Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sleep Well My Tootsie

My Tootsie Cat is gone. It wasn't a tragedy. She was 18 years old. She was a blessing to me. She lived her life the way every cat dreams of. She never knew human cruelty, she never knew hunger, she never knew what it was like to sleep outside -- afraid, cold and alone. She was born in my parents garage while I was in college. I brought her to live with me in my first apartment. She was the first animal that I was totally responsible for all by myself. I spoiled her rotten.

She was with me when I graduated from college, got my first real job, moved away to a new city all alone. Then she was with me when I met my husband, got married, and brought home 3 different newborn babies over a span of 7 years. She's seen the worst in me and the best in me.

I video taped her as a kitten standing up on her hind legs and barking like a dog. She was great entertainment for my college friends who had planned on me striking it rich by sending those videos to America's Funniest Home Videos and, of course, sharing my wealth with them for their outstanding moral support. I never sent the video.

She was also my first model when I was a photography student back in the old film days. I would pose her, she would of course not stay that way. Looking through my old photo album last night I saw shot after shot of her tail end running away from my elaborately staged photo sets. Because it was the days of film, I couldn't check my exposure on the spot. So there are dozens upon dozens of badly exposed shots of her as I experimented and failed time and time again.

I had this kitty baby for almost half of my life. She was the pet of a lifetime. The one who will always stand out as I get older as the one who was a part of me.

She doesn't leave me catless of course. I still have Stinky -- the Siamese who refuses to use the litter box. She is almost as old as Tootise was. She just turned 15. And then there's Duchess. The pure white gorgeous kitty who does know human cruelty and hunger -- I rescued her from the shelter in 1996 and she's still skittish and fearful of strangers. She's about 14. Then of course there's the baby -- Kody -- a mere 7 months old. She belongs to my girls and she enjoys destroying things and causing problems.

There's a peace over the house today along with the sadness. Because I know that I gave Tootsie a good life. I know that she was happy. And the happiness that she brought me will live forever.

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