arteejee

A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Friday, January 17, 2014

Her Name Was Meredith…



…but her first owner had named her Satan, which I should have known after our initial meeting at Kitty Cottage. The no-kill shelter was (at that time) located on Route 202 (or as the locals know it DeKalb Pike) in Whitpain Township, PA. We had gone there to adopt a kitty to fill the void in our lives left by Sydney’s departure six months before. As we browsed around the living quarters at several dozen candidates, I noticed Satan/Meredith curled up on a window sill basking in the sunshine of a late summer day.

I offered her my hand and she immediately raised her head and rubbed it against my fingers. We had bonded! Then she rose, climbed up several shelves of a bookcase that went to the ceiling and, along the way, made good on her name by knocking over a small vase which tumbled to the floor where it shattered into oblivion. Now I knew we had to take this troublemaker home, if only to save the other vases in the cottage.

Meredith came home with Kelly, an older male who was the original Grumpy Cat. Kelly was good to both Anne Marie and I, but he couldn’t be bothered playing with the mischievous female who shared his forever home. Meredith would run, jump, make a cooing sound when her feet hit the floor in a sprint and climb to all sorts of heights; Kelly was content just to be a quiet docile feline. If these two had been Marx Brothers, Meredith would definitely have been Harpo to Kelly’s Groucho persona.

One height Meredith liked to climb was the balustrade of our first floor stairwell. She would leap up there before making a nice single jump to the top of the couch three feet away, bounce off the top, a bounce off the couch seat, then land on the floor, and make a hop or two to the sun porch door ten feet away. Impossible for a mere human to do, but Meredith could do it over and over, making her cooing sound with every mark she hit.


Kelly left us too soon, but we brought home Steven (again from Kitty Cottage) who was much more agreeable to sharing his house with this very active female. The two became good friends chasing each other and grooming each other when one or the other’s hair got tousled the wrong way. As Steven’s health slowly declined over the course of two years, Meredith went through a stressful time. She responded to Steven’s health problems by tearing out the hair on her back and sides; she looked like a small lion with a mane reaching to the middle of her spine. 
 
We brought home Nyla (again from Kitty Cottage) when Steven departed. It took awhile (six weeks) for Meredith to get used to Nyla to the point where she could stay in the same room with her for longer than five minutes without hissing. The sisters grew close in time, engaging in social grooming when the need presented itself.

In time Meredith’s hair grew back and she continued to chase her sister, wreak havoc with bell ornaments on our Christmas tree, run upstairs and hide when strangers knocked on the door, and seek shelter whenever we crinkled newspaper. We surmised that her former owner may have smacked her a few times with the print media, and she associated the sound with a stinging posterior.

Meredith became Anne Marie’s cat. They had a morning routine with a few games including “hand monster”.  Anne Marie would move her hand beneath the bed covers and Meredith would obligingly leap on it to subdue it. Then there was ”gnaw and curl”. This time Anne Marie would grasp Meredith by the belly, and our fearless feline would try to kill this attacker by nipping on Anne Marie’s knuckles and violently push against her mommy’s wrist with her back legs.

We brought Meredith to her forever home as a nearly full grown adult. She lasted 13 years, surviving two male cats in the intervening time. In the last few months, she lost most of her weight. Her appetite was still good and she fought against whatever ailment forced her to slowly withdraw from her normal activities.

She left us on Wednesday, January 15. Our grief has been tempered with the knowledge that she is no longer in pain.

Dear Meredith, Mommy and Daddy will miss their first girl, but Nyla will take care of us. Until the day we see you again, run and jump wherever loving cats go to live out eternity.

Thank you for loving us as well as you did.

(Thank you for reading.)

8 Comments:

Blogger Bob Slatten said...

Why you gotta make me cry?

That was truly beautiful, and as I told Anne Marie on her blog, you may have rescued Meredith, but she came into your home and rescued you both right back.

That's the greatest thing about rescued pets. we think we're helping them but we're the ones getting help.

January 17, 2014 at 11:20 PM  
Blogger David Jeffreys said...

What a wonderful obituary! I'm glad you posted it here on your blog.

I know you and Anne Marie will miss Meredith terribly, but how is Nyla handling her absence?

January 18, 2014 at 1:26 AM  
Anonymous Janey said...

I too am in tears! What a beautiful tribute! My condolences on your loss!

Enjoy Kitty Heaven, Meredith!

January 18, 2014 at 10:26 AM  
Blogger Raybeard said...

After hearing of your sad loss my heartstrings didn't need much more tugging in sympathy, but after reading your beautiful tribute they've now come as close as possible to actually snapping. I feel I connected with your dear Meredith over this immense distance, so heaven only knows how I'm going to manage when one of my own little ones go - the elder one is at least 15, so it can't be that far away. I know I'm going to be knocked flat.
But my thoughts go to you, Anne Marie and lovely little Nyla, who I'm sure can count on you to get all the attention and cuddles she needs at this difficult time.
Thank you for giving her a comfortable life.

January 18, 2014 at 2:09 PM  
Blogger Nadege said...

You are such a wonderful story teller! RIP Meredith!

January 18, 2014 at 4:24 PM  
Blogger todd gunther said...

Thank you all for your kind comments and condolences. Writing this very short version of Meredith's life helped me work through my initial grief. I see her passing as a sign that another cat (or two) are in need of a forever home. We'll be going to Kitty Cottage tomorrow.

Overall, Nyla is handling it pretty well. She looks around for her sister and we allowed her to sniff around the box Meredith is lying in on our porch. Other than spending more time hiding under the couch Nyla's behavior is status quo.

January 18, 2014 at 7:32 PM  
Blogger Sally C said...

I'm so sorry, Todd. As I said on AM's blog, you guys are such good kitty parents. Meredith was loved unconditionally by you two. She had a wonderful life because of you.

January 19, 2014 at 3:03 PM  
Blogger todd gunther said...

Thank you, Sally. I hope we did well by her.

January 19, 2014 at 5:23 PM  

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