In Loving Memory: 1993 – November 5, 2015
Let’s be clear: I’m a dog person.
My dog, Tiffany Jewel, had died and I’d mourned her for months. I wanted another dog, but my husband Alan and I were traveling a lot and it didn’t seem fair to board a dog so much.
Still, when we were home our house felt empty. I prayed and put it in God’s hands. A few months later, I was standing on the parking lot in front of my husband Alan’s office with two employees, Carrie, and my stepdaughter, Cindy. Between them they probably had eight cats. Cat people! Suddenly at our feet was an eight inch ball of fur, a tuxedo kitten decked out in black with white underbelly, paws, and even a white mustache. He was trying to climb my leg!
Both women oohed and ahhed, and Cindy finally picked him up. But it was my attention he wanted, bending almost backwards in her hands to stretch his front paws toward me. When she put him down, once again it was my legs he stroked with his body and my legs he tried to climb. I was having none of it. Cats were aloof and prissy. I’d had one cat princess, and one was enough.
Cindy couldn’t leave him, so she took him home. That silly cat stayed on my mind for the rest of the day. After dinner, I asked Alan if he wanted to drop by Cindy’s. He shrugged. “If you want.”
When we got to her house, the kitten was in a bathroom, because of her multiple cats and a German shepherd. After retrieving him, she asked, “Want to hold him?”
“Uh, okay.” Alan loved him on sight, but it was me he nuzzled and purred for. He had claimed me, and the fact that I couldn’t get him out of my head, meant I’d claimed him, too. He went home with us and we named him Maui, after the Hawaiian island we love.
He would sit with his legs in front of him, like a person, looking around or watching television. He’d tear through the house like a gazelle, roll a few times, sit up and look as if to say, “Never seen a tiger?” He talked vehemently, letting us know what and when he wanted something, whether for food, play, love, or treats. Never has there been a funnier, sweeter, or more lovable animal.
Now, at 21 years old, he’s a grouchy old man, eating ground cat food, getting fluid injections, and sleeping all day. Yet still adorable.
I’ll always remember the kitten he was and the cat he grew into, following me around like a dog, batting everything in sight, and begging. His favorite foods–black olives, apricots, and asparagus. He’d start at the asparagus tip and chew up the stalk.
I’ve always said he’s a dog cloaked in a cat’s body, but really, he’s his own cat. Special and loving in his own feline way. And, the truth is, I think I’m a cat person after all.
The aging Maui sometimes wakes me by swatting my face with his paw or nudging my hand over his head. It reminds me of the kitten. And I thank God, He sent me the perfect animal—a cat I couldn’t forget—and two women standing on a parking lot with me who would have never left without him.