Wednesday, May 21, 2008

In memorium of the oldest cat I have ever known

So my mom finally broke down and took the family cat, Crystal, to the vet to be put to sleep last Thursday. Crystal was 21 years old, suffering from severe arthritis and assuredly many other undiagnosed underlying conditions.
Crystal came into our lives on Christmas 1986 when my mother finally gave into the frequent begging on the part of my sister Emilyand asked my Grandpa Jim to find us a kitten. (Grandpa Jim was a vet and had the connections to know of litters with extra kittens) Since Emily was the one who wanted the cat she got to be the one to name her. Emily was all of 4 years old at the time and I have the suspicion that it had to do with my mom owning several Krystal Gail records at the time. I know that looking at record covers with a woman who had hair down to her feet deeply impressed me.
So that is generally how the little bundle of fur came into our lives. She was skittish, and liked to hide, and for years her collar had a bell on it so we could track her down. She was an attention hog and used to bite my hand when I was reading in order to get me to pet her. She ruled over our home, defending us frequently from invasion from other cats in the neighborhood. As she got older and more rickety she would spend most of her time between the warm sunny spots of the living room and the warm spots in my mom's bed. Not content to peacefully share the bed, she would plop herself down and stake out the exact middle forcing you to scrunch to one side or physically move her over. Considering her infirm state she put up fairly well with Bella's overeager toddler affections, only occasionally crying and nipping at her when Bella's fur petting became fur pulling. Her presence has become so much a part of my mother's home that last weekend I kept being startled by movements out of the corner of my eye. I kept having to reexplain to my brain that the shifts and rustling from the houseplants was due to the air conditioner and not a cat winding herself through the leaves. It's a part of our family history gone and she will be missed, but I have to admit that the practical side of me is giving a little cheer that maybe now we will be able to get some of the cat hair out of my mom's sofa.

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