My partner really wanted 2 matching Cats
He really wanted 2 White Cats. The problem is we already had an all black cat that we had adopted without planning to.... the compromise was that we would get another black cat ASAP. We had been looking when a work colleague came in one day asking if I would take a kitten. Horrifically while out walking her dog she had stumbled upon a taped up box sweltering in the Australian sun....
..... with 5 tiny kittens in it. She picked it up and brought them all home with her. She had recently lost her cat so decided she was going to keep 2 of them and she had managed to find homes for another 2. The tiniest and sickest one was still looking for a home. Maybe I could look after her until a home was found?
I knew my partner would hit the roof... but I brought her home anyway
He took one look at her and started laughing. Bless her heart, she was teeny tiny with all sticky up hair and this huge yellow stripe on her nose that was almost bigger than she was. "Not really what we were planning is it?" He said.
We called her Eartha Kitten because of her Earth toned coloring.... and because of Eartha Kitt....obviously.
Her eyes had only just opened and she was so small I could hold her in the palm of my hand. We fed her every few hours with an eye dropper full of a sort of baby cereal. Yikes, when I think of that now... but that's what the vet suggested. She immediately won over Hamish by sleeping on his chest and suckling on his nipples. Riley, the black cat, had come from a home where he suffered neglect so he needed lots of attention. In his eyes Eartha had diverted too much attention away from him and he bullied her endlessly. She stood her ground though....fierce and strong like her namesake. One day she was limping quite badly when I came home from work. we rushed her to vet and they found puncture marks in her shoulder (which had been dislocated) Riley must have shaken her joint right out of place!
There is not a day that goes past where I don't think of her.
Eartha shared my life for 11 years - we were inseparable.
When I would go out to work she would walk me to the end of the block and then give me a little meow before turning back towards home. When I would return in the evening she would be waiting right where she left me. She'd rub herself on my legs, enjoy a quick chin scratch and then lead me home chatting and telling me all about her day. When we moved friends moved into our old flat and I would often visit....
..... Eartha always walked along with me.
She loved to play and would spend hours rustling around in paper bags on the kitchen floor. She loved to gnaw on a chicken wing and chicken livers were her absolute favorite treat. She would turn her head to the side, blood dripping everywhere with such a look of satisfaction it still makes my heart flutter when I think of it. She loved to be outside and when she wasn't she would watch it from the window. Not once did she menace a bird, she appreciated them from afar. She loved to sit in boxes or up on the highest shelf. She really did love to watch... never missing a trick.
Hamish and I didn't last and I went through a profound period of grief, not really from losing him, as I always knew we weren't a forever thing, but my mother and two very dear friends all died within a few months and I lost a baby. And then there were the scores of acquaintances I was losing due to the AIDS epidemic. People were dropping like flies. I was drinking way too much and would come home at all hours... Eartha waiting up the block to walk me home. I really don't know how I would ever have gotten through it without the unending love Eartha gave me. She was my rock. If I was crying she would come and lie on my chest, putting her paw out towards me and look me straight in the eye as if to say "Come on Girl, you've got this". She'd always hang out with me in the bathroom while I got ready to go out and would sit on my lap every morning while I was on the loo. When she slept she always drooled... probably because she was never able to suckle as a baby kitten. She'd wake up, shake her head, spit flying everywhere and get on with her day.
When Paul, my husband of 28 years!!! this month, came into my life Eartha was wary. We knew he was going to be accepted when she started seeking out his discarded underpants and burying her head in them while kicking at them with her back feet. He shared her life for 7 years and they had a special bond too.
One day Eartha didn't come to sit on my lap while I was on the Loo
It really was that sudden. She hadn't eaten her dinner the night before and she hadn't slept with me. It was winter in Australia so this wasn't unusual as she would position herself up on the top of Paul's record shelves where the heat rose and she could be toasty and warm. Paul was in the US gigging. The Loo though... she had never missed a day. I went to look for her and was surprised to find her under the bed. She never went under things. I immediately knew that something very bad was up and called our vet. He came around that morning and told me that she had a large mass in her abdomen. He took her away for imaging and a biopsy. She came home and retreated back under the bed. I spent 3 days on the ground with her holding her hand, bawling my eyes out, waiting for the biopsy results. She stopped eating completely except for licking some Vegemite off my fingers. When she stopped going to the toilet I knew it was time. I was alone and I was inconsolable. I have never cried so much (before or since). Our vet came and took her away. He asked me if I wanted to come with them, but I just didn't have the strength. I said my goodbyes at home. As she was leaving she let out one of her little "see you tonight" meows and she was gone.
I don't have a lot of regrets but I deeply regret not being with her when she passed.
I think about it often and pray she has forgiven me. I think she has. She used to visit a lot for the first few years. I would feel her jump onto the bed at night and onto my lap on the loo.
She gave me so much and my all consuming passion for feline friends is all down to her.
Thank you Eartha Kitten - you are deeply missed.