Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Eulogy for a Pet

The last thing on this earth that I wanted was a cat, so when my wife told me, that one of the families in her pre school class was giving away kittens, I put my foot down -- firmly.

When she told the kids that we were getting a kitten, I put my foot down again, even more firmly.  And finally, when defeat was all but inevitable, I grudgingly accepted that they could have a kitten if they took care of it.

Thus it was that several weeks later I came home to find a small brown ticked feline, the runt, and at the same time, the pick of the litter had established residence in my domain.  

She had enormous ears, so large she reminded us of a rabbit.  And she swivelled them to follow every sound.  With those ears, the only name that fit was Radar and so she became Radar Snyder, our owner, and the ruler of all she surveyed.

That was eighteen years ago.

Early in those eighteen years, Radar discovered that her favorite lap for sitting after dinner and for napping on Sunday afternoons was mine.  She also made certain that I never overslept in the morning by poking her cold wet nose and whiskers under my ear two minutes before the alarm went off.

She sat on the arm of my chair when I read, on the monitor of my wife's computer when she was on line, and was the warm spot at the foot of the bed on many cold nights.

An indoor cat, she sometime escaped to go on adventures and was always either caught or cornered and herded back inside.  Several times, she escaped into the rain and was caught meowing plaintively at the window, as if to beg "Puh-leeze, open the door! It's wet out here!" and rewarded by being wrapped in a warm towel and dried once readmitted to house.

In short, Radar became a member of the family and a fixture at family events.  Some mornings she was a pounce at my feet, all teeth and toenails. She was also the obstacle underfoot as I made my coffee, and the sometimes disdainful presence in the middle of the room, back turned as she actively ignored me and everyone else.

Radar left us this week. After eighteen years, it was inevitable.  But saying goodbye is not easy and there is a Radar-cat-shaped void at our house.

Farewell, Radar.  There was never one like you before, and after you, none shall follow.