Dedicated To A Furry Friend
Yesterday I had to do something I knew I’d have to do but dreaded. I put my cat Frances (as seen above) to sleep. She was not in the best of shape of lately. Among other things she went blind and arthritis certainly slowed her down. At 17 years of age I suppose this is to be expected.
However, as of Friday afternoon she could not even walk. Inasmuch as she tried— and tried— she simply could not do it. This broke my heart. If there was one thing this gal was it was persistent— often to the point of driving me absolutely crazy. For example: years ago I got a cactus plant (under the erroneous assumption that the spines would discourage her from killing it). Despite the numerous times I had to extract those prickly items from her nose, she persisted. That cactus met its end. And yesterday she met hers. Methinks the least thing I can do is dedicate a blog post her. Here it is.
While not the best photo of Frances, this one (at left) is my favorite. A couple of years ago on Easter I decided Chez Shitty needed a bunny. As you can see she was none too pleased with this arrangement. In fact, just after this photo was taken she made her unhappiness with this arrangement known. LOUDLY. Anyone who had the pleasure of meeting “Miss Frances” can attest that she had a lot to say. Upon hearing her they would inquire “What is she angry about?”. To wit I’d reply she’s ALWAYS like this. Because she was— pretty much from day 1— and that is how we met.
During the summer of 1994 or 1995 (I forget which, time flies) I worked as an attendant/helper for a college student with cerebral palsy. This basically entailed running errands, prepping food, doing laundry, etc. You get the idea.
Anyway, he had an internship at a summer camp for children with special needs. During his stay there a cry was heard underneath a clothes dryer. After some searching the camp employees discovered a 8-10 week old kitten with a cut on her head. Taking into account the fact that children with behavioral problems were arriving soon, they had a kitten on their hands and I was a cat person, they saw fit to contact me. I took this rather vocal girl telling myself “I’ll find her a new home”. Of course that home ended up being mine.
France’s true nature was made itself manifest when I elected to have her spayed and decided shortly thereafter to take a road trip. When I opened the front door (upon arriving home) she hissed at me. Not satisfied with that, she followed me into the bedroom, glowering, and hissed at me again. But this too was not sufficient. She climbed on top of a pile of laundry (I was an even bigger slob then that now), looked me squarely in the eye, hissed and took a shit. Having made her point she walked off. The matter was resolved.
Frances and I knocked around Texas, New Mexico, the Bronx, Queens and ended up in Greenpoint. I’ll never forget when the Mister’s cat Tortilla (deceased) decided to make presiding over the litter box like a Sudanese warlord (precluding Frances from using it— those two had a special hatred of each other) his hobby. One night she decided enough was enough and crapped on my pillow— while I was using it, I want to make clear— at some ungodly hour of the morning. I woke up shouting, nudged the Mister to wake up and help me change the sheets. He mumbled something about having to go to work in the morning and went back to sleep.
This made me quite angry so I decided some “awareness raising” about the problem was in order. I will refrain from going into details. Simply suffice it to say it was REALLY EVIL and resulted in the only time my husband has ever called me a bitch.* The next night Tortilla was at it again. This time Frances opted to pee on the Mister’s pillow— and in so doing, his head! He did not find this the least bit amusing— although I have to admit I did (hence why I went into the kitchen to laugh).
Save some rather strident protestations from “the crew” that the Mister needed to provide kibble— 5 minutes ago— the apartment has been very, VERY quiet. Her absence is certainly felt and it will be for some time. However, remembering the time Frances pissed on my husband’s head does help me appreciate the time I did have with her. That’s my girl!
Those of you, gentle readers, who are not “animal folk” please take the following to heart: if you ever, ever see a kitten or puppy (of any age) in distress, say something. 17 (or 18) years ago in Argyle, Texas (yes, there really is such a place) someone did just this. I no longer recall who this person was, but I will be forever grateful to him/her for having Frances in my life. Strafing my pillow with shit and pissing on my husband’s head included.
*I suppose if you have read this far you deserve to know: I held a piece of Miss France’s “chocolate” about 1/2 inch from the Mister’s nose. This proved to be quite effective in making him aware that we had a problem. At 2:00 – 3:00 a.m. I take no prisoners.