Another link to my childhood slips away - Life and All That Pertains to It; Philosophized
Nov. 16th, 2006
12:30 am - Another link to my childhood slips away
When I was 10 years old, I got my first pet. It wasn't the first pet our family ever had, it was the first pet that I was responsible for. She was a Siamese mix and I named her Buttons. She had a sister that became my mother's pet, named Maitai. They were about 5 months when we got them. They had the softest, plushest short fur. They growled while chewing their food if the food dishes were placed to close together and would smack each other down while eating. They loved playing slinky on the stairs. Both kittens used to sleep on me. Their favorite spot was my neck, which became problematic when they got older and heavier.
When the girls, Buttons and Maitai, were about 8 months old, they got out and had a little fun with some of the local toms. My mother had not had young cats for a long time and kind of missed the first window of opportunity for getting the girls spayed. Back then, 6 months was the recommended age. Anyway, 3 weeks before we moved to our new home, my sweet 9 month old Buttons who had a hankering for the hunting across the street was brutally murdered by a driver. We had only had the girls for about 4 months. I was devistated. So was Maitai. Either that or it was kitty morning sickness.
We moved in early April, and on April 28th of that year, Maitai delivered 5 kittens. She was a fantastic mother cat. I have never seen such a devoted mother cat since. She also had a great milk smell (weird I know...I do not normally go around sniffing the bellies of lactating felines...but she did have a comforting smell). I used to lay my head in the box with her and the kittens...they would cuddle into my hair and Maitai would purrr. That same spring, my mother allowed me another kitten. She was siamese with snow shoes, and later in her life we discovered she had many faults that were a result of inbreeding. I actually visted the breeder and was sickened. He kept the cats in tiny cages outside and unprotected from the elements and the cats were disease ridden--ear mights, ringworm, intestinal worms--it wasn't pretty. He frequently would breed direct family members with each other...it was very sad...but I digress. Maitai did not really take to my new, neurotic, codependent kitten who was 3 weeks older than Maitai's litter. No, Maitai hated Queenie and would run with a horrid look on her face as her foster daughter would gleefully greet her newly found mother. Queenie was good at showering Maitai with many demands for undivided and unreciprocated attentions.
In the end, I think between Queenie's unwanted attentions, and her own kittens growing, Maitai finally had enough and felt she didn't get the TLC she needed. So. She moved next door to my Grandmother's house and was properly pampered. 9 years later, while I was in college, my mother moved to a different house, on the other side of my Grandmother's. Twinkle, the only kitten we had kept from Maitai's litter (she was a soft toned calico with a funky attitude) discovered her mother and moved in with her and my grandmother.
Maitai pretended to dislike her daughter. Her daughter was the spokesperson for the pair. If food was desired, Twinkle would yowl loudly and constantly until food was presented...while Maitai would swat her daughter as if to say "you rude oaf, shut up!". Twinkle was my buddy and was a very strange but delightful cat. Sadly, when she was 14, she died of cancer. Hard to believe that was 6 years ago...wow...Maitai wondered around the house for a few days searching for Twinkle...it was heartbreaking. Anway, once Twinkle was gone, Maitai found her own voice and we discovered where Twinkle's distinctive voice came from.
This year, Maitai slowed down a lot. She was getting skinny and we were getting concerned. I spoke with shawk and got a recipe for some home made catfood. Maitai regained her plush and slightly more youthful figure...She looked 17 again... and was alert and happy.
This week though, Maitai changed. She became less interested in food and more needy of attention. She did not seem to be in pain, she just wanted to be held. While Maitai has been a constant companion to my grandmother; Grammie could not cope with seeing Maitai spiral downhill. So I took Maitai into my care and pampered her. I spent the last two nights with Maitai, cuddled by the fire, giving her nutrical while she wanted it and water and a soft cushy bed. I comforted her when she woke up disoriented, and massaged her in her favorite places, nose...forehead...shoulder blades...ears, while she purred. Today, when she stopped being able to walk, I placed her outside on the grass, in the sun and I swear she smiled. Tonight I held her as she lost conciousness and continued to hold her and stroke her as she eventually slipped away and died.
She was the last cat of my childhood. The others have gone over the years. I know the age of 21.5 is a good one for a cat, but I will miss her anyway.