July 31st, 2017, my beloved Star passed away.
Just shy of her 13th birthday. It was not a surprise, in that she had contracted the cryptococcus fungus, and it had made its way into her central nervous system. It was only a matter of time, and we loved her fiercely for that last year.
It started those thirteen years ago when my wife saw a posting at her work for two kittens to a good home. The usual sort of post and she broached the idea, knowing I had lost my last cat not too many years ago. She asked if we should get one, and I said 'why not both?' Thus Star and her brother Tyr came into our lives.
Here she is, in her very first photo: (yes, it's an actual polaroid that was scanned)
We brought them home in the next few days, and ever since then they have been a feature of our house.
Here she is with her brother, in a typical 'cat pile' on the couch:
She would also purr at the drop of a hat. Neither loud nor soft, she had this consistent motor that would activate as soon as you touched her or paid her any attention. She would happily be picked up (she had no problem being carried), climb halfway up my shoulder and purr away while I walked around the house with her. Star and Tyr bonded with me over the years, I was definitely their 'cat daddy.'
She was also my whisky drinking buddy. Star had a fascination with any sort of liquid, particularly held in cups. When you were in the bath she'd come and dip her paw in to see the water move. If you left a glass of something she'd play with it to the point of knocking it over. So, one day I was having a wee dram, and Star came over to see what I had in my glass. Well, she came over and jammed her face into my glass, and got a face-full of Laphroaig Quarter Cask single malt Scotch whisky. As you can imagine, what she really got was a face full of peat smoke!
She jumps off the couch and across the room, huffing and sneezing the whole way. I figured that was that, and she'd be gone to go have a nap somewhere where her nose wouldn't be full of delicious, molten campfire on your tongue.
I was wrong.
The next thing I know, she's back on the couch, crawling into my lap and this time bringing her head slowly towards my whisky glass, carefully sniffing it. From that day on, she was hooked. Every time I have a dram, she had to come over and check it out. She had preferences too, the smokier the better. Laphroaig, Jura, all the good peaty ones were her favourites, while many of the Speysides left her bored. Over time, she occasionally would lick my finger if I dipped it in, but for her the smell was enough. I figure with her sense of smell, it must have held so many different flavours.
When she started having seizures, I took her to the vet, and ultimately some bloodwork revealed the fungus infection. I did some reading and if it gets past the blood-brain barrier, it's only a matter of time.
We decided that that time would be nothing but love. And it was. No matter that she would have seizures, no matter that towards the end she couldn't control her bladder as well as normal, she always had a place on the couch, in front of the fire, or anywhere else. When she couldn't jump up on the beds, we would lift her there. She kept catpiling with her brother and enjoying the big windowsills in the house.
Eventually she decided that my daughter's room was the place to be, and that became her sanctuary away from the others. We moved some food and water in and kept her favourite blanket there for her. Sure, she had 'accidents' there but nothing that couldn't be washed out.
One day, she was on my daughter's bed, both of them napping. It was just another weekend day, a Sunday. I was folding some laundry and my oldest comes into the room saying there's something wrong with Star.
While napping, she had slipped away.
Knowing it was coming didn't help. I've been down this road before, and it's never easy. Nor do I want it to be. I want to feel it, to know that there's a hole in your heart and rage at the universe because it took away your little cat. But it is the way of things.
So instead, I leave this tribute. No one may ever read it, and it may languish in a small corner of the internet but let it be known that this one, small cat mattered. To me, to our family, and the world is dimmer now that she left it.
Shine on, little Star. I love you. Always.
All three of the 'original crew'
She had the best 'laser beam' eyes. A beautiful green.
Keeping an eye on things
Nap time in the library
Not a lot of photos of one without the other
Checking out Spot the gerbil
What a pretty girl!