Thursday, June 25, 2009

Farrah, Michael, and My (Sister's) Cat Meemers

My father hates cats. As long as I can remember, his fervent hatred of them has been a major part of things I would use to describe him. Loves to fish, really knows everything about everything, has no qualms about eating expired foods, hates cats.

The summer I was 14 my sister decided to get a cat. Diana was in college but still living at home. I don't know how the circumstances came about, but one Sunday we ended up driving to a trailer park that I want to say was somewhere on Marco Island. I know it was a long drive... This lady was selling pure bread Persian kittens, but they didn't have papers so they were cheap.

We fell in love with this white one. I remember thinking this was a really, monumentally stupid idea to bring this cat home, but we paid the $50 and loaded her into my sister's white Chevy Cavalier.

I said to Diana on the way home, "Dad is going to be really mad, and when he is you better not say to me, 'Ash, maybe we should take her back.' " She was beautiful--perfectly white with stunning blue eyes. We named her Mindy. She hated the car.

We walked in the door with the kitten and past my mother sitting in the living room. She looked for a second like she couldn't believe her eyes, and then the freaking out began.

It was a lot of her saying "You can't have a cat!" and my dad saying, "I'm going to use it as fish bait." Tears and crying on our parts, natch.

And sure enough, my sister buckled under the pressure and said, "Ash, maybe we should take her back."

My sister called the lady we bought Mindy from the next day who told us she'd take her back but she couldn't return the money for a couple of days. If it weren't for the assumption that we'd get ripped off of our $50, Mindy probably would have been returned to her trailer park.

Instead, for reasons beyond my utter comprehension, my parents let us keep her. My sister was moving to Gainesville for college at the end of the summer, and she was to take "our" cat with her. That was profoundly sad for me, but at least we got to keep her.

Fast forward a lot of years, and my sister had a son. He was allergic to cats. By that time, we had Mike, our German Shepard, and Jack, our now deceased Jack Russell Terror, er I mean Terrior who was diabolical to say the least, so she couldn't live with me. So, she went from a house cat to lanai cat who loved it, and eventually became an outside cat. A declawed, pure white, outdoor Persian cat that milled about the streets.

And she loved it.

She was known as the neighborhood cat, and we called her the alley cat. She had an array of favorite bushes she would nap under, and was often caught drinking out of the gutters and swimming pools. It was so strange to see such a fancy looking cat roaming the streets. But she did, like she owned them.

Mindy was probably never ever actually called Mindy. We are a family of nicknamers, and she quickly went from Mindy to Mimi to Meemers. I actually have to think really hard if someone asks me her real name, cause Meemers pops right up in my head.

Meemers passed away today. My sister's father-in-law (a veterinarian) says it was likely a heart attack that claimed her. My best estimate of a foggy mind ages her at about 14 years.

She will forever have the distinction of going to heaven on the same day as Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett. I can almost see her sitting with them now, getting yelled at for trying to drink out of God's swimming pool.

I don't imagine there are gutters in heaven. But in Meemers' heaven, there might be.

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