It’s been over a month now since we said good-bye to our beloved Nelson Kitty. Two weeks later we said goodbye to his brother Roswell. The loss of these two Old Men – they would be 17 in April – is the end of a generation for Michael and I. In April of ’98 while in Orlando, I volunteered at the C.A.R.E Foundation, an animal sanctuary. We had a compound kitty, a mouser, who was scheduled to be spayed but became pregnant. When the babies were born we couldn’t find them, over two weeks went by and we thought they must be dead so we took her in to be fixed and then, of course, we found the babies. Four flea-infested, scraggily little kittens, one with a badly damaged eye. I offered to take them all home to bottle-feed them. Of course we kept them all! I’d take them to Valencia Community College, where I worked in the Biology/Chemistry lab and the staff would share in bottle-feeding them every two hours or so. I can remember it like yesterday!
I have wonderful memories of all four kittens making a nest in my hair at bedtime. We named them Yoda, Laslo (Real Genius), Roswell (New Mexico) and Nelson (Mandela). We had already decided to keep Yoda, who was going to want a one-eyed kitty? Then Michael fell in love with Roswell. In trying to name him one morning we woke up to this little kitten sitting on Michael’s chest, staring at him with these incredibly large eyes – I swear his body had to grow into these eyes – and that’s when we deemed him an alien and named him Roswell. He was the most tightly wound of the bunch, very proper, and so impeccably groomed you could eat off his bum. His voice was very distinguished, and quite raspy, not very kitty-like and his whiskers shivered when he spoke, which was often. Oh the things you wish to hear again when you don’t anymore. I use to sing Roxanne by Sting, insert Roswell, to him all the time, just a little something I want to remember.
Nelson(Mandela) was the last of the bunch we chose to keep and he ended up being the most special kitty of my life, a best friend. Everybody loved him instantly, he was that dynamic. Nelson was always there, he wanted to eat with you, sleep with you, remind you of mealtime and when to get out of bed. He was very heavy footed, boomp, boomp, boomp, he’d walk into the bedroom, stare at us with C3PO intensity, then boomp, boomp, boomp, to the kitchen and then back and forth until we got up to serve breakfast. I miss those sounds too. Most of all I miss his obnoxiousness when the humans were eating. Watch that plate or what’s in your hand, he was worse than any Florida seagull! And of course his snuggles, anywhere, anytime and especially at bedtime, right at my head and in between Michael and I in his later years, but when Gavin was little Nelson spent most of his time with him. We even had a door sign made “Nelson’s Cave” we hung on Gavin’s door, that’s how often he was in there. He was the most tolerant kitty with the kids, they could pick him up awkwardly, poke at him, lay on him and he would take it every time. God I miss this kitty!
Seems there is never enough time with these special fur-babies. Doesn’t matter if it’s sudden or you know it’s coming, prepared is not possible. In the last couple of years of Nelson and Roswell’s life they were on medication for their thyroid, and Nelson battled with diarrhea -he was susceptible to parasites all his life, truthfully we never thought we’d have him this long. The diarrhea got more frequent at the end and unable to pacify. It was quite a mess and a labor of love to care for these guys and as much a relief it is to be over, I miss it. I would do it again to have them around a bit longer. They are that special.
Just a little something to remember.
Peace and kitties!