(C.A.R.E. Name: Winnie)
Back in June of 1993 I stopped by C.A.R.E. to adopt a cat. My girlfriend had one that was very friendly, and since I just moved into a new apartment I felt that I could use the company of a four-legged companion. Polly met me and spoke about the various cats available for adoption. She introduced me to a tiny tabby kitten named Winnie. Polly explained that she was a stray that was very shy and mostly stayed away from humans. When I went into the meeting room Winnie wandered over to me, sniffed my pant leg, then jumped into my lap and promptly fell asleep. Well, how could I resist? The search was over and I adopted Winnie that afternoon.
Granny (her new name) adjusted to life with me in no time at all. She was very affectionate to me and wandered around the apartment like she owned the place However, whenever another person came over she always turned timid and usually hid behind my bed. But when we were alone she would always find me and rub against my leg or climb into my lap for a nap. Her purring was very comforting to listen to while watching television or reading a book. She always greeted me when I came home from work. In fact, the greetings were so joyous that I suspected she was getting bored while all alone during the day So a couple of months later I returned to C.A.R.E. to get a companion for her. Furball, a friendly little Siamese kitten, came home and joined the family.
Granny endured one painful episode when she broke a rear leg. I came home one day to find my bookcase overturned and Granny sitting awkwardly nearby. I suspect that she jumped off at an awkward angle and toppled the bookcase on top of her, but I'll never know for sure. Anyway, I took her to the veterinarian and x-rays revealed a broken right hind leg. The vet thought it might heal if held in a certain position for a month, so she taped Granny's leg against her body and wrapped the whole thing up. Granny limped around on three legs for weeks, but unfortunately the break didn't heal properly. The vet ended up performing a femoral head ostectomy, a surgical procedure where the head of the femur is removed. Cats have such strong muscles that they can compensate for the missing joint. Granny recovered and walked and ran normally - people couldn't tell that she was missing a hip joint.
Granny and Furball followed me from Illinois to Massachusetts and back, and for the past fifteen years they've been the best of friends. They always curled up to nap together during the day, and at night they always slept on either side of my legs. And like cats all over the world, they would both go nuts and have their midnight run around the house.
Sadly, I had to put Granny asleep last week. She had lost weight, was no longer able to get around without frequent rest breaks, and although her eyes still showed affection for Furball and me, she was clearly struggling to keep up. When she started struggling to breathe I knew the time had come. I took her to the vet and found out that the combination of her old age and a severe respiratory problem were probably not treatable. Granny took a turn for the worse during the exam, gasping and stumbling on the exam table. Asking the vet to put her to sleep was one of the hardest things I've ever done. I said goodbye to Granny and the vet quickly put an end to her suffering.
Like parents and their children, I can't choose a favorite between Granny and Furball. However, Granny was my first pet and for that reason will always have a special place in my heart. She brought me close to 16 years of undying love and affection, and for that I will be forever grateful to C.A.R.E. for putting us together. I made a donation of cleaning supplies in her memory, and I'm sure I'll make more in the future.
Thank you, C.A.R.E., for putting a wonderful cat into my life. And thank you, Granny, for making me a better person. Furball and I miss you.