I had a recurring dream before I found Aida. I phoned all of my friends and told them about my new kitten. "Her name's Aida. Aida Velveeta, but that's just her stage name..." I had searched for my cat for weeks. On a trip to Knoxville to have my wedding dress fitted. She wasn't there. Nashville on the way home. No her. The pound in Collierville. No Aida. The Memphis/Shelby County Pound. She wasn't there. And then, in a small cage at the Memphis Humane Society, I found her. Tiny, shaky and newly operated on. Someone had abused her. Her tail had died and needed to be docked. "That's my cat," I stated to the lady at the counter. "That one? Are you sure?"she replied incredulousy. "Yes,"I sighed, "I'd know her anywhere."
And I adopted her and brought her home where she could be safe. I promised her that no one would ever hurt her again.
You see, I needed that promise myself. My father had committed suicide a few weeks before. I figured maybe we could patch each other up.
We often joked that they were so close that they had always traveled through lives together, trading which one got the short tail in each incarnation. A border collie, Carmen had a long fluffy tail. But the only black on Carmen was on that tail. A thin line of it right where a docking would occur. This time it was Aida's turn apparently.
The abuse always caused her trouble. She leaked when she slept. She had bowel problems. And she was terribly shy. Fewer than twenty-five people had ever seen Aida in real life. My brother stayed with me for a weekend once and declared that we were imagining her. He swore the pictures were someone else's cat staged in our home. We started calling her the "Ghost Cat".
But Aida had many nicknames- The Big Cheese, Cheesy Poof, Fuzzy Bag of Bones, Stinky McStinkington. The list was endless.
My least favorite was "Bee Hive". Aida liked to crawl into my hair in the wee morning hours and knead it like bread. Only her claws nicked me. Oh, it was painful! Once we had a housesitter who had never met Aida, even though she had stayed here on many occassions. Late one night, as she slept, needy Aida over came her fears and perched on the housesitter's head. The housesitter awakened to what she said felt like a hive of bees stinging her head! She quickly realized that it was Aida. She laid there, taking the abuse because she was relieved that Ghost Cat had finally come out for her. Aida never hid from her again.
Aida was sweet, warm and friendly to us. When Boudreaux came to live with us, he fell instantly in love with her. She allowed him to mouth her head as she went about her business. It was constanly a slobbery mess. Aida didn't mind at all and sought out his company daily.
But Aida's health had been failing of late.
Yesterday, after contacting the vet who saw Zoe through her cancer, we took her to AngelCare and had Kathy Mitchener help us to take her home. Aida had lost more than half her body weight and was bleeding internally. She was constanty leaking fluids.
A fighter until the end, Kathy took little Aida back to put in the catheter in her arm. Aida started jumping up and down like a monkey. Pop! Pop! Pop! Then Kathy quietly told her that she didn't have to fight anymore. Aida stopped. Laid down, stuck out her paw and allowed her to insert the needle without moving a muscle.
Kathy brought her back to me and Hud and laid her in my lap.
It was a sweet and peaceful ending for my sweet and peaceful friend.
I love you, Aida Velveeta. Kiss Carmen and Zoe for me. But stay away from Tee Tee. She never really was a fan of yours. Well, of anyone for that matter.
Aida was sixteen.
* Thank you, Kathy Mitchener. You are the kindest, dearest person. You gave her the peace she deserved. Hud and I appreciate everything you did for the three of us.