From the first time I saw you on that hot July day in 2006, you and your near-matching orphan brother just barely three weeks old and trying to climb out of the horror show of a life your owner was bestowing upon you, I loved you. Your mother didn’t want you when you were barely a week old…your owner did not want you…but I did. I brought you home Monday morning at 9am, snatching you from a life of which all but one of your eight siblings eventually died in before making it past kittenhood. You were so full of the biggest fleas I have ever seen that you were anemic and didn’t have enough blood in your tiny, fragile body. You hadn’t been fed in fifteen hours, and what you had been given was adult dry cat food – hardly acceptable for a three week old baby with teeth just surfacing – and your head was wobbling back and forth in your weakness. Your little body was struggling and fighting with diarrhea so terrible that your intestines had even swollen inside. My vet didn’t even bother weighing you or your brother; he told me he didn’t think you would make it.
I took you home and started you on a proper diet for kittens, with soft wet food and kitten milk. I dropper fed you pectin to coat your intestines, relieve your pain, and get your body working again. I washed you in a warm bath every day as you could not do it yourself. You didn’t like it at first, but soon grew to enjoy it. I cuddled you and showed you and your brother the care you never had in your short life. I gave you a name – Mazar. A silly name, one that Cassy liked to say. Your brother was named Jack-Jack, a name that fit him well. You learned how to play despite your weakness, but grew stronger every day. You learned how to cuddle, and you slept A LOT. You started to fill out and your fur began to have a shine to it. You didn’t look so much like a white and black drowned rat! You learned how to use the catbox and was good at it, though at times you could really frustrate me by hiding behind the TV and making a doody. Against all odds, you were making it.
Your personality developed, and you gave us a lot of laughs. You could jump straight up in the air, and eventually as much as two feet from a standstill, if something like a vacuum cord or random toy moved next to you. I kept you in the house for the first four months I had you because I didn’t want you to get sick from something outside. When you were finally allowed out, you and your brother were so fun to watch in the grass, playing with bugs and new things that you had never seen before. You were wary at first, and slunk around like you were in trouble. Eventually you loved it. When I took you to your next check-up, the vet told me my kittens were about six months old because your baby teeth were already gone. I told him he had overshot their birthday by two months…you hadn’t even been conceived yet at his projected birthday! You had been so malnourished those first three weeks of life that your baby teeth fell out three months too early, and the vet didn’t even recognize you know that you were healthy. You were toothless for awhile, but your adult teeth grew in strong and big, like a healthy kitten should have. You came into heat for the first time when you were six months old, right before your scheduled date at the vet to take care of that issue. I was so glad your appointment was soon, because keeping you in the house and the noise you made was really unbearable!
You and your brother were inseparable. You romped and played together, inside the house and out. As you reached adulthood, your kitten activities could really be too much in our small house, but it was fun to watch you. You loved to stalk the chickens but never hurt them. You were gentle with Elaina when she was a newborn. You grew into a beautiful, sleek, healthy cat, though were always smaller than a normal house cat. We used to take walks together up the big hill for lunch at the top, overlooking the Sacramento valley. Two small children, a mom with a wheelbarrow, followed by two dogs, a goat, and two cats. When Jack-Jack died tragically in the pool that icy morning in 2008, you were depressed for an entire month, and didn’t even go outside (except to potty) for two weeks straight. Eventually you felt better, and you were a lot more of a family cat after that. You enjoyed us, and we enjoyed you.
We moved to a new house in 2009, one you really enjoyed. You had even more acreage than before, and didn’t have to worry about a highway. We made a garden, and you loved to sit on the garden bench every day to watch the birds. You loved to lie in between the corn and under the tomatoes. You didn’t like strangers, but you loved us. I always appreciated that you never made another doody in the house again, except the one time you managed to slip through the door when we were leaving for three days. You didn’t doody though, and relieved your bladder on the towels in the dirty laundry room. Smart kitty. You sure were anxious to get out the door though! You watched the chickens, watched the garden, watched the girls playing, and played with the dog. You and Sophie were best friends, always playing the “cat and dog” game but never meaning anything by it. You relished that you were just plain smarter and faster than Sophie – plus you could climb. Gary wasn’t much of a fan of cats prior to you, though your great personality, patience, and easy-going nature won him over. He would let you sit on his lap and would pet you. We didn’t even get mad at you when you rubbed white cat hair all over our new black seats in the race car. You actually became internationally known for that through the online social racing circles. You slept on Cassy’s bed every night (mainly in the cold months) and kept her feet warm. In the summer, you still let me give you baths to cool you down, even with the hose. You cuddled with Cassy and Elaina when they were sick. You would follow us to and from the barn, hang around watching us work on cars, the horse fence, whatever we were doing. You were like a beacon with your white on the green grass, but in the snow you were hard to see! You gave us a lot of laughs when you would get irritated by Sophie moving around in your guy’s bed, and then slap her in the face or bite her tail. She usually gave up and let you have the big dog bed to yourself. You never gave Jesse our parrot a second thought while he was walking around the house. You would get mad at me if I waved at you while you were asking to be let in the house, and even threw kitty tantrums when you didn’t get your way. Every morning you followed me around the house while I made breakfast and coffee, meowing, until I sat down in which you promptly demanded your time in my lap. You were always a main presence in our family.
You disappeared about six days ago, which wasn’t abnormal for you. We called them your kitty adventures, and one adventure last spring lasted four days. We were worried and then there you were, eating kitty food like nothing every happened. We started really worrying when it snowed, because you generally would be home if the weather was like that. We searched around the house, under the house, in the cars, thought maybe we locked you in the barn (again). You were nowhere. We called you every morning and night. When we got home from work Monday evening you had finally come home, and we found you in a place we had already searched. You were underneath the deck against the cold concrete of the house foundation, in a place that was never part of your routine. You did love it under the deck in the summer, but always in a depression in the dirt, not against the house. There were no signs of struggle, no signs of damage…you simply lay down and passed away Monday morning. We don’t know why – maybe your severe start in life finally caught up with you internally? You hadn’t lost weight or seemed ill, but that doesn’t mean you didn’t have something wrong inside. Unless you went to a neighbor’s house or something happened to you, we don’t have any poisons or coolant accessible here. I am sorry I wasn’t home for you…I am sorry I didn’t know you weren’t well. I don’t know why you left and only came back at the end. We could have helped you, or at least been there at the end for you, but you did come home and give us an answer. I am sorry you died alone and cold, I didn’t want that for you. You deserved better than that.
I thought you would be in our family longer than your far too short five and a half years. The time you had with us meant so much and we’ll never forget your kindness. We loved you, and you loved us. You are with your brother now, once again inseparable and chasing the beetles in the grass together. We buried you underneath a big Cedar tree that overlooks the garden you loved. Your grave smelled like Cedar from the roots we crushed, and we dug it deep. Thank you for your memories and quirky kitty-ness. While your life was short, it was sweet. There is a void in this home. You are deeply missed by us all.