She teaches art so when she named her kitten ‘Henri’, her students just assumed his name was spelled with an ‘i’ as in Henri Matisse, the French artist.
I never met Henri. He hid when I visited her place in Colorado Springs. I know he had a feline buddy, Lola, and a canine buddy, Cai, a Welsh Corgi. And Jenn, my friend, the one who fed him and cleaned his litter box.
Henri died the other day.
I cannot imagine losing one of my cats.
They’re not dogs – creatures who come running and wagging when you enter your home. They might come. They might not. The occasional welcome is a grand occasion.
They don’t do tricks. They will chase toys. Or not. Depending. When they do, it is enchanting.
They make trouble. Occasionally knocking over a vase. Too often scratching upholstery. Stealing snacks from forbidden counters.
And they are rude -- wandering, uninvited and without averting eyes, into the bathroom.
Still. When the world overwhelms me and one of my cats climbs onto my lap (or shoulder) and I stroke his softness, feeling the responding purr, I am comforted, soothed. And when the other unexpectedly pounces out from behind a door, I laugh, delighted.
To lose one such creature -- a being from an entirely separate species-- who places his whole being in your hands with absolute trust – is to lose a part of your heart.
So my friend mourns Henri. And I understand.
Sunday, December 30, 2012
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