Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Sylvia the Cat

The cat we owned the longest was a Siamese named Sylvia. Yes, again my mother named her. We got her from free from a friend of a friend in spring of 1966 and she disappeared in 1982. As you probably know, cats don't die at home. If they know they are going to die, they will leave the home and die elsewhere. I waited about three weeks in the hopes she would return. She had disappeared for days at a time over the years, but that was when she was much younger. At 16 years old, she was a pretty old cat with worn out teeth and graying hair--yes, animals gray, too. I was so sad, and I swore I would never own another pet. The death of a loved pet is painful, and I don't want to go through that again...

Anyway, she was and always will be my favorite. She was a feisty cat. She would never do what you wanted her to do. But she was smart and we never had a problem with her. We never had a sand box; we had a small window open with a loose screen. She would use her claw to lift it and she'd go in and out of the house as she pleased. She would never piss or crap in the house, unless someone mistakenly closed the window shut. I think she hated a smelly house as much as we did. She often slept on my bed, on the covers between my leg. Since I toss and turn a bit, she was never there when I woke up in the morning, but I must have moved more of my lower body when I slept, because I would sometimes wake up with her head resting on my arm, purring. I think she liked the way I petted her, too. I would stroke her beneath the chin, and behind the ear. What she really liked, I think, was when I would massage her toes. If you have a cat, you know that they have those dark padded toes. Sylvia wouldn't budge when I would lightly pinch them between my fingers as I wathced TV. I guess she was pretty spoiled...

But she really showed how spoiled she was when it came to food (we were truly kindred spirits). She would eat Kal-Kan cat food and nothing else. Once we bought the wrong brand and she refused to eat it. We thought if we just left it out, starvation would take over and she would give in... Fat chance, she went out and caught a sparrow, brought it back into the house and placed it into her dish. Not to eat. She just left it there... and it was kinda of half alive to boot. Ugh! But my mom said, No way. This cat will eat what we bought or eat nothing!

So Sylvia got serious.

The next day--Sylvia's third day on strike--my mother was getting ready to go to work and hurriedly put her shoes on... Her left foot wouldn't go in all the way, something was stuffed inside. She took out her foot, picked up the shoe and reached in. She felt something clammy and pulled out... a salamander. Kyaaah! My mother screamed so loud, I, I, I didn't know what to think! How the heck did a salamander get into your shoe, mom? I picked up the dead salamander my mom dropped on the floor and recognized Sylvia's tell-tale teeth marks around the body. Damn, I have never figured out how Sylvia knew which shoe to put it in.

Later that day, Sylvia was sleeping on top of the TV purring as loudly as she pleased after gorging herself on a can of her beloved Kal-Kan cat food.

Hahaha. I loved that cat. I hope she's with mom now...

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