Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Missing Zen and loving kitties (pets)

I missed Zenzen constantly, I think, from the moment the vet told me of his death until I got Sputz a year later. Now that Nutter’s gone too, the pair of them have receded, as if Nutter’s been gone two years also and not just a month. I think it’s because they were a unit, always together, best friends. I’m sad that Ursi and Sputz don’t love each other that much. They never sleep together, and play rough. I wonder if that is because Sputz bonded so much with Nutter, thinking Nut was his mommy, or because Ursi hated everyone for the first few months (and only now is figuring out we might not be planning to kill and eat her).
So this weekend I drank milk for the first time in several years. Zen loved milk so much we couldn’t even SAY the word around him. Then I started getting sick from milk and stopped drinking it. But now I don’t get sick anymore. Saturday I made chocolate chip cookies and drank a big glass of milk. Sputz was on the couch and I offered him the glass and said “milk” in the way I always said it for Zen, and this wave of longing for my smelly black kitty came over me and I’ve missed him for the past few days.
Could I have forgotten how much Zen loved milk? I mean, when Tom did his fake “got milk” commercial Zen was one of the stars! When’s the last time I thought about Zen’s poor little half-tongue, chopped up by two surgeries, and how he had to curl it sideways to drink? Or how bad he used to smell before his second surgery?
Turns out Sputz loves milk too, and drank it eagerly out of my glass. It did not make him sick. Ursi wasn’t around so I don’t know if she’ll drink it or not.
I remember how Nutter would roll over in his sleep to have him tummy rubbed, and how much he liked to be spanked, and to have his chin scratched. How Zen would sit and stare at me with such love, as if I was God and he was abashed in my presence. He would lie along the back of my chair, and gradually fall between me and the chair back, purring, fast asleep, happy to be near me. He slept on my head at night. Sputz sleeps on my head too, and I’m glad. For the year in between Zen and Sputz, I still slept toward the bottom of the bed, with my arm curled around the empty space where a cat should have been sleeping.
If Nutter was sleeping somewhere, Zen would try to lie there too, and end up pushing Nutter aside (or Nutter capitulated). If Zen was sleeping somewhere, Nutter would cuddle with him and they would hug each other in their sleep. Sputz and Ursi never sleep together. They don’t hang out. If Sputz is in the bed at night, Ursi sleeps in the dog bed on the floor, and vice versa. Very rarely, Sputz will be on the pillows and Ursi will be hugging my feet, but that’s the closest they come to sleeping together.
Ursi has been more cuddly lately, since we came home from Bermuda. Maybe 4 days without us taught her that she really DOES like us. She often gets in the bed with me while I’m writing and curls up nearby. Sometimes she curls against me. More rarely, she gets on me.
Saturday, after the cookies and milk were gone, Ursi came running down the stairs, howling as if she’d lost her best friend. We called to her and she ran over and got on the couch and laid half on the arm of the couch and half on Will’s legs (he was on his back, his legs up on the side of the couch). Eventually he moved her to be on his chest, and he petted her and rubbed her head, and she purred. But she is a weird little thing. Even when she’s happy she’s always got this grumpy look on her face. My friend (who has six or seven cats), says that Ursi is bitchy, and she is.
And of course the irony about Ursi is that Will picked her because she was the calmest, sweetest cat of the litter, and she was happy when he picked her up and cuddled her. He wanted her even when he thought she was a boy. (A boy with that face? She is such a girl. I can’t imagine a boy cat with her markings.) When the breeder called me and said there was a mistake and our chosen cat was actually female Willy didn’t care at all. And the little boy who lived there said that kitten was his favorite because she was “calm” and sweet. Something happened to drastically change her personality on the way home, that’s all I can think of, because when I brought her upstairs and took her out of the carrier she backed into a corner and hissed at me, all 2 pounds of her, and she’s pretty much hated me (and Sputz and Willy and Nutter) ever since. Except when she is hungry. Or when SHE wants to be cuddly.
A few weeks ago Sputz demonstrated that he learned how to fetch. He has two of these weird hedgehog toys, these little gray balls of fur with mechanical tails. If you pull the tail the toy goes across the floor. He carries them around in his mouth and brings them to bed. In the middle of the night I’ll wake up because he is pulling the tail over and over. I sewed one back together after he disemboweled it. And bought him another one after he completely ripped the tail off and lost it. If you throw the hedgehog, Sputz chases it and brings it back. He did it about a dozen times in a row.
Ursi’s love is for the laser. I had one that was purple (the case, not the light) and one of the cats stole it. We completely moved everything in the bedroom and never found it. So I bought a new one (blue, so if the purple one turned up I’d know it was a different one), When I pick it up, Sputz comes running to me and bats at the chain. Ursi comes running too (she knows the noise of the chain) but in her smart cookie way, she doesn’t come to me. She sits in the doorway and looks around on the floor for the light. She knows that when I have the blue thing in my hand the light is on the floor. That’s pretty intelligent. She never comes over to investigate the pointer itself.
I started out writing about Zen and how much I missed him and moved naturally, gradually, into talking about my new cats. I guess that’s right and proper. I can’t ever get Zen or Nutter back. I think sometimes, would I trade either of my cats to have my old cats again, back as kittens? No, something about that trade strikes me as wrong.
And now I’ve lost my Zeebo too, he who used to throw his food bowls and swear and yell “hey hey hey” (always three times) for attention. I was worried that Lancelot would keel over and die by himself, but he seems okay with the perfect lorikeets in the other half of the cage. The cage divider is up, and they haven’t fought once through the bars. I would take the divider out but I think that Hogan, who is a bully, might hurt Lancelot, who is a wimp, even though Lancelot is a lot bigger. The three of them were at the vet last week (I picked up Zeebo’s cremains in a lovely wooden box) and I asked Dr. Giddings how long they would live and he just laughed. I am going to be in a nursing home and still have Hogan, I just know it. He’s 16 or 17, in perfect feather and perfect health, has never been sick once since I got him in 1995 (used).
- 15 Zac 4 Eb

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