From early 1993 until the end of April, 2011, Nevada was my best friend, my snuggler, and my most demanding critic.
Food had to be just right, or she’d unleash her Siamese Cat Voice on me.
The food bowls had to be full for her adopted kittens, even after they became obese, fully grown cats.
And as a kitten, herself, she reserved the right to climb the curtains whether we liked it or not. Now the curtain looks like a huge pin cushion, after raising 12 kittens up and down it.
Water must never have a hair, not even a dust mote in it to be good enough for a cat. She would come and tell me if something was wrong. And she taught her succession of adoptees these sacred truths about food and water, too.
She developed and changed her own syntax and body language as our hearts and minds bonded.
At first, she would simply drill a hole in my head with her eyes. When I looked up, and I ALWAYS did, she would contrive to look wretched, sad, starved by dropping her lower jaw a tiny bit so her pink lip-lining showed, while somehow making her lower eyelids droop. I would do anything she wanted when she used that look!
And she used it all her life, but coupled with different cues for her dear, stupid, bumbling human.
Later, tiring of her “alarm going off” in the wee hours time and again, I’d put her in the far bathroom at night with a clean catbox, fresh food, and spotless water. (Of course she shed her long hair into it as soon as she got near it.)
I lifted the bathroom ban when she learned to stay quiet at night, unless there was some huge disaster, like cats stalking each other. She didn’t like “her” kittens to bite each other till one screamed, or even squeaked.
Back with the family, she changed her syntax. “I want” was expressed by walking into the other bathroom, near where I hang out, then meowing, stepping out and looking at me to see if I was coming. If I was, she gave me her desperate face. I was a fool for that face!
I’d ask her what she wanted, gesture to her with my hands and say, unashamedly, “Show Mama, honey”. She’d go to the water dish or the food dish, sit in front of it and show me.
If we didn’t have a heavy enough water or food dish, and something was wrong with either or both, Nevada would hook her left “hand” in it and back up, drawing it out into the pathway. When Kelly went into the wheel chair, we had to get heavy porcelin bowls.
I thought we were going to lose her when Kelly’s youngest daughter came to live with us. She wasn’t too kind to the cats, and Nevada, being the sensitive type, backed into a little box like a hermit crab. I got Nevada to the vet just in time to save her life: She had severely dehydrated. I force.fed her water every other half hour, and on the hour I force.fed her chicken broth. She fought both for several days. Then she accepted them, and later called for them for a couple more weeks. I knew she would be okay when she practically snatched a ham sandwich out of my mouth. She always loved ham, and I cheerfully surrendered my lunch, which she gobbled, mustard, bread, and all!
She saw her first partners go the way of all good cats, but it wasn’t long until Kelly came in with 2 un-weaned, orphaned kittens for her to adopt. They came up to her mewing and talking, and she promptly bopped each of them on the head with her left hand! She hadn’t seen a kitten for about 8 years, when she had been one!
Kelly taught the kits to sip, then lap from a bowl, and Nevada made sure from then on that her ‘kids’, Sebastian and Sabrina, wanted for nothing.
She had a fascination for the printer, or anything that seemed to run without dirent human intervention. I have an old picture of her as a youngster, reaching both arms up into the printer, which was immediately discouraged by an application of the squirt bottle. (After the picture.)
Let anybody pick up a tool to do anything, and Nevada was there to help. More in the way than helping, though. Trim and slim under her coat, if it wasn’t her nose and head in the way, or her body swirling in our faces, then her tail graciously waved and undulated itself in our way. Not her fault; tails do what they want…
I cut Kelly’s very long hair when our Church asked him to be a Stake Missionary. Terrified that I was cutting off Dad’s body parts, she swept each cutting up under her breast and guarded it. She wouldn’t let loose for anything, and when I picked her up off the floor, as much hair as she could hold came up with her. She must have figured it was okay afterward since he lived through that first cut, and left the other cuttings alone through our 2-year mission.
In late 2010, Nevada began to fall off her favorite (armless) kitchen chair. She moved into bed with “Dad”, where he was now forced to stay due to his injuries during the Viet Nam war. They cuddled and she slept more and more each day.
In 2009, I had taken Nevada to the vet, who said she was probably developing cancer, but to keep her at home as long as she ate and drank like she meant it. And she never went off her feed, as other sick creatures and humans do. Her last breakfast showed her with her head in a soup cup, slurping up milk that I’d left after eating cold cereal.
Finally, in April of 2011, our Nevada girl developed a nose bleed, and I took her to the vet, this time leaving her body there, but bringing her sweet spirit home in my heart.
I do believe that our animals wait for us after death, and that they will be with us as family members for ever.
In fact, if 1000 years is but a second in heavenly time, she’ll hardly notice we’re gone. But it takes a while longer for us. Still, she’ll be there, in whatever beautiful form her soul has attained.Then we’ll know each other and we’ll run like the wind to get back together.