Friday Five – Liz the Cat Edition

This has been a difficult week. Monday night, my thirteen-year-old cat Elizabeth had to be rushed to an emergency vet hospital, where she passed away Tuesday afternoon from heart failure. It was the worst eighteen hours of my life, no exaggeration, but I was grateful to at least get to say goodbye. She and I had been through a lot together, and her loss has hit me pretty hard.

So, I thought that for this week’s Friday Five, I would try to come up with five facts about my late cat.

1. The day Liz adopted me, my housemate (who knew much more about cats than I did) identified her as a boy. So, I named her Jenai after the character in Digimon, one of my favorite cartoons in grad school. A few days later, the vet confirmed that she was in fact a girl, and I switched her name to Elizabeth. But the first time I yelled at her, I called her Elizabeth Jenna, so my cat in fact had a first and middle name.

2. Liz came into my life just before I started living online, so when I started posting about her I often confused people. I would just talk about her, and people would comment, “Is this a person?” or “Please tell me this is an animal of some sort.” So, to help clarify, I started using the tag “liz the cat” so people would be less likely to get confused…which is how I learned people don’t actually read tags.

3. As a kitten and young cat, Liz loved Tomb Raider. In fact, she would watch me play and then shimmy along my antique chaise or climb up the screen door and crawl over to the top of the door. I started calling her Lizzie Croft, and made sure to shut down my laptop every time I left the house. (I was struggling with Tomb Raider 2, and just knew that one day I would come home and find that she was not only playing, but was past where I was struggling.)

She didn’t just love watching the game. She also loved the first movie. I had a rack for my DVDs, and regardless of where it was in the rack, she could always find it when I asked her what she wanted to watch. As she got older, she became less interested in the movie, but we did watch it together last Saturday and I found myself grateful that was one of her last experiences. (We always watched Tomb Raider on Lara Croft’s birthday.)

4. Liz took to Seattle far more quickly than I did. I had been giving her beef and chicken treats, trying to figure out which one she liked better. But when we got to Seattle when she was three, I started picked up more fish-flavored treats and she thought that was awesome. Her favorites were different varieties of salmon, and she ate them right up until the end. (In fact, we’re passing on a full bag of salmon-flavored treats to a nearby shelter.)

5. Liz was notoriously anti-social. People would think I was kidding when I warned them, and then would find themselves hissed at, scratched, or peed on. Part of it may have been the life she’d had the first month of her life. Part of it may have been that her mother was Siamese. We’ll never know. We just know Liz wasn’t the friendliest cat, and she didn’t have a problem with it. It was really her brand. Everyone knew the big black cat of doom, and many feared her, even when they had only heard of others’ run-ins with her.

There really is so much more I could say, but these are really her highlights. I’m still heartbroken, and probably will be for some time. She was my world.

The Cat Editor

My cat recently decided to start forgiving me for our rather nomadic year. I’m grateful. I was missing that little black ball of fur.

Of course, now that she’s decided she loves me again, she’s reasserting her roles in my life.

In the past, she was my cuddle bear who liked to try to assist with needlepoint and macrame jewelry projects whenever possible. She also had an affinity for Tomb Raiderand stealing jump rings from my workspace.

Now, however, she’s matured. She still likes to curling up and sleeping with me. She’ll even snuggle my stuffed animals if I’m not available. She sniffs my tea to make sure it’s safe and she monitors my internet use to make sure I’m not going to cat-unfriendly sites. (Her favorite site appears to be Miniclip.com.) She sleeps on my newly washed laundry to make sure I’ve folded it well, and my favorite jacket to keep it nice and warm for me. (Hey, I’m allowed to be delusional.)

She’s also decided to take an active role in my writing career. I tend to write sprawled out on my bed with either a sprial or my laptop in front of me. Liz takes a great deal of delight of walking across my workspace and stopping right in between me and whichever medium I’m writing in. I have to force her to move on. It’s great. I love that my cat takes this great interest in reading my raw writing (only my camp kids ever showed any interest in that). She sits on my notebook when I’m working on a critical scene or trying to get something down before I forget it. She paws at me to play with her when I’m trying to figure out how my most familiar character would react to something just thrown at him.

Really…she might be the best editor a girl could ever hope for!

Of course, some things never change. I’ve been reading the Paths of Darkness omnibus lately, and she came today to sit on the book while I’m trying to read Sea of Swords. When I read Sea of Swords after it first came out, she frequently came over to sit on the book. I’ll never know what she has against that book, but it’s quite obviously not her favorite Salvatore book.

Kitten Yoga

When my cat was little, she used to love it whenever I did yoga. She liked to curl up behind and then pull my hair while I was going through my prone poses.

She stopped doing that when we moved to Seattle. In fact, I nearly stopped doing yoga myself for several months.

I started doing yoga again this past spring, and Liz didn’t seem terribly interested. I’ll admit that it bothered me. I’d lost my yoga buddy.

Well, I can’t be upset any more. She realized the other day that I’m doing yoga again, and today decided that I needed her expert treatment while I was working. She decided my cobra pose made a nice bridge for her to roam under, back and forth. Then while I was doing my prone poses, she decided she needed to attack my hands whenever they were near the floor.

There’s nothing quite like doing Kitten Yoga. Perhaps next she’ll figure out how to spur me on to Anything Goes Martial Arts Yoga…just to protect myself from her interference.