Tuesday, October 18, 2011


I thought I'd like to take a few moments and remember the ways in which Twinkle was special... not all of them good ways. :)

Well, I got her in April of last year. The Toronto Humane Society was going through some tough times and was about to undergo a reorganization, and they were trying to find homes for all the pets they were still sheltering (as I recall, they managed this). It was my birthday, and when my roommate Larry asked me what I wanted, I half-seriously suggested a third cat. He was okay with it, and we went to the shelter at Victoria Park and Van Horne and ended up with Twinkle.

When I first brought her home and isolated her in my bedroom, she was an extremely affectionate cat. Seemed very grateful to be out of the cage and into a much larger room. Not long afterwards she became aware of the other cats, Bonnie and Max, when we introduced them. Twinkle did not really react as well to them as she did to me and Larry. As I recall, the next six weeks or so were about Twinkle largely keeping to my bedroom, and my being awakened a few times each night by Twinkle's almost feral growling whenever Max crept into the room to look at her. At some point, Twinkle worked out that Max was a pushover, and started pushing him over. After that, she pretty much ruled the roost. I didn't seen Twinkle and Bonnie interact all that much, but Twinkle did like to occasional jump Max and put him on the run.

She peed on just about everything. I'm reasonably convinced that's what landed her in the pound, but I can never be sure. She peed on the couch, the armchair, cat beds, inside boxes, on anything soft lying around, and even once or twice the recliner I nearly always sit in at home. She utterly ruined a futon in the living room; we gave up on it and finally had to throw it out. One time, she peeped in cat basket right in front of the TV, while we were watching, sending drops up the screen. The only places she seemed to spare were the beds... thank goodness! Eventually, as she grew more at home, I guess, it tapered off, though my sandals were prone to take a hit now and then. I wondered if that weren't a specific message. The strange thing is, it pretty much stopped altogether when I and the cats moved into the condo last summer. A few times on the sandals, and that was it. If she ever peed on the rug or the furniture ever again, I'm not aware of it. My speculation is that since the new place wasn't soaked with years of the scents of Bonnie and Max, they were all "equal", and there was no need for Twinkle to keep asserting her claim.

Twinkle had a thing for the bathroom. Anytime anyone went in, she would squeeze in herself and climb up to the basin, waiting for whoever was in there to start running the water for her. She had a real sweet tooth for the fresher water, I guess. We got to the point where we left a slow, steady drip in the bathroom basin for her, which eventually started to rust a hole near the drain, and we had to have the building replace the basin (long overdue anyway). She continued this when I moved into the condo... the problem being that the mechanism there was a pull lever, making the flow much harder to regulate. But I managed.

While not as vocal as Bonnie, Twinkle used to meow at me to get my attention from time to time, usually in the kitchen in relation to treats, and when she did, she had a voice on her that sounded to me exactly like a teenage girl pretending to meow like a cat. It was slightly creepy how human it sounded. It even sounded less like a meow than someone saying the word "meow", clearly enunciated. I kind of treasured that.

Like Max, and utterly unlike Bonnie, she loved treats and catnip. Not long after I moved into the condo, I trained her to eat treats right out of the palm of my hand. It was a wonderful show of trust, I thought. That's something I'm always going to miss.

She wasn't a cuddly cat. She'd often lie in one of the cat beds near my chair, and didn't mind being stroked, but she was never really happy to be picked up, often balked at it and usually complained. A few times she really didn't want to be picked up. Once, she boxed my cheeks, claws in, just to register her displeasure. Another time, she leaned way back in my arms, eyes narrowed and ears flat, and I realized I'd better put her down, NOW. And I did.

Just before she really got sick, one night she climb up onto the back of my chair and put her tail on her shoulder. She was sniffling and sneezed a few times, and threw up what looked like a little phlegm to me. At the time, I was convinced she had a cold or a flu or something. By then, she wasn't interested in eating, and when she was still off the treats in the morning, I took the day off and took her to the regular vet. They figured it was an intestinal infection... if only, if only. But just to be sure, they took a blood sample. When the numbers came back on Monday, everything changed.

I'm glad that I had her, but it hurts that it was so brief, and the last two weeks of her life were such an ordeal for her. But of course, that was all in the hopes it would be a brief, quickly-forgotten bumpy patch in a longer, happier life, so I shouldn't regret it. It's just that, having moved, she seemed much more settled, and it would have been nice for her to have had the opportunity to really enjoy that.

For all her weird ways, for all her self-possession and introversion, I won't say she wasn't loving or affectionate... just on her own terms. I miss her, and to some extent I always will. But at least I knew her and I had these joys, and I hope, soon, that's what's going to matter with me.

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