Let me begin by apologizing for not writing anything for a while. Our cat passed away last week, and the loss has hit me pretty hard in soul, mind, and memory. Desi (short for Desdemona – from Shakespeare’s Othello) was a beautiful white, black, brown and grey tabby with quite the personality. Those closest to us know how special and treasured she was – and, how temperamental. I was her Mommy for 15 years.
Desi disliked a lot of things. Change, having her paws touched, most people (especially those under 4 feet tall), but she especially hated traveling. Mind you, I don’t think being picked up against their will, thrown into a cage and then being put into a large, noisy, fast-moving contraption is top of the fun list for most cats, but Desi especially hated it. From the moment I brought her home from the SPCA – during which she promptly messed herself and our newly-acquired cat carrier – to the annual check-up trips to the vet, she would be downright pissed with the entire production.
As soon as Desi heard the rattle of the cat carrier’s door, she knew something bad was about to happen. She would either (a) hide, not to be found for hours at a time, or (b) if found, struggle, hiss, growl and scratch all the way into the cage. It got to the point where we had to come up with elaborate plans involving treats and ultimate surprise measures to get her into the damn thing.
And then there was the super-fun ride to the clinic, where Des would let out a heartbreaking mixture of meowing and howling that was scarily close to a human being, say, burned, or even skinned alive. When that approach didn’t magically transport her home, she’d show us the I-hate-you-guys-for-putting-me-through-this back-end view of her obviously distressed state, ears flattened against her head. But then she would forgive us 20 minutes after the appointment, thanks to her pea-sized cat brain. The world would be all balloons and roses once again. Until the next time.
So, yeah… Desi wasn’t the greatest traveler. Take the time years ago when I moved from Vancouver’s North Shore back to Vancouver Island. It was a bit of a trek, complete with an hour-and-a-half ferry ride. Of course, she hated the driving, but being on a ship was a whole different story. She was in her carrier most of the way, but once on the ferry, I let her out to roam the inside of the car. I stayed with her on the car deck the whole way, where she promptly went to what she thought as the safest place in my Honda Civic: the tiny little space by my foot and the brake pedal. There she would tuck herself away, cubby-hole style, shaking with fear. All you could see was fur and fluff, ridiculously big ears and whiskers, and big moony cat eyes.
Months later, I would pack her into the back of Cam’s Mazda Precidia MX-3, its low back ceiling giving her a neat little hidden area to snuggle up in. Still she was displeased, and proceeded to yowl the 40 or so minutes to her new home.
Despite all of the foregoing, Desi actually seemed to enjoy one particular car ride. I was out of town when she became ill, so it was up to Cam to play doctor, administering antibiotics and Ringer’s Lactate via subcutaneous syringe injection. On the way to the vet early one beautiful, clear morning, Cam decided to take Desi to the vet in our BMW M Roadster. Desi had never ridden in this car. Cam took the top down, unrolled the windows, and strapped her carrier into the front seat (well, there isn’t a back seat). There she was, up and sniffing the fresh morning air through the door and looking out the slats on the side of the carrier. Distracted, Des temporarily forgot her pain and the fact that she was in a cage, going to a place she loathed and ultimately feared. I think she actually enjoyed being the convertible kitty that day.
Just this weekend, we brought her home, in a different form, but it’s still her. Once again, she rode in the convertible – this time free of restraints, cages and carriers. No more pain or fear, just peace and quiet, going home with the people who loved and cared for her all of her long, happy life.
So this is to you, Des, my beautiful baby, my pretty girl, my comforting, yet crazy split-personality kitty. I don’t know where you are or what you’re doing, but I hope you enjoyed your last ride on this earth. I will miss you.