Thursday, March 3, 2016

A Bittersweet Birthday

Chica in our farm house on top of the cabinets!

 Today is a big birthday for me - I turn 60!  Pretty amazing.  And it also marks three years to the day that my dear heart cat Chica passed.  She was a stinker to choose that day.  Just like a tortie, it was all about her  in life and even in death. We had an incredible bond between us and I know she would rather have had me all to herself.  Every new cat added would just make her grumble with disgust.  Since Chica was such a big part of the blog before she left and I have not posted much of her lately, let's go down memory lane to relive some of her quirks and endearing qualities with photos too.             

Chica is in the bag ready to pounce on Yoko - see her paws?

  We got Yoko for Chica as a playmate but she would have nothing to do with this tiny kitten.  I was afraid she would hurt Yoko so we kept them separated with a glass door for the first few weeks.  Poor Yoko learned to live in the shadow of her mean big sister.  One look from Chica could stop Yoko in her tracks and send her hiding.  Although to be fair, Chica mellowed out a bit in her later years and would even groom Yoko.  I never thought I would see that.

On our lanai in FL

Back in the 90s when Chica was young she earned the nickname "Queen of Mean" for her disdain of Yoko. (For those of you too young to recall...New York real estate tycoon Leona Helmsley was known as the 'Queen of Mean,' for her vicious business tendencies)

Playing with ribbons in FL

Chica was at my side all the time. Since Don, my husband is a light sleeper, he put her out of the bedroom at night but she would have none of that.  She thumped the door with her paws until he relented and opened it.  The she would settle in on the dresser - she knew enough not to get on the bed with him.  But her purr was so loud and rumbly, it would keep Don up.  He never got one up on her.  

Shortly after I found her at a strip mall in FL at about 6 months.

I had always had dogs before her (my first cat) so I treated her like a dog.  We played games - fetch, catch, hide and go seek.  She would jump to catch the kitty balls I threw to her and bring them back to me.  I would hide  out of sight from Chica and would call her to me.  She would run through the house looking behind doors, curtains until she found me and then I would say "I'm gonna get ya" and she would run to find her hidy spot.  Her favorite was in the bathtub.  I would creep up on her and could see her ear tips over the tub edge but she didn't want to give her spot away and would try to stay down.  Finally her curiosity would get the better of her and she would peek over the edge and I would yell "Gotcha" and we would start the game all over again.  Don thought we were nuts.

In later years with her balls

Chica loved the heat and would sit out on our lanai in Florida and just drape herself over the cushions on the lounge out there.  The hotter the better. She loved lizard hunting when one would accidentally find his way inside.  But snakes were another story.  She wanted nothing to do with them.Once while we were bathing her on the lanai, she spotted a snake and in her effort to get away from it, she was clawing the air with her front legs and got my nose with her claw!  Blood everywhere!  That ended that bathing session quickly.  She actually pierced my nose but I couldn't get mad at her.

When we moved from Florida to North Carolina, she was nine years old and Yoko was seven.  They both did well with the move and adapted to life in another home and climate.  We moved a lot but Chica was a trooper - as long as she was with us and our things were there,  she was home.

Just after the move to NC

Beginning with Sweetpea, Chica had to adjust to more and more cats coming to live with us. She was not as mean with them as she had been with Yoko but they knew  who was Queen in this house by her aloofness and look of distan.  She had no problem whapping them to put them in their place.  She would walk away grumbling  under her breath.  I know the others were afraid of her even as she aged.What Chica wanted Chica got - a total tortie Diva.

She ruled our lives and I loved every minute of it.  We were so very lucky to have had her for 22 years.  One of my friends always said Chica knew she had it made with us and that is why she wasn't leaving.  I know I will never experience another cat like her in this lifetime.  As mean as she could be to the other cats, with us she was tender and loving.  She was there with me and for me thru so many huge changes and events in my life.  It makes it harder to go thru this milestone birthday without her being with me.  But, I do see her in my dreams so  often.  Just last night I had one of her. I know she is still watching over me, just on the other side of the veil.  Aren't you Chica?



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