|Natasha was the best cat in the world. I mean, just look at her...she was so sweet and adorable, with the most beautiful fur, just a big powder puff. Everyone commented on how gorgeous she was. She was a shy kitty, a bit skittish around others, she really was a one-person cat. The one person she loved was me. And I am so honored to have been chosen by her. In October, 1983, I saw her at the Northeast Animal Shelter in Salem, MA. I wanted to get another kitty as a friend for my kitty Bridget. Bridget was another brown tabby, only with long fur. I thought I wanted to get an all black kitty, but Natasha would soon change that thought. There she was in the cage with her identical twin brother (to this day I wish I had adopted both). The little brother seemed really shy and sort of backed into the corner when I came close to the cage. Natasha came right up to my face at the cage and stuck out a tiny paw and touched my face and let out a little mew, almost a squeek. I said immediately to my friend, "this is the one I want!" Her tag said her name was Rachel, which was a pretty name, but I re-named her Natasha, my favorite name.|
The first night she slept in the crook of my neck, and did so for the next 15 years of her life. Tashy grew big (13.5 lbs.), though, so it was not unusual for me to wake up in the middle of the night with her nearly breaking my neck,or sometimes taking up the entire pillow and sitting on my head. I never once cared and would always move around to accomodate HER. She really was the princess of the house. Her companion Bridget lived with her for about the first year of her life and then I lost Bridget to severe intestinal disease. I tried to get other companions for Natasha, but she would have none of it. She lived with me, as my only pet, for the last 14 years.
Natasha knew a few tricks; she was a "retriever" of foil balls and those little puffs from the back of tennis socks. She also would do what I called the "bunny hop" when she wanted to show off. I would put my hand out, about 8 inches above her head. She'd approach it and hop up and mash the top of her head against my open palm. She knew the word "brush" and loved to be brushed every day. I could whisper "Tasha...brush" from two rooms away, and she would wake up out of a dead sleep and come dashing to me. She was very vocal - she purred constantly and chattered to the birds outside the window, which I loved so much. She always had something to say to me. She loved to be sung to - her favorite song "Prettiest Girl" because she KNEW she was. She was strictly an indoor kitty, never liked outside at all. This was fine with me, I always knew she was not going to try to escape the house or apartment and that was comforting. I think she had enough of "out" when she traveled cross-country with me in 1995, from Boston to our new home in San Francisco. She had her own seat on the plane. Well, not really, she had to stay in a carrier, but since the seat next to me was empty, and all the flight attendants had cats themselves, she got to have her own seat. She spent a lot of time in the last few years on her own special chair, an antique wicker chair outfitted with down pillows for her comfort. The indentation of where she last laid is still on that chair's pillow. I can't bear to fluff the pillow up. As I'm writing this, I see a ghost of her sauntering across the room, from the corner of my eye. They say this is common after the death of a beloved pet, but still my heart nearly stops for a second.
Tasha's last moments were attended by myself and her beloved vet, Dr. Gonzalez at the San Francisco SPCA Hospital. The caring people there made those awful moments a little more bearable. Dr. Gonzalez let me spend moments alone with Tasha before, and after the euthanasia, and I held her during the procedure. Tasha was cremated at Pets Rest Cemetery in Colma, CA, and I have her ashes in a little box now.
I know it will take quite a while before normal is waking up without her patting my face with a velvet paw or licking an eyelid. I miss her underfoot, I miss her cuddling with me while we read stretched out on my bed. I miss the daily brushing ritual she loved so much. I miss seeing her the minute I open the door. Natasha, also known as, Sweetie, Sweetness, BunnyCat, Bubba, Lovecat, Velvet, PuffGrrrl, Lovey, Satin Doll, Pretty Girl, Mommy's Girl, Silk Paws, Angel - my fur alarm clock, my confidante, my baby.
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