How I Spent My Summer Vacation, Part 2

Part 2 isn’t as happy. After surviving the long trip from Arizona to Indiana (which I really wondered if she would) my cat, Duchess, died. It’s weird because Chloe, my other cat, died last year in same month. I blogged about it here.

I think Duchess’s death hit me particularly hard for several reasons. One, even though I knew she was sick and didn’t expect her to make it through the night it was still a shock to find her dead the next morning. Also it was the first time I had to deal with one of my dead pets by myself. And I just couldn’t. So Michelle’s Phil had to come bury her for me.

The kids and I went and got donuts and then we went to see Underdog. I figured Duchess would appreciate the irony. We then went to Wal-Mart and got three baby rose bushes to put in a planter out front. We also got some scrapbooking supplies to make a memory book of both Duchess and Chloe. Of course I haven’t gotten to that yet.

Duchess was the first cat I got when I was out of college and on my own sixteen years ago. She survived something like 13 moves, 8 states, and 3 days in close proximity to the dog. She represented a whole segment of my adulthood.

I have a couple of prominent memories of her. She was the most agile and acrobatic of any cat I’ve owned. She could jump to the top of a six-foot bookcase by ricocheting off the wall. In one townhome I lived in the second story railing was visible from the entry way and she loved to prance and pirouette along its two-inch width. Once when the little neighbor girl was visiting she asked me if my cat was training for the circus. I had no idea what she meant until she pointed above my head. Duchess was on the railing, leaning over looking at us, and balancing some how.

However, for all her agility she really was a scaredy cat. When I got her as a kitten, I had to drag her out from underneath the couch at the house she was at. I had to drag her out from under the car when I got home, drag her out from under my desk, my bed, the couch. When we had the big Northridge earthquake she hid so far in my closet I couldn’t find her for hours. Most people never even knew I had her because they never saw her. I knew Malia was an animal person when Duchess made an appearance for her.

I am glad Duchess didn’t suffer. She declined in just a few days and went quickly. It’s odd for me not having a cat in the house. There’s been very few times in my life when I haven’t had a cat. Charlie now has run of the house, I don’t think he’s figured out entirely why. I am glad for him though. With the kids gone at school all day, the house would feel awfully empty without some animal of some sort in it.