Marmalade came into my life in 2006. Abandoned from her previous place of residence, I don't like calling them her owners, she was found shivering outside in a bush on Christmas Eve day in 2006. I brought her in from the cold, gave her warmth, food, water & a clean litter box. All of which she accepted graciously. She was instantly safe & she knew it.
I spent that night trying to find a home for her. See, I had put my cat Buster to sleep earlier in the year. I had him for 15 years. He was the first cat I ever had. I'd always had dogs in my life. Buster was special to me. He was the cutest little runt & he carved a special place in my heart. After having to put him to sleep, I swore off getting another fur baby. It's too hard to say good-bye for me. I don't handle it well.
So there I was Christmas Eve calling people trying to find a home for Marmalade. Everyone I know who has a cat was wishing they could take in another one, but no luck. No takers. No matter how much I bragged about this gorgeous cat, no one wanted her. It was breaking my heart. I didn't want to see her on the streets. And then I called one last friend. I was giving it my best pitch to find this cat a home. And then my friend asked me the best question ever....
'If she's so special, why don't you take her home?'
And then it hit me....I should take her home. I could show her a loving home.
And with that, I had an extra special Christmas present....Marmalade.
I remember bringing her home & getting her settled into life in Queens. She was a little nervous at first. Sadly, I had only a few minutes to get her settled before having to leave for work. Luckily she found her food dish & water bowl without a problem. And she used her littler box without any drama. That meant all would be okay.
When I got home that night, she greeted me at the door. She meowed a little & once I reached down to pet her, she stopped. Then she let out a loud purr. That sound amazed me. She was a loud purring cat. It sounded like a jet engine! And oh how she loved to purr.
A little tap on the butt & walking her to a scratch tower corrected her need to scratch at my carpet. She did scratch the carpet every so often, but would stop as soon as I directed her to the scratch tower. I loved how she understood my complaint & quickly obeyed.
Marmalade didn't care for toys. She didn't like those jingle balls or the squeak toys. She did however love catnip! OMG! She was like a junky on it. It was wild. She would lay on the floor & rub the catnip pillow on her face & sometimes she would chew on it. But mostly she loved to just lounge & be adored.
She was social, but in a limited way. The first time she met someone, she would come out & look at you. Then she would give you a headbutt if she wanted to be petted. If you weren't lucky enough to get the headbutt, she would bump up against you. Then you were permitted to pet her. Future visits would give you chances to stroke her. I know she understood all the compliments about her gorgeous colors.
Marmalade always managed to make me smile. She would headbutt me to wake me up in the morning. She would stare at me & wait for me to laugh before she'd blink. It was sweet.
I loved her taps the best. She would sit next to me on the couch & when she wanted attention, she would tap me with her paw. If I dared to ignore the first tap, the second tap would show her claws. Nothing to draw blood, just a little tap with the claws to let me know she means business. If I dared to let it go to three taps, then there would be blood drawn. After learning about the third tap, I never let it happen a second time!
For the record, Marmalade was never malicious with her claws. She never clawed someone! She was always sweet. She never acted out.
Marmalade waited at least three years before she dared to get on the couch! No joke. She would sleep on the armrest or the back of the couch, but never next to me on the actual couch. It drove me nuts! And then one day after living here for three years, she dared to climb up onto the couch next to me. I scared her. I gasped & she ran away. Oy. But she came back a few minutes later. I tried to avoid looking at her. I wanted to let her get comfy. She did....but only for a few minutes. It wasn't until months later that she would venture back onto the couch. And not until I put down a blanket for her. Her blanket. The brown fluffy one that I bought for myself, which of course became hers. I loved it. I loved laying the blanket out for her. It meant she knew she could sit with me on the couch. It was our special time to hang out together.
So how do I say good-bye to the little Fur Diva that came into my life when I least expected it? It's been a little over a week now that I had to say good-bye to her. And I still can't believe she's gone. I'm sad for the loss of her, but happy that I had nearly five years with her. I will always look back & laugh at our times together....but I am sad about her being gone. The silence reminds me of my loss. It hurts. I know in time I will heal...but right now I'm sad. I wish I was able to do more for her. I just hope she knows how much joy she brought into my life.
Marmie, RIP baby. I miss you.....