Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Ariel the Ancient




Everyone who knows me knows that it's a Cat's World here at the Cottage. It all began over 2o years ago with Bela (Lugosi) my older son's cat that adopted us when we lived on Main Street in Chesterfield. Just after we moved out to the country, Bela being the sole cat in the family, Ariel came to live with us. Mac, having retired from the Navy and now bored with having time he never expected to weigh so heavy on his hands, took a job with the County Chain Gang overseeing the Prison Camp inmates that did not go out on the road. There was a mother cat there who had had her litter of kittens in an old abandoned car on the edge of the property. At about six weeks of age they started coming onto the back porch at the Camp Kitchen to get leftovers the inmate cooks would leave them. One day Mac found that four of the five kittens had been run over on the little dirt road and killed. There was one left, and he managed to capture her and kept her inside his coat for last hour of work. I had already gotten home from my own job with the Sheriff's Department when he came in. He walked into the dining room where I sat having coffee and opened his coat to reveal two huge green eyes attached to a ball of fur. I sort of groaned my disapproval, all the while reaching for the tiny furball. This was in the end weeks of 1999. I took her to our Vet and had her spayed, got all her shots and Bela took over the training of Ariel. I was afraid he was going to kill her, but he was very protective of her. We had just lost our Digby, the Old English Sheepdog, the month before and Bela had gone slightly crazy with grief. I say slightly, but that's being kind. Bela went totally round the bend, once hitting Mac with a balled up paw so hard it knocked his glasses off and left a red spot on the side of his face. Credit to Mac for not punching him back...but Bela took to the tiny Ariel like he was her father. The little black kitten grew, but not very much. She was and is tiny and slender, the only cat I've ever seen with such a pronounced profile, and rules this place with an iron paw. She will be 19 years old in September if our math is right. She sits with me at the computer when I blog, so picture me typing and looking over her Majesty as I try to make sure there are no typos. My girl is slowing down these days. She doesn't do much but eat and sleep . I know that she may be nearing the end and when it happens there will be no consoling Mac. She is such a central part of the family that it will take us a while to recover. I'm trying to prepare myself for the inevitable, but I know that when she goes she will be joining Digby ,Duffy and Ripley...Bela, I'm not so sure...God may have him in Purgatory for a bit, doing penance for smacking his master.

37 comments:

Mima said...

Oh Sandi, there is nothing quite like an old friend, and I really hope that you have much more wonderful time together yet. Give her a stroke for me, how amazing that she was so close to the beginning of what has become a clan of cats! I hope that she continues to reign her kingdom for years yet!

Mima said...

Forgot to add my love & hugs, so here they are separately!
Mima

Pam said...

Oh sweet Ariel! She looks a bit like my Jazzy-girl. I just adore black cats.
And oh, I know exactly what you mean by practically having to look around their little bodies to see what you are typing. All mine think I can't do anything on my own. lol! I wouldn't have it any other way though. ;)

Mary Isabella said...

Sandi,

I felt the same way about all of my cats. They were my babies. When we lost to last one to the bad pet food that was going around I said no more and then we got a dog. LOL What can you do but love them....Mary

Jeni said...

Having just lost our sweet baby Gracie a little over two months ago -we'd had her for over 16 years -I can relate totally to the feelings you have about this beautiful cat and the worries too about the future -with or without her there. Such a great story too about how she came to live with you and Bela taking charge of her early on as well. Here's hoping you manage to eke out another 6-7 years -at least -with her watching you type! Who knows, slowing down may not be a sign of a near end so she could, with the love and care you and Mac provide, stick around even longer. Let's hope so!

Lynn@ The Vintage Nest said...

Aww gee whiz Sandi....you've got me all choked up here. Our little Mouse is 17 yrs. old and likes your, a tiny little cat who can be meaner than a snake. She is still running around on the deck railings and trying to catch lizards. As always...a great post.

Sandy Kessler said...

Well said why not bring them to Camera Critters on Sunday the icon on the right of my website- a fun group sk ibeati

GoneBackSouth said...

I love cats too. The others in my house want a dog - I want a cat. We had a grey one when we were growing up (who lived to around 20 years we think) - she adopted us too.

david mcmahon said...

Say G'day to her from us ....

Jamie Dawn said...

What a sad day that will be, but let's not dwell on that now. Enjoy Ariel to the max while you can.
Mac has a tender heart, and I'm so glad he brought Ariel into your family.

Enjoy a nice July 4th weekend!
Eat well & often.
God bless America!!!!

The Texican said...

Hi Sandi. I've seen your icon as I bounced around the blogosphere. Thanks for coming over to Pappy's today. Tell David, "The check's in the mail." Come by anytime. I always keep the latch string out and the dogs tied up. You never know what's going to be on the menu. Pappy

Brenda said...

We have not heard if he made it to his first destination yet.He said it maybe awhile before he can call. Thanks for the prayers.

Sandra Evertson said...

I Love it! Life you not be worth living with out our wonderful creature friends!
Sandra Evertson

Lavinia Ladyslipper said...

Your love for your cats shines through in this post....I myself have a dog that I love to bits...can't imagine life without him....

Bela looks like a very wise and pensive cat....

Jeanne said...

I grew up with dogs and when I married Matt we lived with his mom for about a year. She brought home a kitty one night and he and I bonded. Percy showed me kitty love and that was it, cats for us ever since. Each and every very special and unique but all loves. Thanks for sharing.

SandyCarlson said...

What a beautiful story. That cat chose the right home. And she is a beautiful 19. God bless, Sandi.

(I'm ready for the cattle raid!)

MamaGeek said...

I am partial to anything feline so I loved this.

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Hmmmm, a titch concerned about the math...1999? 1989? 9 years? 19 years? :D

I love this story. You have got to be the biggest animal lover I know! (We once had a wee black cat who lived to a ripe old age, too.) And Mac is right behind you for not knocking Bela into the middle of next week.

Adla said...

19 years is a long time and I hope there will be many more great years ahead but if the inevitable does happen, I do hope too that it will be easy on you and mac.

Sending meowing love, Adla

Lib said...

What a beautiful garden you have:o)
What a wonderful friend you have! I hope ya'll have lots more time together. Its so hard to give up our furry kids!
We Lost our beloved Cocker last fall after having him for 20 yrs.
Hope you're having a good wk.
Blessins',Lib

Abraham Lincoln said...

Ariel might be ancient but he is also bery bery wise and is in the air conditioned house on the master's bed. What a life. LOL

Abraham Lincoln
—Brookville Daily Photo
—Better Blog Writing
—My Birds Blog

Abraham Lincoln said...

Sorry, I see he is a she.

Nessa said...

"having retired from the Navy and now bored with having time he never expected to weigh so heavy on his hands," - great line.

Our cats all got very old. It is hard to let them go.

Lee said...

Aw, Sandi, I remember when My beloved pets have passed onto less pained bodies and more peaceful sleep. Hugs! I know she'll be missed.

Have you ever read The Book of Night With Moon? If not I think you'd love it.

Love ya,
Lee

CatHerder said...

I hear you. We lost Angel, our norweigan forest cat after 22 years, then Casey our petite little dsh at 20 years, then our Sushi, the 12 year old purebred lilac point siamese (we rescued him) from heart failure all in the span of 3 months....the last 5 or 6 years i hardly ever even saw angel awake!

Donna said...

My Kiki was 17 when she crossed over...black and rail thin...But she was Queen! I miss her Awful....hughugs

Daryl said...

Oh Sandi .. I love this post, I was alternatively fa-klempt and grinning .. arent black cats the best? Saying this is the 'mother' of an all black male and all white (but with a gray Juliet cap marking) female.

:-Daryl

Christine of Epiphany said...

A house doesn't seem like a home to me without a cat or two (or 3) roaming around....they make things much cozier-looking.
I've just about always had at least one cat, since I was 5. I hope to avoid the whole Crazy Old Cat Lady thing, but still, a couple of cats will probably always be around me....!

Akelamalu said...

What a lovely post Sandi. It gets scary when your pet is getting old though doesn't it?

Penny @ Lavender Hill Studio said...

Your story makes me want to go out and get a kitten - and I am allergic to cats! Ariel sounds like a wonderful addition to the family...
Hugs,
Penny

Merisi said...

May your days be filled with the joy of Ariel's presence for many days to come! :-)

smilnsigh said...

Precious story. Kitties, they do get under our skin, and into our hearts...

Mari-Nanci
Smilnsigh blog

Veggie Mom said...

Recipe Alert! Aunt Julie bakes a Strawberry Rhubarb pie at http://poprs.blogspot.com/2008/07/tasty-therapy.html. Check it out!

justabeachkat said...

Oh, Sandy...I know so well how you're feeling. Our precious Mr. Randy was our constant companion until we lost him a few years ago. Enjoy every precious day with Ariel...I know you do.

Big hugs to you sweet friend!
Kat

Love Bears All Things said...

I like the story of Ariel. When we lived on the farm, there was a dirt road beside our property and through some woods.(Jackie always called it the Duke Road after the one Bo & Luke drove on). It was a favorite dumping ground for unwanted dogs and cats. Naturally they made their way through the woods to our house. We had a total of 13 cats at one time. They ate mostly table scraps and the mice they could catch at the barn. There was no way we could vacinate the number of animals that took up there. We did have to shoot a couple who had questionable behavior and called a neighbor who worked for the animal control board to pick up some of them. We did the best we could to care for them at the time.
Mama Bear

janie said...

My, we do have things in common, Sandi.

We too have an old, old kitty. Ours is named 'Fluffy'- NOT my doing- and she is 19 years old too. She is the tiniest adult cat I have ever seen. But fierce, a fantastic hunter.

Also a young neutered tom kitteh, but Fluffy believes she is the star of the show. She is in good health, still hunts, and rats, mice and birds are in definite danger if she is hiding in wait for them.

Like your old cat, she believes that I was made just for her. She stays wherever I am, which I always thought was strange, but the tom kitteh does that too. If I am pulling weeds, they are guarding me from snakes and whatever. Fluffy will take advantage to sleep on the coffee pot, if she thinks she can get away with it. Many a cold morning I have come to the kitchen to find her sleeping so sound on top of the Bunn, all warm and toasty.

I always love to see old animals, because that usually means they have had a good life. We lost a boxer that my husband had raised from a pup who got to be 16 years old. We lost my best friend for 13 years, PJ, a retired old show dog. PJ was a doberman, fantastic with children, the most gentle dog ever, unless she was defending me.

We now have 2 Blue Heelers that are 14 years old, and getting kind of slow, and a young boxer girl. She is a rescued dog, and she loves me, Loves ME! And I love her too.

What would we do without our animals?

Great post!

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