Monday, December 13, 2010
Fourteen years with a rescued feline.
When my boys were 1 and 2, we lived in town - and there was an orange cat that the neighbors owned, which came into our yard and played with the boys by chasing their toy train around the track on our deck. Austin loved that old unicycling bear cartoon, and named the cat, choosing the bear's name, Bongo. They would spend hours watching that cat try to bat the musical train each time it circled on the red plastic track.
When moving to the country came up the only thing about the town house that they didn't want to leave was the cat. But since it wasn't ours, I went to the feline rescue and found a young cat,
that acted friendly and was the same color. I told the boys it was a different cat, and she was obviously longer haired, but still a playful, energetic, friendly animal. They still wanted to call her Bongo. When she was at the vet to be spayed, he guessed her age between one and two years, that April of 1996.
That August my Dad came from Wyoming to visit, already weak from the esophageal cancer that would kill him in Feb. 1997. While he was here, Bongo was kicked by a horse and broke her femur and I paid $327 to have a screw put in her leg. Dad was outraged that I'd spend so much on a stray cat but I remember thinking that at least her, I could save, since even his million dollar insurance policy wouldn't help him. Many times in the years since, I have watched her come running, every time I came home, and been glad that I spent that money.
My husband hated cats but Bongo won him over and he swore she thought she was a dog because she was so friendly. She followed at his feet and begged for attention, allowing her ears to be scratched for hours if her humans were deserving enough. We added a black cat to the family a few years later. Rocky and Bongo were excellent at keeping down the rat and gopher population and were excellent predators with a very affectionate side.
Time passed, the boys are almost grown. The oldest is a High School Senior and the country house will soon feel too big and we will rattle around in here wondering where the kids and pets and noise has gone.
And Bongo died of kidney failure in Austin's arms yesterday morning after a week of getting weaker and curling up, purring, in her cat carrier. She stopped coming out, even for spaghetti sauce and like that other orange cat, she loved Italian food. Then she stopped drinking, and we knew the end was near, but she never stopped looking up and purring as long as there was breath in her.
So I buried her last night, under the maple tree in the yard, with daffodil bulbs that will come in the spring - as the rain poured down. Here, mid-December is when the Maple begins to turn, so her grave is already being covered with scarlet and gold leaves.
So thanks for teaching us that cats can be loving and loyal and fun to interact with. You are so missed purrincess.