Fifteen years ago, our very elderly cat had to be put to sleep. For about a day we caught our breath, and then I saw a mouse in the kitchen. It's not like Keisha could catch them anymore, but apparently her presence was enough to keep them out of sight. Three days later, a friend asked me if I would consider taking in a stray kitten that was living under her neighbor's garage. I would.
She had to be tempted out with a can of tuna, but she was very hungry indeed, so I wrapped her and her needle-like claws in a towel and brought her home. I watched her for a couple of days, cautious but fierce, with a glamorous tortoise coat of bronze and brown. It was 1998, so of course I named her Buffy.
She proved herself an efficient slayer, but a bit anxious and neurotic. She was particular about her food, and I worried that she didn't eat enough. Sometimes she could be encouraged, and I would find Ben sitting on the kitchen floor. "Buffy wants me to watch her eat." Ben even allowed her to sit on his lap at dinner once in a while. I would see a long paw snake past his fork to snag a green bean. Then Ben would sigh, and mutter "I'm putting Buffy away." Too often we forgot about her, and opened the bedroom door guiltily to see narrowed eyes glaring at us from the bed. Every morning she would intently watch me eat a muffin or toast, and then finish off the crumbs. Buttered toast was her single favorite food.
Buffy patrolled our yard in the evening, and occasionally went off to cat bars to meet her admirers, but only brought home her prey once; a noisy cicada. I asked Ben to take it from her, but he called up from the basement, "There's nothing left to take, it's like KFC down here, just legs and wings!"
She lay on our computer back when they were big enough to drape a cat on.
When flat screens came along, she lay in front of the monitor to distract us, and if I leaned close to her, nibbled my hair. If I ignored her, she would reach over to the keyboard and tap my fingers.
She was a very shy animal, and cat sitters commented that they rarely if ever saw her (and then she was backing away from them), but she liked a chosen few friends and would allow them to pet her. My lap would do until Ben came home, and then it was all about The Boy.
She had company nearly all her life in the form of big Riley, but it was detente more than friendship. In the picture below, she (on the right) is about to bite him.
We moved only once in her life, a good thing, because it was traumatic for her, and for weeks, if there was an odd noise (like construction or the trains), Buffy took shelter in the sink.
She liked cool spaces, and usually sat near an open window, where as Riley would bask on our heated floors in the winter. I'm with Buffy, it's too damn hot in the condo most of the time.
Right before Christmas, she wouldn't eat any breakfast, and was breathing hard. I took her to the vet that morning, and she died at home that evening. It was heart failure - nothing to be done. I am glad she didn't suffer for long, glad to have given her a home, and very glad to have known her, my beautiful little slayer.