How do I put this into words?
The first time we met, she sucked my nose. She slept with her left paw around my neck and her face on my face. Once I woke up and found one of her back paws in my mouth.
She loved flower scents, especially roses. If I had a vase of roses, she’d find a way into it. She liked the water. I picked fragrant roses for my garden so she could have fresh rose petals in her litter box. She loved that. She even took some bubble baths with me, but only with a floral scent.
She loved green tea. She was crazy about coconut milk, whipped cream, and ice cream (mint and vanilla). She also liked applesauce and pumpkin pie.
During three years when we lived just the two of us with parakeets, I didn’t bother with the dishwasher. When I washed the dishes and put them in the drainer, she was right there to lick them dry, and I was proud of her. Many times when I forgot, she led me into the kitchen to the counter where I kept my medicine and reminded me to take it. If I overslept, she woke me.
She seemed to understand my dislike of spiders. Twice she woke me up in the middle of the night by meowing incessantly. I turned on the light and saw she was looking up above me. Both times there was a spider on the ceiling above my bed. After that I learned to pay attention when she suddenly went into hunting mode, usually around my desk. That always led to discovery of another spider. She was my protector, my friend, my roommate, my partner, and my soul mate.
She injured her knee doing gymnastics when she was one. She became a champion at both ball playing and strings of all kinds. We usually played ball on the stairs, and she had all the moves—fast ball, curve ball, slow ball, you name it. She was published on each of two of my books in the author picture. She is prominent in the novel I’m currently writing.
Her full name was Chiana, the Panda Bandit Van-alike of Vancouver. She was named after a character in the Sci-Fi TV show Farscape. She was the cutest kitten I’ve ever seen. We met in the fall of 2002, and she grew up to be the most beautiful lady cat. She was partly raised by Flyer Tuck, parakeet, and went on to guard and protect him and three subsequent parakeets from other cats in the house. Her kitten (not litter) mate was Gracie, quite a personality and a gray long hair partial Persian. They were separated when they were only three for three years, and then they were reunited. That was special. Gracie brought Soleil, a timid though histrionic Maine Coon mix. Chiana and Soleil became playmates.
Gracie died peacefully when she and Chiana were ten—much too young, but it was cancer. Soleil and Chiana grieved with us, but then in 2014, a Bengal whose human mommy had died suddenly joined us. Genie turned out to be smarter than the rest of the household combined. Chiana adopted her, and they shortly grew to love each other. Eventually Soleil and Genie came to love each other too.
In the summer of 2015, Chiana appeared to develop an allergy. She started sneezing clear fluid. We got rid of the twenty year old carpet throughout the house and replaced the flooring. During that turmoil, she, Soleil, and Genie got to spend a week in The Cats Meow, a lovely feline hotel. The doctor treated Chiana for allergies and infection, but the culture showed there was no fungal or bacterial infection. The doctor also did a head X-ray. By this time the nasal discharge had turned bloody, and her eye was running. When Chiana let me know she was no longer able to get comfortable, my sister drove us to the veterinary hospital. I was hoping there was some sort of Hail Mary procedure that could be done to give her relief, but it wasn’t the case. I held her in my arms after we’d said our good-byes, and I felt her let go. I believe she felt relief.
I will always be her mommy. She will always be my lady love. I’m so grateful we found each other, she taught me so much, and we had so many good years and times together. And I’m so glad we spent time together the day before, me standing outside in the driveway and the sunshine holding Chiana in my arms, breathing the fresh air, watching the sky and the geese fly overhead, and watching occasional cars and people go by and wave.
“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, she became a butterfly.”—Proverb for Chiana, 1 Oct 2002–21 Oct 2015