Sandy the Wonder Cat
--------Sometime 1991 - Oct 11, 2006

She was Sandy—the name I gave her after adopting her from a Boston animal shelter in 1992 when she was a year or so old. I sometimes called her 'Sandy the Wonder Cat' because her default look—one of pre-emptive distress/concern—suggested that she was wondering what you were about to do to her. Yes, she was cautiously pessimistic—and completely endearing. And since she was adopted, I could never determine whether that was simply her nature or whether some aspect of her initial environment had imparted this skeptical mind-set. No matter, she was my baby.

If I was at times frustrated by her caution
sometimes if I slid over in bed too fast she would bolt and I would think 'you idiot, I was simply adjusting my position'—I was also charmed by her apparent fragility; she had that power which shy people have that makes you want to extend yourself and try to draw them out. And I was glad she wasn't one of those boundary-free cats given to sitting on your head at night or waking you up too early. We had a solid co-independent relationship.

My bed was an important interaction site. Except in really hot weather and during her last few months she would inevitably find her way onto it; most mornings she would either be sleeping somewhere on the bed or appear at some point to gently let me know she was present (if not open to the idea of eating once I arose).

Not that her presence on the bed meant that she would come over and interact; often a mini coaxing/ignoring drama was a required prelude. But once she decided to come close she would usually climb onto my chest and then lick the backs of my ears while purring loudly.

I travel quite a bit. During my decade in Brooklyn my roomate Tom (along with his cat Moose) would look after her whenever I was away. It was easy; they were part of the household. In Maryland, travel care fell to my neighbor Jim—an outsider—and mainly involved placing food in her bowl a couple times a day. (It was a long time before he actually saw her, and then only fleetingly; he once joked "I know there's a cat in there because I see the food has been eaten.") But whenever I returned from a trip of any duration Sandy, after a brief initial display of aloofness, was usually all over me for a day or two.

Lacking any natural enemies, she of course needed to conjure one: stray socks. If I was at my computer in the middle of the day and suddenly heard major yelping meows, it was undoubtedly Sandy with a sock in her mouth carrying on like she had lost the lottery by one digit.

Sandy's last year was marked by trouble keeping food down. Some if it was dental (she'd had a number of teeth out over the years), but mostly it was some kind of stomach cancer that both binded and bloated her intestines (which coincided with some intestinal travails of my own at the time; we were both on the same steroid for a while).
Towards the end she simply couldn't eat much and started wasting away.


After sharing with my friend Ethan that I was thinking the time had perhaps come to relieve Sandy of her pain he urged me to consider doing it sooner rather than later—he'd waited too long to do the same for his dog and felt terrible about it. This helped confirm what
I knew in my heart—that this was indeed the right time to say good-bye to my diminutive companion of thirteeen years.

A few days after I called to inquire about it, a vet from the clinic I used for her care was free to come around noon and euthanize her. That morning, after placing her on the high stool in the kitchen and squirting her meds into her mouth (our routine for the last month), I offered my head in nuzzlement and she licked my ear before jumping down—welcomed confirmation that she was at heart still herself.

She was put to rest in my lap on the living room couch. She was peaceful; I wasn't. But no regrets.

Farewell my little one.

Orrin
October 15, 2006



----February 2005
remarkable composed
August 2006
----the look
December 2003
----October 2006
2 days before leaving
February 2005