While living in her first house, Mandy learned her first trick. When I was in the shower, she would stick her paw under the center of the folding door to the bathroom and pull on it to open the door. When I came out of the shower, she would greet me with a reproachful half-syllable: "Meh..."
Mandy anecdote: I received a Polaroid camera for Christmas one year, and I was sitting on a chair in the living room of my parents' house (with Mandy, as usual, on my lap) preparing to take a picture of my brother, who was posing on the couch across the room. Unbeknownst to me, while the flash was charging, Mandy was stretching up ("like E.T.", my brother says) to see what was causing the high-pitched noise, and when the flash went off, I got a picture of Mandy instead of my intended subject. It struck us at the time that the picture looked kind of like E.T.; Mandy's dark ears blended into the background, and the resulting oval face was like the face of the character in the movie. I found out later that the the face of E.T. was indeed based on that of a cat.
Mandy had a problem with stones in her bladder, and she had to have surgery twice to remove them. It was very hard to leave her at the vet clinic for several days at a time, and I remember that it was especially hard to get enthused about eating while she was away.
In early adulthood, Mandy used to be fairly chunky. I used to call her "Chubbles", and it was amusing to watch her run on those rare occasions when I let her outside. Her legs would go one way, and her tummy would go the other way. She liked going outside, and she would always eat grass contentedly for a while before deciding to make a mad dash around the house. I also called her "Blam-a-Dandra", "Pukefest" (for her habit of eating too fast and throwing up), and other dumb stuff. I used to sing an alphabet song to her when I was getting ready for work in the morning.
This picture always makes me smile: is it a chubble-cat upside down on the floor?
Or is it a chubble-cat glued to the ceiling?
I lived alone for most of Mandy's life, and when I felt very lonely, I was especially glad to have a kitty who loved me and needed me.
At one of my multiple low-rent hangouts in Columbia, I had the luxury of getting a new carpet in the living room. I wasn't there to take the call, but when the landlord asked for my color preference, my roommates said, "Siamese cat color!" This picture shows how well Mandy blended into the rug.
Mandy couldn't be enticed to eat much on New Year's Day, and I cried because she was so thin and because I thought I was losing her. She only licked the 9-lives a couple of times in the morning then sat on the heating vent while the other cats finished their breakfast. She ate a couple of pieces of chicken-and-cheese Pounce in the afternoon, and she sat up and licked the broth when I cooked some chicken for her, but she didn't eat the chicken. We took her back to the vet the next day, and he thought she was going to be okay after she got some antibiotics, but he asked her to stay overnight, and she died in her sleep at the vet's that night. I prefer to think that she chose her time to die in such a way that it was the easiest for us. We consulted with the vet on Wednesday morning (after crying for several hours -- all the time I lay on the bed, I had all three cats on me), and we decided to have Mandy cremated. Andy and I went to Flat Branch for lunch that day (work was NOT an option), and I ate a tuna sandwich while sitting in front of a big, sunny window. I even symbolically saved a little piece of tuna for her; she loved tuna. She also loved sunny windows, cheese, sitting in my lap, riding on my shoulders, and sleeping on me at night.
Good-bye, Mandy. You were pretty much a one-person cat, and I am honored to have been chosen by you. I loved you very, very much. I know I'm a better person for having known you, and I will miss you always.
Tribute to Mandy from Mary Helen and her family
Note from Mandy's vet
Container Andy bought for Mandy's ashes
Andy's post to the Rainbow Bridge group about Mandy
Link to Pet Loss -- a place where people understand how much you can love a kitty.
Some songs about cats
Back to the pets page
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