Thursday, May 17, 2012

Cozy Pet of the Month: Tara!


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. 

13 comments:

Lori Cimino said...

I am sure Tara is not at all suprised to find herself in the limelight being the queen kitty that she is. In fact she probably thinks that it is about time she was held up as a shinning example to kittydom everywhere.
Love that you did this and I would love to see a cozy pet story every month. It is one of my favorite aspects of cozies due to the fact that I cannot have pets where I live. It has created a big hole in our lives.
We lost our beloved Buster Klump, our 11 year old english bulldog 4 years ago this June. We still miss him deeply.
So I thank you Melissa for all of your Tara stories. It gives me my "pet moments.
Am reading THE CAT THE WIFE AND THE WEAPON right now. Sometimes I feel envious of Jillian and her kitty relationships. But I am glad Leann allows to be a part of their lives.

Mirjam said...

Tara's tortie-tude sounds familiar to me as I have a tortie of my own! :) Tara sounds like a great kitty!

Shirley said...

I have torties, too, and just love them, agree about the "attitude." None of mine have any white on them, I thought only Calicos had some white colors.

Your Tara is gorgeous, and I love her name! ! I named my torties 'Winnie', 'Snickers', 'Sookie', and 'Pennie Peanut.'

Melissa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Melissa said...

Shirley...you have 4 torties??? How on earth do you keep up with them LOL.

Tara actually looks like a calico on her face and tummy, but the rest of her body is tortie. I've looked it up online and they just call it "tortie with white."

Leann Sweeney said...

Melissa, Tara is absolutely beautiful. What a wonderful story and that 150 blood sugar is PURRFECT! As you know, we lost Agatha last month. But it wasn't the diabetes, just old age, that took her. She didn't even need insulin anymore. Yes, trivia fact: cats are the only mammal that can cure themselves of insulin dependent diabetes! Thanks so much for sharing Tara and her story!

Shirley said...

Melissa, I am retired now so I am spending more time at home. I am expected to keep the dry food bowls full at all times.

I have to leave the house to maintain my sanity!

Elaine said...

I had a tortie myself; her name was Tess, and she had that Tortie-tude, for sure! Unfortunately I lost her at age 9; she hid symptoms until it was too late, and the required tests and treatment would have amounted to torture. I have a gray tabby named Gretchen now, and she has made her own place in my heart - but I will never forget Tess or her predecessor, Imp, who lived to 17.

DebbieRh said...

My Pomeranian princess, Pixie, is 14 years old. She has had several bouts with seizures and several illnesses where we thought she was going to cross the rainbow bridge, but that little stinker is a tough chick! lol she is as frisky as can be, and has an attitude, too, but is the most loving companion I have ever had. She smiles all the time, and loves everyone except the UPS man lol. She adopted us about 5 years ago, and I truly do not know what I will do when she does die.

Lizzie said...

What a beautiful kitty!!

Me said...

Melissa's story really touched my heart! Like Melissa, I had a fur-kid with attitude in spades. Her name was Lucie and I was blessed to know her for 19 years. She was the "cat love of my life" and, after 4 years, I still miss her. Never having had children, she was my "baby". At age 6, she was diagnosed with a thyroid condition that she accepted with a little "piss and vinegar" cat-i-tude. When I think back, I am amazed that she dutifully took medication every day of her life for 13 years. She was a beautiful cat who stole my heart and although she has passed away, she will ALWAYS be in my heart!

Jane R said...

With the exception of one, all of our family dogs have come from shelters or rescue groups. Our very first shelter pet was a wee little dog of uncertain origin. At 6 weeks old, he had been found in a field by a kind farmer. Our daughter called him a "Vid" for "very important dog". He had the body of a border collie, the face of a german shepherd and the ears and tail of a corgi (both very large). His legs were short and he weighed all of 32 lbs. Mr Blackwell (Blackie) came into our lives when our son was just 8 years old and he lived with us for 16 years. He travelled all over the country with us, shared our celebrations and helped us raised our family. He was one of the smartest and most loyal dogs I have ever encountered. When we said goodbye to him more than 6 years ago it was one of the hardest things we've ever done. Although we've had many fine dogs in our lives, Mr Blackwell was the first dog our children experienced and, to this day, still the best.

Dru said...

Tara is beautiful and I'm glad that she is with you.