Saturday, May 24, 2014

Rest in Peace, Tammy

It is with a heavy heart that I sit down to write the second blog post in a row about losing a cat. We adopted Tammy and Fluffy in 2011 when they were both 15 years old. Their owner had died and they were on the verge of being put to sleep unless they found a home quickly. We were mourning the death of our cat Brownie, and decided that we wanted to give these two girls a home for their senior years.

Tammy was the more outgoing of the two from the start. She was a short-haired tortie with a very friendly personality. She would greet us at the door when we came home from work each day. She loved visitors, though on two occasions she took advantage of them when we weren't home and snuck out of the house. Luckily she didn't go too far (since the weather was cold and we have coyotes and foxes in the yard), and they were able to retrieve her.

When we first got her, we thought that something was wrong with her left eye. It seemed dry and possibly damaged. We took her to the vet and they checked her out, and it turned out to be fine. We learned later that she had a strange habit of sleeping with her eyes open, and that probably explained it.

Tammy had a thyroid condition and was a ravenous eater. We had to keep her food separate from Fluffy's, since Tammy's had her thyroid pill ground up in it. When she finished her own food, she always tried to eat Fluffy's too. She didn't like sticking her face into a bowl of dry food, so she would use her paw to take food out of the bowl,  and eat it off the floor, one piece at a time. When the house was quiet, you could recognize the tinkling of the kibble onto the laminate floor and know that Tammy must be eating.

She was intrigued by bags of any kind. If I brought home shopping bags, I would need to put the merchandise away immediately, or Tammy would jump into the bag and pull everything out. When we packed for trips she tried to stow away in our luggage. If we opened the refrigerator or freezer, she would always try to step in. She seemed to enjoy the cold and she would always sniff around.

She often slept curled up next to Craig and snuggled up against his back. She was never aware of just how sharp her claws were. She would stare vacantly off while kneading her claws on our laps, having no realization tat she was piercing our skin.

She loved the miniature village that we set up each Christmas. Craig would have to build it around her because she liked to sleep in the midst of it, towering over it like Godzilla. She was a playful cat, and she enjoyed wedging herself into tight spaces. We would find her nestled into the track of the sliding glass door, or pressed between our Lego Taj Mahal and the glass of the bay window.

As time went on, her health degraded. Over the last few months we suspected that she was nearly, if not totally, deaf. She stopped greeting us at the door, we assumed because she could no longer hear our car in the driveway. Since she couldn't hear us calling her, we had to look for her. We found her in some strange places, including  underneath the pillows on the bed in the spare bedroom, and in the bathtub or bathroom sink. Her eating became erratic, and her habits changed.

We just returned from a week in Ecuador on Tuesday night. Craig's brother Steve had been taking care of Tammy and keeping her company while we were gone.She stopped eating on the Friday when we were gone, and Steve was worried that she might not make it until we got home. But our girl waited for us before leaving this world. When we got home Tuesday night we spent some quality time with her, and then again Wednesday morning before work.

When we arrived home from work on Wednesday May 21, we found that she had crawled into her cat carrier, laid down, and passed away peacefully.

We insisted on keeping the girls together when we first adopted them. However, we were never sure just how much they liked one another. They stayed very separate and didn't interact with each other very often. But since Tammy passed away less than four months after Fluffy did, maybe they were closer than we realized. For better or worse, they are together once more.

Rest in peace, Tammy. You were a good cat and we love you. Our 2 1/2 years together were too short. The house seems empty without you.