Our beloved cat Toonces passed away this last Monday, November the 23rd 2009, at the age of 14 1/2. (75 in human years.)
14 and a half years ago, three barn cats living on the same farm each had their litter of kittens the same night. A total of 16 kittens were born. The kittens all got mixed together and, subsequently, each mother took turns nursing different kittens. It was never clear what kitten belonged to what mother cat.
We were family friends of the owners of the farm and Lucy was in the same class as their daughter. We went to visit the kittens and Lucy and I were each allowed to pick one. Lucy went back and forth between a few different kittens. But I knew what kitten I wanted. Toonces. She was the only short hair gray and white tabby of the bunch, with hints of beautiful peach fur. Many people wanted her, her unique coat and chatty demeanor endeared her to everyone. But I picked her first. The next day, when we went to pick up the kittens, the owners of the farm told us that Toonces hadn’t been seen all morning. It seemed she had gotten lost. I refused to pick another kitten and instead searched all day for Toonce. Just when all seemed lost, the owners of the farm’s son, found Toonces asleep behind a hay bale in the barn! That night, Toonces came home with me, and Myrtle, a long haired calico, came home with Lucy.
We called Toonces Jinx originally, but changed the name because she didn’t seem to like it very much. I taught her to give high fives with her nose, every time I said “pudgie” she’d sit on her hind feet and bunt her nose against my flat palm. She loved to chase flashlight beams, lasers, and the rainbow reflections cast by prisms. When she was happy, and would rub her nose against my face and hands and start to drool. She would yodel and meow loudly when she felt she wasn’t getting enough attention. She would crawl behind the piano and tv, get stuck and then yowl for rescue. She liked cantip that came shaped as cigars, turkey and tuna. She ate dinner on the dinning room table, and slept on my bed every night. She would get the crazies and run around the house, then sit for hours on the window ledge. She didn’t care if the curtains were drawn, she loved watching the shadows of the squirrels as the raced back and forth. She would cackle at the birds that ate from the feeder out front. And she would chase away the neighbors cat when she came over to use our lawn as a litter box.
Although they were sisters, Toonces and Myrtle were very different. They didn’t get along very well, Myrtle was most fond of our dachshund, Brock, who was elderly at the time we got the cats. Toonces was fondest of Henry, whom we got a year after getting her and Myrtle. Myrtle got sick and passed away when she was ten. From then on it was just Toonces and Henry. When Henry passed away in the summer of 2008, the house became Toonces’.
We adopted Phoebe in late December of 2008. Toonces, for her part wasn’t crazy of the young pup, but Phoebe caught on that Toonce was queen of the house, So Toonces didn’t fuss for long about Phoebe coming into her home. Toonces was very fond of Teddy, I think because of his gentle demeanor and the fact he was scared of her.
Throughout the years, Toonces was my best friend and constant companion. She would sit by her food bowl and yowl at me to pick her up. If we left the windows down on the car, she would climb inside and sleep on the drivers seat, leaving behind paw prints all over the windshield. She had the softest fur in the world; smooth and silky and radiant in all lights, it always made me think of the coat of a seal. She had beautiful green eyes, lined with white fur. On her back and tail, she had tiger stripes, and on her peaches and cream belly, she had beautiful leopard spots. She had a perfect little white diamond shaped spot of fur on her chest. She was and always will be the most beautiful cat in the world. There was nothing more dear to me then that little gray kitty and I will never forget her, and no other creature will ever take her place in my heart. She was and always will be, my Baby Toonces. The Pudge.
Toonces, I love you and always will.