with the same quizzical look we had that first day.
Taffy died July 2, 2012. She, too, is buried in our backyard. We didn’t know what to tell Joanne. In the end, we decided not to tell her. She was in a nursing home by then and we didn’t want to upset her. My Mother-in-law passed away on September 25th. After getting the news, we cried, and then I told Wes, “Y’know, mom’s mad at us right now. She died, saw her cat and said, “Taffy! What are YOU doing here?”