By Melissa Lapierre
My angel kitty Sashi crossed the Rainbow Bridge on February 15, 2006. She was almost 17 years old, and had struggled with various health problems for a couple years prior. Her final illness and passing was a devastating loss for my family, and though the house was so empty without a cat, we allowed ourselves time to grieve.
After a year went by I started scouring the local Petsmart Adoption Center every couple weeks. A few caught my eye, but I knew I would know it when the right one came along. On May 15, 2007, I was scanning the cages when suddenly I just gasped. I saw her. The shelter had named the beautiful tortie Kelly; she had recently been picked up as a stray. I knew immediately that she was "the one". I went home and looked her up online, applied for her the next day and got the call that afternoon that I was approved. What fun it was to ready the house for a cat again!
I knew the name Kelly had to be changed. It just did not fit the most beautiful cat I had ever seen. I was stumped until my mother suggested Tara, because of our favorite movie Gone with the Wind. Tara the tortie...it was perfect!
On May 20th Tara came home. (I'll never forget how she hissed and growled at another cat in a cage on her way by as if to say "Ha ha...I'm going home and you're not!) She immediately made it hers. There was no fear or shyness; it's like she knew she was where she belonged. Now one thing I never knew was that torties are no ordinary cats. They are known for their "tortie-tude" and we soon discovered that Tara has it in spades! For the first several months she got herself into plenty of trouble before learning what was acceptable behavior, even managing to fall out the bathroom window 5 weeks after coming home. She despises all other cats, and we think she may have pushed the screen out trying to move a neighbor cat out of "her" yard. On another occasion she carried on at the door so badly that the unwanted visitor ran across the street all the way home like he was screaming for his mommy.
Eventually she settled down and has become a treasured family member and an absolute joy. But she still has opinions on most everything and has the most expressive face on a cat you will ever see. I can just imagine what she would have to say if she could talk.
One of my favorite cozy mysteries is Leann Sweeney's Cats in Trouble series. The adoration that Jillian Hart has for her beloved Chablis, Syrah, and Merlot is the same love I have for my Tara, and I love all the feline trivia she sprinkles into the books. Her latest in the series, The Cat, the Wife and the Weapon, has extra special meaning for me. Jillian's boyfriend's cat Dashiell has diabetes, and last summer Tara was diagnosed with the same disease. It was a terrifying diagnosis, but she has adjusted with such bravery. She gets 2 insulin shots daily, I test her blood at home, and her sugar level has gone from nearly 500 to around 150. The vet is very pleased. For the first several months I emailed Leann frequently. She had been through it all with her beloved cat Agatha, and provided me with a wealth of information as I digested all I could. I was so saddened when sweet Agatha passed away a few weeks ago.
Tara is 12 now, and I hope and pray we have many more years together. I just can't imagine life without her.
Thanks to Melissa for sharing her story. The Cozy Chicks will donate to the ASPCA in her honor. How about you? Is one of your pets getting older? Have you been together a long time? Tell us about your fur kid and we'll add your pet's name to our donation.