This has always been one of my favorite pictures of our cat Lucky, who passed away last night:
Even today, less than 24 hours after she left us, it’s impossible for me to look at this photo and not smile and imagine – as I always do – hearing her say in some sort of voice that’s half Brando and half LOLcat, “Some day – and that day may never come – I’ll call upon you to do a service for me…”
Just a few things about Lucky:
She was the first pet Jenn and I had as a couple. We got her in 1995, when she was about a year old, adopting her from one of Jenn’s co-workers who was moving to a pet-free home. Her name comes from having survived being hit by a car, as a result of which her right front leg sometimes seemed slightly out-of-whack when she stood a certain way.
For that first year, she woke us almost daily with a series of repeated meows, beginning around 5:30 a.m. She stayed a talkative kitty right up until the day she died. (We think she suffered a stroke yesterday, in the late morning or early afternoon – and, in fact, her sudden lack of “speech” was the strongest sign she gave us that she was ready to let go after several weeks of failing health.)
She was the Feline Jedi Master of the Ultimate Slow Stalk, creeping up on dinner plates and unattended water glasses with the almost undetectable slowness and subtlety of a tree’s shadow on the ground as the sun marks an afternoon. She could make traversing the length of the couch and sneaking between you and your book an act to rival the most patient ninja.
In her younger years, whether you were sleeping or faking sleep (which we often did just to encourage this ridiculously cute behavior), Lucky would sneak ever so slowly up to your face and stare at you, then tentatively lift a paw, w-a-i-i-i-i-t, and eventually reach forward to gently pat your nose or eyelid to encourage some petting.
She balanced a sense of grace and agility with her determination up to the last few weeks of her life, making the leap from the kitchen table to the countertop almost soundlessly. Try to block the way with appliances or water jugs, and she’d manage to light on the remaining three inches of open space.
Amazing post-meal kitchen sink plate-cleaner, especially if Italian food, chicken, or scrambled eggs had been on the menu.
Enjoyed working the team con: For most of her life, Lucky’s partner in crime was Charles Wallace. The last year and a half, she found a more than willing accomplice in Pepper, with whom she shared her tricks to getting into the double-spoon-barred cupboard holding the riches of the kitchen garbage.
Lucky was with us for 16 years – that’s two apartments, three houses, a Florida-to-Ohio move, somewhere near a dozen jobs, and our daughter’s journey from newborn to teenager.
And if you met her, she liked you. More than once, a first-time visitor to our house suddenly found this little gray lady staring up at them, and then, without ceremony, in their lap.
I’m going to go have lunch now, and afterward, I know I’m going to miss the gentle clinking from the kitchen that means Lucky has hopped up to the sink just to make sure my plate is properly cleaned.