Fluffycat shared my home and my heart for nineteen and a half years. She came home with me as a little bitty kitten, about five inches long, from the tip of her brick colored nose to the end of her already luxuriant tail. Her disposition and the trust she placed in me were apparent that first day, when to banish the fleas that had set up housekeeping in her fur, I bathed her. I filled the kitchen sink with warm water, flipped her upside down in the palm of my hand, and lowered my hand into the bath. She promptly fell asleep, her head supported by my thumb and forefinger, her little white feet softly folded upon her white tummy.
Her love of water stayed with her for her entire life – I had to strictly ban her from the tub and shower (at least when I was bathing!) – or else she’d get soaked, leap out, and happily tear around the house, her long coat soggy and dripping, stopping only to shake herself, then tear around some more. She finally settled upon “helping” to dry my ankles and feet with her tongue. An odd sensation, indeed.
Nothing frightened her – not loud noises, not strange people or animals, not novel situations. She’d march up, chirp, and take charge.
Although her adoption papers said DLH (domestic longhair), it soon became obvious that she was a Maine Coon Cat through and through. From the tufted toes to the lynx tipped ears, from the pronounced ruff to the thick, long, flat coat and the impossibly bushy tail, her appearance trumpeted her heritage. She chirped, she helped, she ‘slept rough’, she played and played and played all through adulthood and even into extreme old age.
She seemed to think that if she was prevented from “helping”, there had been an oversight, and it was her duty to correct it. I was painting a living room wall in my new timber frame home, so I confined Fluffy and my two other kitties to my bedroom upstairs, which opens, loft-like, onto the living room below. I climbed the ladder and began to paint, when I heard “whump” behind me. I turned (almost crashing) to see Fluffycat on the living room floor. She straightened up from her crouched landing position, shook herself, and in a most self-satisfied way said, “Mrrrrp!”. She had taken a twelve foot drop onto a hardwood floor, and was ready to be of assistance. She was thirteen at the time.
At the very last, she developed an aggressive oral cancer. I was able to keep her comfortable for awhile with some heavy-duty medication, but the time had clearly come to let my wonderful Fluffycat go. Ever the Maine Coon, she marched up to Dr. Coates, chirped, and took charge.
Later, as her brave, cheerful heart slowed and finally stopped, she lay with her head cradled in my hand, her tufted toes folded softly against her white tummy. We had finished as we began all those years ago, with trust and love. Amen, Fluffycat, and again, Amen.