Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Most of my adult life I have been the companion of at least one dog and some of my adult life the caretaker of a cat.  In general I have found cats to be a bit more independent and aloof than I want in a companion pet. I don't like fawning dogs either but something in between.
That was all true until I picked up a tiny skinny half feral brown tiger kitten from Winderwood Farm three years ago.   He was not litter trained and had lived outside for his first 12 weeks among the other barn/yard cats there.  However he was definitely friendly so home we went.

It was an interesting 3 days trying to get him to use a litter box and also trying to tame him before we let him go out on his own. Eventually when he went by I just picked him up for a few seconds, then put him down.  Those seconds turned into a minute, then several minutes, etc. He was so full of life and joy and fun that I named him Sparkles 'cause I could see the light sparking off him.

Basel was not as enamored of this kitten as I was.  Generally because Basel really did not appreciate having his tail attacked every time it was wagged or being jumped on as he walked by.  But Sparkles persisted and started licking Basel's ears and head too.   While waiting for breakfast or dinner to be set down, Sparkles would roll himself up in Basel's place mat, then when Baz' dish was set down, lick Baz and then scamper over to his own dish.

SmokeyBlue liked him and helped with his training too.  I wrote about that here.

Sparkles played with anything and everything, yet not destructively.  He was the perfect fiber/ knitting cat.  I could give him his own fiber and he would then leave the majority of my basket stash alone.  
For such a playful feline he also left hanging strings on knitting alone as well.

We came to adore this kitten.  He came to love being held and often slept between my feet.
In the last few weeks, his newest trick was to sit on the top of Jim's chair, then when Jim moved forward for  second or two,  would slide behind him.  He would keep doing this, purring all the while, until he was way down behind Jim's back.

We do not like to cage our animals.  I know the risks involved very well.  But we feel quality of life is way better than longevity.  Sparkles used Basel's doggie door to get in and out with ease. He grew into a long sleek slinky hunter.  He reduced the burgeoning chipmunk and mouse population to manageable levels.  We probably saved, on average, at least 3 birds a week too.  I didn't like his catching them very much but he was fairly agreeable to giving them up and I always reminded myself that he was just being himself.

He was always himself.  Fun, loving, joyful feline Sparkles.  And a perfect hat tester.
He made me laugh at least once a day with his antics.  He taught me a lot about letting go and just seeing the best in things, having a good time, yet also loving my people and dog and buns.

Last Monday Sparkles ate dinner with Baz but did not sleep with us.  In the morning we called him but he did not show. It was a hot day so we thought he might be sleeping somewhere cool after a night of prowling.  He did not show for dinner nor at bedtime. The next morning we called neighbors and the SPCA.  One of our neighbors had seen him playing with a feral cat a week before so we thought he might be off on a romp (although in 3 years he had not done so before).  We did hear coyotes Monday and Tuesday nights fairly close by.   All week no tiger cats were taken in by the SPCA.  I put notices in mailboxes and gave one to our postal carrier.
He might still be out on a romp but I feel it is time to let go and move on a bit.  I miss him everywhere I go on my property and in the house.  I can see him playing on the railing, coming out from a bush to scamper down the steps with me, sitting on the AC unit outside the shop window to ask to come in, sleeping on the deck under a bench while the bunnies hopped about. I have good memories and loving thoughts.



Dammit. I love my independent Reese's and Milly. But kitties do what kitties do.

Also, want more bunny photos!

Katie said...

Sparkles sounds like a wonderful cat. You are an amazing woman to keep the best parts of him with you. I hope that wherever he is, he is happy and knows how loved he is.

Silver said...

I am very sorry. Ankles is too.

sweetpea16 said...

I'm sorry your kitty has left... but don't give up hope. A coworker had a cat for 4 years and one day he disappeared. One day, 3 years later, she was on her way home and when she got to where her car was parked, she saw a cat lounging on the roof... the way her Piglet would do. She got closer and sure enough, it was Piglet!!! He was still wearing his tags. The kicker... the office was 40 miles from where she lived AND the car was new... they'd only had the car for a couple of months!!! Piglet has now been living with them again for almost 7 years, but doesn't disappear on them anymore :)

Cheers Eva

Susan (and SmokeyBlue in spirit) said...

What a great story and happy ending. The Universe does work in mysterious ways. Thanks for sharing it with us.
Who knows what may happen. But for now it was just better for my brain to move ahead.

andrea said...

aw I'm sorry for your loss - funnily enough the laughter in our life (one source anyhow) our Arley cat is missing too - lets hope together they both return home and STAY PUT!

goodnessgraciousWV said...

Sorry about Sparkles, Susan & Jim.

We just lost Smudge after a battle trying to get his diabetes under control. That is the cat that Jim was visiting us when we got 13 years ago in Illinois.

The kids badgered me and I adopted a stray cat from my friend's vet office. Another little black kitten that we have named Miyu.