Girlie’s Obit

She was a great cat

In the Summer of 1986, now-ex husband and I desperately needed a distraction from each other (and having a child was out of the question, neither one of us was ready). We both loved cats, and his sister worked at the local Animal Rescue League … so one extremely boring Sunday afternoon we went to visit her at work. Walking through the adoption area, cages and cages of wonderful animals waited for homes … and we couldn’t resist playing with them. One cat in particular stood out. She talked … a LOT. Looked right straight at you and meowed. You’d say something, she’d answer. No surprise, she came home with us. We had no idea how old she was, she was full-grown then, but we gave her a birthday of May 1st.

Ex-husband named her Cotsheene (Gaelic for “endeared kitten” he said), and she spent her first three weeks with us angry and hiding. I suspect she was nearly feral, and had spent the first few months of her life on urban streets. Maybe Chinatown or the North End … she always did go crazy for Chinese and Italian food. A lap cat, she was not. No soft purrs or face-rubs from this fierce feline, she was all about having the upper hand. We clearly knew where we stood at all times. But she’d sit next to you while you were getting ready to go out, greet you at the door, meow her good mornings when she woke, and stand in your way when you were trying to get anywhere. A presence, if not an overly affectionate one.

We lived in the country then, and Cotsheene, who I called “Girlie,” enjoyed the outdoor life. She’d play in the grass, mouse, climb trees, and occasionally carry home a trophy of her hunting endeavors. Sometime around 1988 Guinness found us … and Girlie had a ball with him. He was a sweet dumb loving hungry affectionate male … Girlie would lick his forehead to lull him into a false sense of security then baff him off the head with her paw a second later. That’s the way it went with them until Guinness went to rainbow bridge in 2001.

Eventually we moved to a large farm … I expected Girlie to continue her outside pursuits, but she had other ideas. She met the draft horse … the chickens … the barn cats … the goats … and, horror of horrors, some DOGS … and decided that indoors was more to her liking these days. She did not go out willingly again.

When ex-husband and I divorced in 1992, I got “custody” of Girlie, and we moved to an apartment in the city. She’d calmed down quite a bit by then … she’d look at me and meow her hello’s and I-want’s, or occasionally sit on my lap or paw at my knee while I cried through the divorce and the subsequent crappy rebound relationship, and then eventually carried on. Ten years ago, she completely captured my now-ex boyfriend’s heart. Never have I seen a man so completely wrapped around her little dew-claw. She had treats whenever she asked (she “talked” to the ex, too), a wide variety of her favorite foods … she hasn’t gone through a single meal without being offered — or outright stealing — something from our plates. Or glasses … ex used to love to let Girlie help him drink his milk from the same glass, and she always finished his bowl of cereal milk. She’d walk all over him, and he’d wince from surprise (well, also because for some reason she used her claw tips on him), but let her. Every night he moved my top pillow down so Girlie could sleep on the bottom pillow, at my head. I like to think we understood what she was saying.

And she had her quirks, too. She was territorial, what was ours was hers and she guarded it … one time she saved my convertible from ruin when I’d left the top down overnight and it started to rain … she yelled and licked my nose until I woke up; twice she did the same when a thief was trying to steal the vanity plate; she also enjoyed playing “NASA Test-Kitty” … she’d look at us and meow until we consented to spin the office chair … she’d jump up on it, dig her claws in and enjoy her spin … I swear she smiled. When the chair stopped, her head wouldn’t.  Sounds like a cruel form of cat torture, but she really loved this.

She’d been ill, but comfortable. In October 2005 her kidneys had failed … she’d been doing well on a modified diet. But over the last week or so she’d been letting us know … it was time. She’d been boldly meowing her goodbyes during her every waking hour. With head up, eyes clear, tail high, and now-thin body spending more and more time purring on my lap, Girlie knew it was time to rest … and she gave me the silent meow … the most pathetic and heartbreaking of her large vocabulary. Like everything else about her, we just had to accept that that’s how it was going to be.

So if you can, please help me celebrate the life of Girlie-Girl … an awesome gift … who was the best for what she was … a great cat. … who’s left me with a million great memories …

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