We said our final goodbyes to Pippin this fall. She’d been a great cat and a great companion for just about 21-and-a-half years. She’d seen the arrival of two other cats, a dog, a couple of hamsters, some fish, a wife and three kids, and outlived most of them.
She was as much a large-as-life personality as every other female in my life, and I mean that in a very good way to all of them–I’m nothing if not to be put in my place by the women I love.
And I’m very glad to have had her for so long, and glad that she could just quietly slip away.
In October, we got new cats, and for those who’ve had pets, you know it’s never so much as replacing them as getting a different model.
But we went with two. The brother-sister team of Etta and Gus.
So let me give some background…Some time ago, the discussion of someday getting new cats was raised. But with the elderly Pippin hanging around, that wasn’t really a viable option: she was happy being the sole feline in the household, and wouldn’t have taken well to fresh blood. But the family discussed the thought, knew it would be something we’d all want, since cats have always been around as long as the kids have been alive and as long as Jenni and I have been together. Eventually, I’d decided that I’d like a pair of cats, and preferably a brother-sister combo so that they could be close friends for life. And then, in an extended moment of brilliant collaboration, we all came up with their full names: Dr. Henrietta (or Heinrich, if male) von Flufflebutt, with the other named And Guest (yes, include the And, otherwise the joke doesn’t work).
When we found them in our first trip to the Humane Society–heck, within 15 minutes of arriving, Etta had me wrapped around her finger–it became clear that we’d be coming home soon with a pair of cute little tuxedoed kittens.
Here’s the problem: you forget after 21 years just what having a kitten means. Pippin took care of Felix when we got him back in ’96, so we really had very little training to do. This is so much harder…They’re both such kittens, and they love getting into everything they shouldn’t.
This year, we’re thankful that we didn’t buy a new artificial tree, because Etta and Gus have been climbing and sitting in the tree, bending branches down almost all the way to the top. Hopefully next year will be better.
More to come tomorrow.