In Memoriam: Mr. Whiskers
MR. WHISKERS never asked to be thrust into the bright, blaring spotlight that this fabulously successful website generated.
Indeed, it was out of respect for privacy that I changed his name and gender so he wouldn’t be mobbed by the, what, six readers this blog usually has.
Her name was in fact Sarah, and she was a lady, if we were to concede there exists ladies who, when a can of Friskies is being opened, are frequently so completely overcome by anticipation and ecstasy that they clasp a paw around a naked ankle and gleefully dig in claws and teeth.
I suspect we connected because we are both misanthropic loners living in a place we detest: misery loves company. She originally belonged to the neighbors and based on the fact that she spent almost all of her time in my side yard — specifically on my car (and presumably before I lived here, on a previous resident’s vehicle) — she was not happy in her own yard, nor was she particularly fond of the number of other cats that inhabited it.
A scaredy-cat personified (feline-ified?), Sarah was extremely timid and not an overtly friendly creature to anyone but me — a relationship that developed over a few years. I’ll spare you the innumerable, ponderous, interesting-to-no-one cat stories save this one anecdote: Before she “officially” became mine but after she had made the move from car to back porch, ever closer to inside my house, she was sitting on a patio table there one day when I was about to go for a run. I bent down to tie my sneaker, my head at about table level. Then I felt it: A fuzzy forehead pressed against my own and held there for a few seconds. This cat who to her dying day was never one to shower affection (indeed, the only time she was ever in my lap was when I held her as she was euthanized) spontaneously decided to mark me as hers with her noggin-based cat-glands, as some cat experts would interpret this act, or as others suggest, identifying me as safe and someone she could trust.
Either way, she was right: from that moment on, she owned me, and she had no further need to worry about anything. That trust was well-placed. I didn’t let her down and made the last five years of her life very, very comfortable.
Still, I got the better end of that deal.