This morning a small, grey package of love left this world for the next. At the age of seventeen years, Snoopy the cat passed away in her home with the same quiet dignity that she lived her life. She is survived by her son, Ben, her surrogate daughter, Katie, and a small but fiercely loving family of humans and cats.
I am looking back on the years that Snoopy`s life and mine intertwined. She came to live with us when she was only a kitten, arriving at the door in a box with my son, Sean. He was in Grade One and one of the the teachers was finding homes for a litter of kittens with the students at his school. So, with our permission, Snoopy was brought home. I am not sure why he gave her a dog's name but in the way of all young cats she lived up to it, getting into everything, unravelling and shredding countless rolls of toilet paper.
Snoopy came to a home with one cat already in residence. I had been sent to the Humane Society a few months before to bring home a kitten. They should have known better. Instead I brought home a seventeen year old Tabby point Siamese, a beautiful neutered male who had been surrendered by his sole owner for reasons I never knew. He was, of course, named Tabby. He had to come home with me because his card had been pulled from the door of his cage and he would be making the trip "down the hall" later that day. Tabby was severely depressed by whatever circumstances had separated him from his previous owner and we worried for his survival the first few weeks. And, although he regained his health, I have to say that all he was doing was surviving until Snoopy entered his life. It became quickly became obvious that Snoopy was not to be our cat, but his, for the remainder of his life. Tabby interacted with us and Snoopy interacted with him.
In the way of all young female cats, Snoopy quickly became interested in getting outside. We managed to get her through her first heat without her escaping but during her second heat she snuck out and returned with a look of satisfaction and several buns in the oven. Timing is everything and Snoopy went into labour on the day we were making our big move from the city to life in the country. As the furniture and boxes were going out the door, Snoopy was giving birth to four kittens with Tabby acting as midwife. I have such a clear memory of her stretched out with her front legs extended in front of her, Tabby stretched out in front of her with his front paws resting softly on hers in comfort. He was her labour coach.
Snoopy`s two sons, Ben and Kabitz, lived with their mother permanently. Ben passed away earlier this year - an independant soul who was always at the top of the pecking order in a house that eventually grew to encompass five cats. Kabitz has been a momma`s boy all his life and I wonder how he will continue on without her. He is an old man himself now.
Tabby blessed us with the last two years of his life. It was a major adjustment for Snoopy when he died but she had her sons now. She dedicated herself to her two boys and to my two children, seeing them all safely through their teenage years, providing warmth, comfort, understanding, mice, and either a quick, fierce grooming or a cuff on the ear as required. She had a private moment with my husband, Gary, each morning as he sat with his first coffee - the only one he can abide communicating with that early in the day. Snoopy has always held a special place in his heart and his lap.
In her last years, Snoopy became blind and although she maintained her dignity. she came to depend on us all more, with an increasing need for contact and affection, a desire we were happy to fill. As her own children had grown, Snoopy dedicated herself more and more to the raising of my daughter, Katie, and was honoured to have Katie refer to her as `My Mother`.
Snoopy was a small cat, barely five pounds, with the marking of a tabby and beautiful concentric circled markings on each side. She had a neverending love for pipecleaners. She was loved. She will be mourned. She left taking a part of me with her.