I’d just lost Sita, my female sealpoint Siamese after sixteen tumultuous years, starting when I’d adopted her as a kitten from people with a farm outside Ann Arbor. Like all Siamese, Sita was very smart, but she had a streak of the jungle in her genes. After she died, we still had Ara, a handsome turquoise-eyed flamepoint Siamese, a sweet guy, but like most male cats, he was aloof. I longed for that maternal girl-cat connection.
The local SPCA’s Cat of the Week featured a long-haired, mostly white female cat named Cottonball. We jumped in the car to go see her. When I walked into the Cat Habitat, my eyes connected with the absinthe eyes of another girl-cat entirely. Pet-baby love at first sight. Her long, silky fur was purest white with no spot of any other color. A ruff encircled her throat, spilled down her chest like Elizabethan lace. Her tail could have passed for a plume on the fancy hat of a countess. Those eyes were almond-shaped, the nose aristocratic with pink nose leather. Overlong whiskers arched around the pink bow of her mouth.
Like Luna, she was a purebred left in the pound: a Turkish Angora. The kind of cat breeders want a thousand dollars for. She was also nearly starving to death, refusing to eat the cat food the pound gave her. She was terrified and traumatized when we rescued her.
Whoever put her in the pound had named her “Salt;” we changed that right away to Alana, which means “darling” in Gaelic. The adoption card said she was two years old; unlike Luna, that turned out to be true. Since she refused to eat Fancy Feast, I pioneered my award-winning homemade cat food: ground turkey breast, olive oil, organic butter, sweet yellow corn, cottage cheese, and brown rice. With homemade food, supplemented by the best kibbles providing taurine and other vital feline nutrients, Alana regained her strength to become the most brilliant and beloved of all my cats.
She invented her own toys, pulling a plastic safety seal off of a milk bottle out of the trash, pressing her toes on the edge of it, flipping it onto her wrist, and high into the air, then juggled and chased it across the living room. She was so expressive with her paws, I called her my conjuring cat. She opened a ten-foot-high sliding closet door with her forehead, snuck inside, and shredded a nest out of a box of old letters. She staked out places on tables in my two offices, worked with me every single day. She followed me everywhere. She gazed at herself in the mirror.
One day I was in the lavatory, putting on my contact lenses, when she rushed in and jumped on my back, pawing my shoulders, thrusting her face in my hair, giving grooming bites on my ears. When Tom heard me giggling and shrieking and rushed in, she meowed at him in a peculiar little voice that said, “She’s mine.” She did this trick whenever she was in the mood (and I was putting on contact lenses). And yes, call me a kooky cat person, but she actually spoke words (Tom heard them, too). She would walk out of the kitchen after a freshly cooked meal and say, “Yum, yum, yum!”
Alana lived with us for sixteen wonderful years, which means that when she died, she was probably eighteen years old—in a breed not known for longevity. Like her best friend Luna, I immortalized her as one of Ruby A. Maverick’s cats in Summer of Love, A Time Travel. Like Luna, Alana will live forever and ever in my books and in my heart.
|The Gilded Age, A Time Travel||Tesla, A Worthy of His Time, A Screenplay||U F uh-O, a Sci Fi Comedy||Bast Books||The Quester Trilogy|
"Every feline is a masterpeice." Leonardo Da Vinci.