Comforting Memories   3 comments

A Beautiful Patchwork of Color

Originally uploaded by Lady Birchwood

When our 18-year-old cat, Mandy, passed away in 1994, we had an 11×14 inch enlargement made of our favorite photo of her. We took it to a framing shop and had it professionally matted and framed. A small engraved plaque at the bottom of the portrait announces her name and dates of birth and death. That framed photograph occupies a prominent place in our house, stating to those friends and family who visit us that Mandy was an important, cherished member of our family.

Katie, our almost-17-year-old calico who joined the family in 1994, died last Saturday morning and we wished to do the same thing for her. The photo of her you see here isn’t necessarily our favorite, but in going through all the photos we have of her, this is probably the best, displaying her beautiful colors and her precious face. (Gotta love that little black nose!) I ordered the 11×14 enlargement last weekend, which arrived on Thursday.

After work yesterday, we came home and fed the Bubba-cat, Katie’s littermate and our remaining four-legged family member. We then went to a little shop in Woodbury that, prior to yesterday afternoon when I did an internet search for nearby picture framing places, I didn’t know existed. It is in a business park area in Woodbury, located in a building occupied by about 12 businesses, and you would certainly never know it was there unless you were actively looking for it.

When we first arrived, the matronly lady who runs the store along with her husband was helping another customer. We wandered the store, admiring all the framed artwork. Wildlife art is their specialty. I noticed in a storeroom off the main display area that there was a litterbox and a pan of kibble. Shop cat in residence, I immediately knew!

As Kathy, the owner, finished with her prior customer and came to help us, a beautiful black and white “tuxedo” kitty jumped up on the table. We then spent quite a bit of time getting the kitty’s story from Kathy, how she was discovered by her son as a tiny kitten. The son recently lost his apartment and couldn’t keep his new feline housemate, and he asked his mom to take her. Kathy didn’t really want her, having several small dogs at home, but is such an animal lover that she couldn’t say no. This young kitty, I’d guess roughly a year old, now resides in the shop.

It wasn’t until we had gotten this whole story that I showed her the photo we wanted framed and Kathy exclaimed at our deceased calico’s beauty and expressed her sympathy at our loss. She asked what our kitty’s name was. “Katie,” I replied.

Her eyes got wide. “That’s this kitty’s name!” she exclaimed. “What a coincidence!”

We took care of choosing the double matting and the frame and then we discussed putting a few words at the bottom with Katie’s name, birth and death dates, and finally decided to put the one word “Beloved” below that. It was in filing out the form with this information that Kathy asked me if we ever called our cat Katie-cat. I said yes, that is what she was often called.

Well, guess what? That’s what she calls her Katie, too! When we got up to leave, I walked to the back of the store and started calling in a very familiar cadence, a sing-songy summons that I used everyday around our house, “Katie-cat! Katie-cat!”

Now, we were told that this little tuxedo cat was aloof and not very friendly, very shy around people. When I started calling out with my oh-so-familiar refrain of “Katie-cat! Katie-cat!,” her little head popped up from behind a box on a table. She suddenly was very alert and bright-eyed and listening intently to me. As I called, she seemed very eager and jumped down off the table to come over to me. As I continued to softly sing her name, she flopped onto her side on the floor and rolled around in a similar greeting as to what my own Katie-cat used to give me. She rolled and purred and meowed as I talked to her. Then she got up and gave me a headbutt and sniffed my outstretched hand.

Kathy was amazed. “She never does that!” she remarked. “I’ve never seen her do that!”

What could I say? I have years of practice in talking to a Katie-cat, and my voice is filled with love. This beautiful long-haired black cat with the white markings on her pretty face knew this right away. She and I became instant friends. If I hadn’t had Bubba waiting for me at home who would no doubt be upset with me bringing home a feisty, attitudinal year-old “sister,” I would have made Kathy an offer on that precious Katie-cat.

I think I’ll be back to visit pretty little Katie-cat, though. I think she could use a friend! I know that I certainly could!


3 responses to “Comforting Memories

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  1. What a wonderful story, Bonnie! There ARE no coincidences, you know!!!

  2. What a beautiful story… I feel like you and Katie-Cat II are destined to be together…

  3. Katie-cat II would have been offered a forever home with me in a heartbeat if it weren’t for 17-year-old “Uncle Bubsy” at home. We’re trying to be mindful of his needs at this time in his life, and right now, he seems to be doing fine as an only-cat. If I thought a reasonably peaceful relationship could evolve between him and energetic, attitudinal Katie-cat II, I’d give it a go. Still pondering that one…..

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