No. of Recommendations: 59 was just one of my financial investors-one of the cats, but in our household they are family.

She was 24 years old and it came as no surprise. We had been expecting this for the last several years. But it still leaves a hole. We were given Wussie as a gift in 1979. Its hard to believe its been that long. I think Jimmy Carter was president. It seems like ancient history.

Admittedly it was a dumb name, but I was going through something of a drought in name creativity. I was guilty of naming cats things like Black and Gray during that era.She started life as an adorable fluffy white Himalayan. She was so cute even the staff at the vet's office was impressed.

The cat always had an independent streak and usually defied any effort to dictate behavior to her. Her favorite act of rebellion was to escape confinement by flying off a 15 foot deck and running happily into the woods. I had just lost a cat to a coyote and was feeling overprotective and not letting the rest of the gang roam. In order to give them some air, I would let them out onto our very tall second story deck. The rest of the crew was perfectly happy to lie in the sun on the deck, but not the Wuss. She soon figured out she could quite readily survive a leap off the deck and spend many happy minutes letting us chase her around the woods. Her form was a perfect spreadeagled flying squirrel manuever.

She remained an independent thinker to the end of her days. And she was often inconvenient especially towards the end. She became increasingly unable to keep her once gorgeous mat-free coat clean and ended up with more dreadlocks than Bob Marley. She absolutely would not sit still and let herself be brushed. Likewise, forget trying to clip her nails, brush her teeth or give her medicine or food supplements. We learned to respect her wishes and she defied all odds and kept on going.

Towards the end she was unable to find a litter box and I had to lay papers all over the house to keep things clean. A perfect use for the Wall Street Journal. I kept getting advice that I should have her put to sleep for this indiscretion on her part, but I just couldn't. Incontinence should not be a capitol crime in my opinion. So I just redoubled my cleaning efforts. No, I didn't let the newspapers accumulate to knee deep. I imagine I may end up as some old wierd cat lady in a house with 100 cats and 12 inches of newspaper on the floor,but not yet.

She lived the last months of her life on a sheepskin rug in front of the refrigerator where the warm air from the compressor kept her happy. She screeched for food every time some one would go into the kitchen and it let us know she was still with us. Three nights ago, she suddenly became very quiet and no longer wanted to be fed. I wonder if she had a stroke. She lay down on her rug and didn't move again. Her breathing was shallow and I expected every night to be her last. Friday night was her last. We made her a small cat-sized box out of birch plywood and mahogony and laid her to rest in front of the house. I keep expecting to see her in front of the refrigerator.

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