Tag Archive | pets

More Past Pets

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.  TaffyTaffy 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?”


On Past Pets Who’ve Passed

ImageThis is Leia. 

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.