Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Dear Daisy

Dear Daisy,
You were the best cat I have ever known.  I have loved many cats before you, and I may love many more, for it is a sad fact of life that humans live longer than felines.  But you will always have a very special place in my heart.  I first heard about you over the phone, from a friend.  She found you sitting on her doorstep each day, looking for a home.  She tried to tell you that she already had a loving pet, and did not need another, but you were so persistent.  Eventually, she knew she would need to find someone who needed you as much as you needed them.

I was lonely in my new apartment, but I worried about getting a kitten.  Kittens are stinky and destructive, despite their sweet exteriors.  I did not want a house that smelled like pee with a clawed up couch.  But I wanted a friend to come home to every day, and so I decided to take you in.  I picked you up just after you had surgery, ensuring you would never be a mother.  You were so groggy that you slid around in the cat carrier as I careened down the highway, and I worried that you would not make it.  But you did.

You entered my life, and remained loyal and loving, even though I sometimes came home from work too exhausted to play with you.  You never scratched up the furniture and the only time you were stinky was when I forgot to clean your litter box.  I remember one such occasion, when you dragged an old rag on top of your litter and pooped on that, rather than find a clean floor or plant.  At night, you curled up on my pillow and kneaded my hair, which was cute at first, but quite annoying at 5am.  You brought toys into my bed, and I bought you your own area to sleep, hoping for some peace.  But you did not like that, and preferred to sleep with me.

I had to leave you once, when I went on vacation without you.  Your Aunt Tiff came to watch you and when the answering machine dutifully played my voice on a recorded message, you went happily in the room.  You meowed, something you did not do very often, when you did not find me.  I felt so bad for leaving you, my sweet Puss.

Eventually, you stopped waking me up at night, and you were delighted when your favorite toy, Adam, came to live with us for good.  Up to that time, he only visited on weekends, and he was never too sleepy to play with you.  We moved to a new apartment, and I thought you would be scared, but you settled in just fine and you seemed not to notice that the walls and floors supporting your things were different.  We had a balcony there, and you loved going in and out and back in again.  Once, when large cicadas hatched in the summer, you caught one, and you gobbled it up like candy.  I guess those big nasty bugs are yummy.

You got sick one time, and you could not pee.  You tried changing your location to my closet, and I knew that my sweet kitty must be in pain and a bit confused about how peeing works.  I took you to the vet, and they fixed you.  I think you knew that I had helped you, and you were glad to see me when I picked you up.  Unfortunately, they fixed you a little too well, and you could not hold it until you got home.  You peed in the cat carrier, and flicked the wetness off your paws and into my face as I raced to get you home.  That was when you got your first bath, and you did not like it.  I did not blame you for the pee in my face or in my hiking shoes, sweet Daisy.  I knew that you could not help it.  I hope that you did not blame me for that bath.

You had to take pills after this, and I had to leave you once again.  Your Aunt Tiff came because you needed the medicine, and I told her how you would eat it wrapped up in turkey.  Easy.  I guess you were no fool.  You ate the turkey she gave you, but not the yucky pill.  She tried to make you take it, and you spit it out, over and over.  You were very persistent, once again.  Finally, she got that slimy pink pill down your throat, and she petted you as you hocked it up and spit it out so hard that it stuck to the wall.  Luckily, you eventually got enough pills to make your infection go away.

When you were little, you used to crawl into the refrigerator whenever I opened the door.  Like the kneading, this was cute at first, but it got annoying.  One time, I closed the door in hopes that it would teach you a lesson.  I opened it quickly, thinking by the ruckus you made that I had accidentally killed you.  In a mere second, you managed a yowl that made my blood curl, and you never crawled in the fridge again.

Everyone loved you, little Daisy.  You were not like other cats, because you did not rub up against legs to trip humans, and you never whined or cried.  Nor did you hide away or shy from strangers.  You calmly met our friends and family members, and you sat peaceably nearby at all times, just enjoying the company of others.  You even allowed a seven year old to carry you around like a baby, though I am pretty sure you learned to avoid second graders like refrigerators.  Over and over, folks would tell me what a nice cat I had, and how I was so lucky to have you.  But I already knew that.

We moved to a new apartment once again, and you did not like it right away.  You slinked around for two weeks, sniffing at the furniture as if you were unsure that this was truly your new home.  But luckily Adam and I were still there, and you adjusted.  Adam tried daily to teach you a trick.  He wanted you to jump through an old tennis racket with the strings removed, and each day, he held a treat on the other side of the hoop.  It made us both smile to see you go around that hoop so many many times, completely ignoring it.  Sometimes, you actually would go through it, but only if the turkey was just in the right spot.  I wondered who was training who.

You were so docile and trusting of your toy Adam that he could hold you in the palm of one hand and lift you up to the ceiling.  You just sat there, looking around at the new view.

When Adam and I bought you a new home, I was so worried that you would not like it.  You had such a hard time with the previous move.  And when we finally took you there, in the middle of an unpredicted snow storm in late January, you hid yourself away.  We could not find you for hours, and I feared that you were outside in the cold.  But luckily, you were just in a closet, and when I embraced you, you came out of hiding and resumed your normal routine of peaceably sharing in the company of others.  You had no problem at all with your new home.  You seemed happy.

When spring came, you missed your balcony.  I was afraid to let you outside by yourself because foxes and other animals lived in our new yard, and you had no "street sense".  You could not even climb a tree, my poor little Daisy.  But I wanted you to be happy, and so I let you out, always supervised.  I taught you the limits of the yard, but you did not care to stay within the lines.  You would wait until I was not looking, and you would bound away for the neighbor's garage.  One day, I could not find you for hours, and I worried the entire time.  Apparently, something spooked you, because you came running toward the house in a panic.  I was so relieved that at least you had the sense to know where you would be safe.

I tried to contain you with a leash and collar, but it was a pitiful waste of money.  You learned to get the collar off within minutes.  I tried a harness, and you managed to wiggle it off in half an hour.  You wanted freedom, but I was too afraid to let you have it.  I needed you too much, and I could not bear the thought that something would happen to you.  I hope you understood.

In your older age, you began kneading again.  You would curl up in my lap on your favorite blanket, and knead away.  You purred so loudly, and I loved sitting with you, even though you usually tried to sit on my reading materials.  I look over at that blanket now, and I am so sad to see it missing a kitty.

Your last hours were spent in peace, I hope.  I know you were in pain, but you purred when I entered the room, even louder a few minutes later when Adam came in.  We will miss you so much, Little One.

 Luckily, you will live on in my memories:

Love Always,


Tiffany said...

It is hard to express what made Daisy so unique. She was the nicest cat I ever met. She did simply want to be around other people all the time and she didn't whine really. She made me think that grey cats must just be nicer but really I think it was just her. You told some of her story but there is so much more. Just reading the word cat carrier brought back some...remembering a trip home:-) As you mentioned, you already knew that you were lucky to have her...you were the lucky one that got to care for THE BEST CAT. It will be weird to go over and not see her or not have her greet me on skype. I will miss her. Luckily I do still have a few letters she wrote me. :-)

Danielle Mari said...

Oh pal. Not much I can say except that I'm sending love your way... and I hope she's up there making pals with our Domino (my first cat and the best person I ever knew), Clarity (our little white kitten who died too too soon), Destiny the Dingocat (be careful Daisy, she can be a handful!), and Saki (our almond-eyed and soft-souled Siamese)...

Cats are way better than people, eh?

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