Monday, August 30, 2010

So in Love

I walked into our townhouse after a long day of work, waiting to see her. I was told she'd be there.

I went to the kitchen, where Denton had placed a folding closet door, taken off its hinges to keep her secured - free from harm; free from wondering. A barrier, if you will. She wasn't there.

I stood up and and there she was, on the stairs, looking down at me through the rails, as if to say, "who are you and what are you doing in my house!"

She was a little ball of fluff that could fit in the palm of your hand and already you knew she ruled the roost. Of course, we let her. I fell in love immediately.

She then promptly went and pooped behind the couch.

We named her Tovah, which translated, can mean 'good'. She was anything but. I guess we named her in jest. (Alanis: it's not irony if you do it on purpose.) As any kitten, she was a rascal and in all sorts of trouble at all times. And vocal. The kitten, and then cat, conversed like no one's business.

Tov as a barn kitty and while not feral, it took a lot to win her trust and affection. She came with a plethora of fleas, of which took weeks to rid her. She didn't like being held much in the first place - giving her dozens of flea baths did not help our cause for a cuddler. It turns out, we'd never really get one with her.

Oddly enough, from a young age, she'd crawl on me (in bed only) to knead my neck. At first it was pushing on my wind pipe and we were sure she had kitty murder on her brain. Eventually she learned to finesse things on each side of the neck while she planted herself on my chest. Eventually, Denton was the benefactor of this affection and I was left out in the cold, but it was a ritual she continued on an almost daily basis.

That is as close as she'd come to cuddling with either of us. She was never a lap cat and struggled if we attempted to hold her.

Tov could not be contained - easily. Even when we moved to Cleveland, we could not get her in a cat carrier. For the entire drive, she walked around my car - YELLING. She was on the backs of the seats, pacing and yelling. No matter how loud I turned up the radio, she got louder.

And there was no stopping for me to pee on that trip. I couldn't take the chance of opening the car door at a rest area and having her bolt. So I held it in - for hours. But folks on the freeway loved it. I got tons of honks and finger pointing notifying me that there was a cat loose in my car - as if I didn't already know.

Except for curling up on a bed, it took Tovah about six years to come up onto a piece of furniture. The first time was when I was home after one of my hernia surgeries and she laid on the arm of my chair - I like to think to take care of me. It was one of the best days of my life. She continued to do that from that moment forward.

As you seen here, she ended up liking to hold my hand or sleep atop of my hand. It broke my little heart each and every time she did it.

In bed, she was controlling too. She would sleep next to me, but only if she could sleep on my arm. This way, she knew where it was and limit what I could do with her being so nearby. Her tail would map out my arm....tracing where it was and to where it extended. Only when she was satisfied, did the tail and the rest of the cat settle down. How I loved that routine.

When we got Tovah, she had a big sister. Tovah tried to befriend Kylie, but Kylie was having none of it. They weren't mean to each other, just ignored one another after a year or two. But how she missed Kylie when she left us four years ago. It is the reason we got Sophie.

Soph and Tov, well......ignoring each other would have been a welcome relief now and again.

In our old house, Tovah was our protector. She scouted window by window making sure other cats did not enter our yard - which they did all the time and she was none too happy about it. Especially when Smokey came by and sat at our back door. He loved Tovah - of this I'm sure.

Smokey would sit. Tovah would charge the screen door, hissing all the way. Smokey never flinched, let alone left. But Kylie would come by, look at him once and he'd be out of there like a shot. And so it went, day after day. Month after month - until Smokey moved.

Tovah loved the outdoors too, but was a scaredy cat. She wouldn't venture too far off without retreating to the back door if she heard a noise that she didn't like or that was unfamiliar. She rarely ventured off our old deck (per our explicit instructions to her) and she'd lean as far as she could to munch on the tall grass, which she loved so much.

She also didn't take kindly to strangers. She wasn't mean, just scared or self-protective - so she hid. I'm not sure in 16 years that any of my family ever got a good look at her. She did well with men, since that's all she really knew, but if there was a group - chances are she wasn't around.

But oh, how she loved her dads. And we loved her.

She made us a family. Though he'll deny it, Kylie was really Denton's cat. She loved me and vice versa, but Tovah brought us all together.

Tovah was sixteen years and four months old. She lived a great life - she helped us live a great life. A wonderful life - because of her.

Her illness seemed to have come quickly, but you know how stoic cats are. She had a vet appointment a month ago with no real issues other than some slightly elevated kidney enzymes. But it was clearly more serious than that. In a day she went from vital to troubled. There was nothing we could do for her but keep her comfortable.

Yesterday, after it was over and Denton prepped her place next Kylie, I watched a monarch butterfly fly around the carrier that held Tovah. Clearly I am not the most spiritual man around, but I couldn't help but believe that with the what a butterfly represents and similar its colouring - that Tovah was now also free.

Song by: k.d. lang


Cubby said...

What a wonderful tribute.

Kevin said...

So sorry but such a lovely story!

AJohnP said...

Such a nice made me all teary at my desk.
Thinking of you. :)

rebecca said...

It's nice to read all the Tovah stories in one place. I remember her keeping the yard safe at your old place. Such a good, sweet kitty.

Was there a dry eye in the waiting room?

Breenlantern said...

We get very rare glimpses of this side of you and it is very powerful to read this beautiful memorial to a pet that clearly was a big part of your home, family and life. You have woven your love and joy into words that gave us all a glimpse into how special Tovah was. It is a sad truth that we will ususally outlive our pets and it is never easy to see them go, but I hope you take comfort in the wonderful home and life you gave her. I'm sure this was hard to write, but it was an honor to read. Wishing you find peace with her passing and your home remains strong with her memory and the joy she brought you. Big hugs, BlobbY!

Nice to see StevieB said...

I'm so sorry, what a great kitty.

A Lewis said...

Oh my goodness, I am so sorry for you guys. I send you the biggest hugs for comfort and peace that are possible today. I hope there are many many more butterfies in your future.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. These days loosing one of my doggies is my biggest fear.

Birdie said...

I apologize for being so dense. Please accept my condolences for your loss. You gave Tovah a sweet and long life, and you accepted her love in the only language she knew. Only her dads had her trust; that says so much about your loving care. Take care of each other in your sorrow.

Ur-spo said...

I agree: that was a lovely tribute. You did a fine job.

Ur-spo said...

I agree: that was a lovely tribute. You did a fine job.

Wonder Man said...

sorry for your loss