Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore

People are under the mistaken impression that they adopt cats. This is wrong. Cats adopt people.

For me, this was more than true. Six years ago, I moved from North Carolina to Arlington because a room was available. A family friend couldn’t keep Matilda, a.k.a. Tilde (Til-dee), at his own place, so she lived at the house and had for some time.

Tilde and I made friends one evening when she decided that a cashmere coat I had plopped down on the bed was an excellent place to sleep. Dry cleaners have still not been able to completely excise the fur from that coat.

Other housemates who had been in the house before me had taken care of her. But they moved on a few years later, and so the task of caring for her fell to me. It made sense. She had adopted me by that time anyway. I started calling her “Alice.”

She was, indeed, the perfect Alice, the perfect cat, gentle, simple, and always beautiful, except maybe when she was barfing. She didn’t squirm away from snuggles the way a lot of cats do; the usual sense of feline claustrophobia in her lost out to lovin’ the snuggles. You could practically lie on top of her, and she’d just purr. She would, sometimes, take to using my hand for a pillow.

She was one of those beasts you meet and you wish that “they” would hurry up with moving that cloning stuff on down to mass market. I have actually considered keeping her tail, so I’ll be ready when cloning reaches my price range. I said “considered.”

Alice got sick about a year or so ago. She lost weight. She never stopped losing weight. From the time the docs told me something was wrong to now, Fat Mow—as another housemate once dubbed her—was no more. I’m amazed she never got caught up in the wind and blown to Maryland. But she has been comfortable until the last few weeks, when she started to exhibit the dopey behavior of a cat about to die.

She had taken to hiding in a corner in my home office where she’d never spent much time before. She began peeing inappropriately. I saw her pooping in the front yard. Outside, she would wander to places where she’d never previously tended to roam. So, today, she took her last trip to the vet. (I was having doubts this morning, thinking that perhaps I had made a rash decision. When she tried to walk and stumbled, I knew I had made my decision at exactly the right time.)

Alice, a.ka. Matilda/Tilde, started her life as an abandoned kitten, rescued from the wilds of Wisconsin or some friggin’ place and ending up on my cashmere coat. She liked Fancy Feast wet and Science Diet dry, fresh water, lying in the sun, belly rubs, bathing herself, and being under things.

She died at 3:50 p.m. today by euthanasia at the Capital Cat Clinic in Arlington. Her last meal was a junior cheeseburger from Wendy’s.

Wasn’t she pretty?

I do not know what wonderful deed I completed in a previous life to deserve being adopted by this particular feline, but it must have been a doozy. With her departure, my home becomes a house. My bed becomes just a place to sleep. And my life…well, I reckon it’s just going to be a little rough for awhile. I suspect that for many months, I will reach down while I’m in bed expecting to find that furry purry ball only to draw up air. But I take heart in the fact that, though she no longer actually exists, her fond memory always will. Thank you, Alice Bean, for adopting me. I love you, and I will miss you, always. Always. Always. Always. Always. Always.

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