We got Lucy after we moved into the first house we owned, when the girls were 5 and 3. We went to the Humane Society and someone picked out Lucy, a smallish tortoiseshell with longish fur. She was very shy, and stayed in hiding for days after we brought her home (she did not like the ride home, either) until one night I cooked hot dogs for dinner, and she crept out of hiding and stole one off someone’s plate. We realized that she did not like canned cat food, but would eat dry. N named her. I don’t know where she came up with the name, but it is a good one.
Lucy had 5 kittens when she was barely over a year old herself. The two females were tortoiseshells, like Lucy, but with short hair, and like Lucy they were fairly shy. There were three males — a ginger, a lovely pure black, and Jimmy, who was a grey mackerel tabby with a white bib and white feet. The first to be chosen were the two females, and then another family took the ginger and the black, and we decided to keep Jim. The kittens were lovely. The ginger was the most affectionate. The black one was always hungry and we remember him walking onto a saucer of milk in his excitement. Jimmy was always a bit shy, which I think was why he was the left-behind kitten. He was also the very first kitten to open his eyes. N named him as well. He had a little bend at the end of his tail. I worried that we had somehow caught it in the old screen door, but I think it was actually something he was born with.
Jim was always a sort of stand-offish cat. Lucy often seemed cross with him. He would swipe at people as they walked by. But later in life he mellowed. He and Lucy had to spend a month together at the kennel when we moved houses, and they became very close through that shared trauma. When we brought them to the new house they were confined to a bedroom upstairs while the workmen finished the downstairs, and we would come home to find Jimmy burrowed under all the covers in my bed. Jimmy and Lucy had ruled the old neighborhood, but they were too old to really conquer the new one. They did rule our front yard, though, and would gang up on the dogs who walked by. Jimmy attacked a poor befuddled retriever, and also battled the dog who lived next door and won. He became more affectionate, and loved to sit on the laps of people watching television.
In the past few years he became diabetic, and lost a lot of weight, and went through periods of time where he mostly slept on things on the dining room floor — a backpack, a plastic bag, a too-small box was always a favorite. But then he would regain his energy and swagger out onto the porch to get rid of strange dogs.
Lucy misses him. She misses being annoyed by him. We miss him, too. We buried him last night under the pineapple guava, where he can keep an eye on the birds. I’ll plant a bunch of catmint where he can see it, too.
Of course I have had other pets die, but this is the first of the girls’ pets to die —