Tuesday, August 2, 2016

In memoriam...Ode to Lola.

We had to put our cat to sleep today. It’s not an easy thing to decide to end a pet’s life, but we reluctantly made the call. We made the same heartbreaking decision six years ago when our black lab, Dakota, was suffering. When we lost Dakota, I wrote a loving tribute to our faithful friend and companion. So it is with deep sadness, mixed with a bit of relief that I write this tribute to our departed Lola.

Lola was a beauty. Her “calico” coloring, random patches of grey and tabby stripes made her unique and particularly beautiful. She had bright green eyes that flashed when she was angry…more on that later. She was a sweet and loving cat to a few choice people…on a few choice days. She was exceptionally clean and never had an “accident” like so many other cats are known to have. She never hocked up a hairball, not even once. It’s a good thing she was beautiful and clean and hairball-less because her other qualities were not so redeeming.

She had a particular dislike for people who...well…for people. She only loved four of the five members of our family for the longest time and only learned to love the fifth when she was the last kid left after the other two moved away. She loved my parents…mostly…usually. She did not love anyone else. No one. She learned to tolerate a few people, but only if they visited alone. Where some cats see large groups of people as opportunities to be stroked and loved, Lola saw large groups of people as malicious invaders…they had to go! She did everything in her power to make our guests feel unwelcome. The flashing green eyes followed by guttural growls and angry hisses. That Lola could put on a frightful show. My mantra when company came: “The cat’s feelings about you are not a reflection of our own…truly…” (Friends, it’s safe to come over now.)

Once when we were out of town, our neighbor fed Lola in our absence. We learned upon our return that she felt the need to bring a golf club with her for protection. And that’s when we bought a self-feeder for our trips. Lola hated it when the self-feeder came out of the closet, but she brought it on herself.

Lola did some cute things too…She spent every morning in the bathroom having a loud, mad conversation with the “mirror cat”. Perhaps I should have given her coffee…it sure helps me.

She had the cutest way of looking up at us when we’d fill her inconvenient bowl with cold refrigerator water. (The inconvenient bowl was a small bowl of water placed on the kitchen floor in the way of everything.) She got antsy if the staff failed to fill it immediately upon descending the stairs…but our reward for doing her bidding was her cute little upturned face.

Lola had a very loud purr - it’s what drew us to her in the first place when we rescued her from the animal shelter. She would crawl in our lap every evening and purr…then get annoyed and nip at us when we’d pet her too much. But that purr…

And she had a sweet way of letting us know that she was getting low on food….she snuggled. She was her cutest when she was hungry. If I’m honest, we sometimes postponed filling her bowl to imagine what life with an affectionate cat could be like. She had no use for that sweet nonsense until her tummy growled.

Alas, we will miss Lola…she’s been manipulating us for almost 15 years. If cats go to heaven, and I seriously doubt they do…let’s be honest…cats…I hope we’ll see her there.

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