We lost one of our kitties a few months ago. As I was thinking of her, and her place in this family, I thought I should write a few things about her.
This was the kitty that we called “The Professional”. This was the kitty that we always said should give “Cat Classes”. This kitty with the V-8 motor knew how to do it right.
This was also the kitty that raised my son.
I know that’s a pretty loaded statement, and I don’t say that lightly. But once in a while an animal comes along that changes your family dynamic, and changes your parenting. This was that kind of cat.
When we were looking for property, we lived with my folks temporarily in my childhood home. During that time my sweet hubby rescued a kitten from a Costco parking lot. We gave him to my son and my son named him Thomas. Thomas was pretty sick and in bad shape when we got him, and unfortunately love, vet visits, and antibiotics weren’t enough and Thomas died after about a week. We were heartbroken.
A couple of months later, we had bought our property and had just moved to it, when we were invited to a barn party at a friend’s house. We really debated if we should even go or not because we still had MOUNTAINS of boxes to unpack, but we had done a lot of moving and unpacking already and decided we needed the break.
After we arrived,we all piled out of the van and were standing there chatting with some people, when this cute little black and white kitty appeared that looked a lot like our little Thomas kitty. Not quite a little kitten, but not quite an adult cat either. She walked right up to me and flopped onto my feet, rolling onto her back and reaching up to me with a paw…….almost like she was waving “Hi”. I, of course, could not refuse her. So I scooped her up and held her. Pretty soon she was up on my shoulders, wrapped around my neck like a scarf. And since it was October and quite chilly, I was grateful. That little kitty stayed wrapped around my neck for a couple of hours.
Later in the evening, the owner of the kitty, who owned the farm just up the hill, came to me and said, “You know Fiona, this kitten was dumped here a few months ago and has been living in our barn. If you want to take her home, you can.”
Since we had just lost Thomas I wasn’t sure how excited my husband would be about getting another kitty, our hearts were still a little tender. I figured the only way this kitty was going to come home with us would be if my hubby fell in love with her.
He has a soft heart, so I didn’t think this would be too hard to do.
So I went over to him and said nothing of my conversation with the owner of the kitty. I just said, “Hey hun, this little kitty wants to cuddle, and I need to get some food, so how about you cuddle her for a while so I can eat.” He responded with, “Of course!”
And I left the kitty to work her magic on a willing heart. Never underestimate the power of a purr.
About an hour later I went back to retrieve her, and my hubby was smitten. He said, “I love this kitty! What a great temperment she has. Too bad we can’t take her home.” I told him that we could take her home, and about my conversation with the owner, to which he replied, “Then get the kids, and let’s get in the car before I change my mind.”
We gave her to my son, and he named her Thomasina since she resembled Thomas so much.
Thomasina moved in and took charge of the household. We already had a dog and cat but she let them know that she was the boss, and things were going to change.
What I didn’t expect, was that she would take charge of my son. She took charge of him and kept him on a very tight schedule. She slept with him, and at the appropriate time would wake him up in the morning. She would herd him downstairs for breakfast, and then meow at him until he had brushed his teeth and settled down with his schoolwork. She would sprawl out either next to him or on him and begin purring while he did his schoolwork. Later in the evening she would start meowing that it was time to get ready for bed, and he would comply. He would head upstairs, and brush his teeth and head for bed. If she didn’t think he was moving fast enough she would go to the top of the stairs and YOWL. And if she still didn’t think he was coming fast enough she would come back downstairs and follow him up, yowling all the way until he got upstairs. She would escort him to his room after he brushed his teeth, and sleep with him. If we went to go in and tell his sisters something in their room before bed, Thomasina would follow him in, and if she felt he was talking too long she would start walking around his legs and meowing until he headed for his room. That kitty kept him on a tight leash.
When our son was older, and it was time for him to go to high school, we wondered what would happen to Thomasina’s routine when he was gone, but she adjusted. She still made sure he was up in the morning, and got his breakfast, while she sat on the back of his breakfast chair and supervised while he ate.
Every day we would see her in the dining room window waiting when we made the trip home from school, and then she would rush to the back door and jump up on the counter so she could greet him. Then she would follow him around (meowing) until he got settled with a snack on the couch (hopefully Doritos that he would share) and started his homework. She would supervise every homework session, and then make sure he got to bed at the proper time. She kept this up faithfully for years.
Once we had Thomasina I never had to go wake him up, I never had to tell him to get started on his schoolwork, and I never told him it was time to go to bed. When he started high school I never once told him to do his homework. Not. Once.
But then Thomsina got older, and she developed thyroid disease, but she still saw to her duties faithfully, and bringing up her boy was still the most important thing.
She also extended her love and help to the rest of the family too. Always offering comfort and a snuggle to whoever needed it. Sometimes the girls would come home from college just because they needed some “kitty therapy”.
I was really hoping that Thomasina would last long enough to help him finish college, and help him find a wife. I thought she would have some definite opinions on the subject, but kitties don’t usually last that long. Regretfully, we had to have her put to sleep recently. She was 15 ½ years old. But she was there to get her boy through grade school, and then high school, and then one year of college.
I owe a lot to that little kitty though. Because of her I got to be the “nice mommy”. Because of her I never had to nag my son. Because of her he always did his homework immediately after school, resulting in good grades and scholarships.
It’s not easy to raise a son, and get through the teenage years well. Sometimes help comes from unexpected places. Maybe we should consider adding pets to our box of parenting tools.
Once in a while in your life, a kitty comes along that changes things. Thomasina, “The Professional”, was such a cat. I needed to do this little tribute to her. She was such a huge help, and such a comfort from the very first day she came up and flopped on my feet and chose US. She will be a tough act to follow.
They say it “takes a village” to raise a child. Sometimes it takes a village, and one cat.