Friday, April 20, 2012

Ode to Trudy

I have had many cats in my life. Some have come to me on their own accord, strays, I guess that happened upon us. There was Manny, a sturdy male cat with a pleasant demeanor. And Greycat, who, of course was gray - he actually would come in the house and play with then puppy Pearl, our now 120 pound black lab. And there was Tripp, whom I assume was dumped on our road as a kitten and was lucky enough to find a good home here - named for the trip he made in his young life. And how could I forget Miss Kitty, whom I thought showed up to have kittens under our porch but it ended up her pooch was just that. She even moved with us to our new home.

Other cats were rescues or given to us. There was Buddy, a yellow cat who came home with my husband from work. And Cricket and Bopper, twins that were found and given to us - there was a theme with the names then as our yellow lab was named Holly (Buddy Holly and the Crickets, The Big Bopper).  And there's our old cat, 19 almost now, Bebe Neuwirth whom we found abandoned on a porch. She is aptly named after the actress who played Lilith on "Cheers" as she is black and white and is an uptight bitch (like Lilith, not Bebe the actress)!

But none of them have compared to Trudy. Trudy was a tiger striped cat named after Truman Tiger, our university mascot. We got her at an animal rescue place and is the only cat we have ever paid money. She wasn't a kitten so no one wanted to adopt her but we did. She was more than just a cat, she was a "dog" cat. She flicked her tail when she was happy. She would follow me up and down the stairs. She slept with us and with the other real dogs. She would let Pearl lick her on the head. She was not weirdly independent like most cats - she liked being around people and other animals and was pleasant. She talked to me all the time and let me know when she wanted something. She was happy to see us when we got home. By all accounts, she was a dog in kitty disguise.  Even my husband liked her and he doesn't like cats. She was a fun, faithful companion.

The only thing that was not dog like about her was her ability to leave our fenced yard. Most of the time when she squeezed through the gate, she would just play in the woods next to the drive way or go out back by the shed. And most of the time, she actually would stay in the yard. But sadly, on Wednesday night, April 18 when I went to call her in for the night, she did not come running. When I went to look for her, I found her in the road - apparently, she had decided to cross and was struck by a vehicle. It broke my heart.

Every time an animal dies, a piece of me goes with them. I lament about what I should have done differently. If only I had not let Trudy out the hour before, she would still be here. If we had made her strictly an indoor cat, she would be alive. I carry a lot of guilt with me for some time. But here is what I know - when they are with us, they have the best life we can give. We care for them like children. And love them, too. They are a part of our family.

Yesterday, I buried Trudy in the bird "area" of our yard. She spent many hours there under the bushes watching, waiting. She will be happy there - just look how many cardinals were in the bush this winter.  I am sure the birds and the rodents are glad she isn't pestering them anymore but I will miss her dearly. Goodbye Trudy Bear - you were the coolest dog cat ever!

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