Eighteen years ago some children came running to my house announcing they had found some kittens. There was a white kitty, an orange tabby, a tuxedo boy, a tortoise-shell girl and a beige female. The kids quickly told me the mommy was dead. Thinking back, I have no idea how true that was. They were all about 4 – 5 weeks old. After a couple of weeks of care and feeding, I found homes for 2 of them. The remaining 3 (orange tabby female, male tuxedo cat, and tortoise-shell female) needed names. I was in a literary frame of mind and the 2 girls were named Melanie and Katie Scarlett (GWTW). I actually considered naming the tuxedo cat Rhett Butler, but it just didn’t fit his personality. The runt of the litter when he arrived, he appeared to have dreams of becoming larger than life. As a result he became my Great Gatsby.
Melanie was the family “greeter.” She figured anyone entering our abode was there to see her. She would attempt to ingratiate herself to any new comer — never thinking they might be allergic to her. “To me? Never.”
Originally she was a rather quiet girl, but in more recent years found her voice. This often came out in anger. If I tried to arise and she was on my lap I heard, “MEOW….MEOW.” She also informed me that what I considered my side of the bed, was actually hers. with a very loud, “MEOWWWWWWW!”
Mellie (her preferred nickname) started loosing weight about a week ago. Her usual zest for eating was different, and then all of a sudden her tummy was distended. I was sure she wasn’t pregnant. Aside from being neutered, she’s 18 years old (93 in human years). We were off to the vet. After an x-ray and exam, he said, “It doesn’t look good.” He suggested I take her home and “just love her.” It’s amazing how quickly she deteriorated and on April 22 she breathed her last.
There is a down side to having pets. They give unconditional love, and are wonderful companions. However their life span in human years is predictably shorter than ours. For now, I find an emptiness I didn’t have only 72 hours ago. And, my little girl, has quite literally gone with the wind. Sleep tight Mel.