Friday, April 19, 2013
In Loving Memory: Charlene
Charlene was born to a timid grey tabby in 1997. We got her from a friend of mine who told me that her father was a murderous tomcat who stalked the neighborhood where she lived, a mean cat with a little black mustache and a brutal reputation that earned him the nickname Hitler.
Charlene took after her dad, mostly. As a kitten she ran wildly around the house, attacking anything that moved. You would be innocently walking across the house, minding your own business, and she would grab onto your ankles with her needle-like claws and hold on tight while you tried to walk. I imagine she looked something like a tiny supplicant begging for mercy.
She never purred.
We heard that having a batch of kittens would sometimes mellow out a cat, so we let Charlene have one batch of kittens before she was spayed. She was a terrible mother, and motherhood did not mellow her out at all.
When Abraham and I moved in with my parents after graduating from college, we brought with us a little button quail named Braveheart. That button quail became the bane of Charlene's existence. She spent hours staring at his cage, calculating ways to bring about his demise and subsequent consumption. When her machinations proved fruitless, she fell into a deep depression, sleeping excessively and urinating on the furniture, something she'd never done before. When Braveheart passed away in 2006, her depression immediately lifted.
My mom had another cat for a while, an orange tabby kitten named Tigger. Charlene hated him, too. When Tigger was hit and killed by a car a few months after arriving at my parents' home, we all suspected Charlene had lured him into the road when she saw the oncoming vehicle.
Over the years, Charlene mellowed out quite a bit. She was never friendly with small children, but she did spend long hours sitting on my mom's and dad's laps. My best memories of Charlene come from the wee hours of the night, when I would get up to take care of infant Soren. She was always up during the night with me, winding around my legs while I changed Soren's diapers. During those times she would purr an audible purr, which from her was as rare and beautiful as a blue moon. It was nice to have a little company during those long nights.
Charlene enjoyed mousing and napping in sunbeams. She became ill a few weeks ago and passed away in my parents' home at the age of 16. She was a good, albeit cantankerous, kitty and we will miss her.