Meshugana Lyons (August 1997-March 2016)  and Biddy Hawthorne McGraw (July 2000-February 2016)

Meshugana was my cat first. Meshugana was my cat before there was an us, long before we were a family. Long before I knew I’d be moving across the country to go to grad school, and again across the city when we bought a place. I remember when I had to move six blocks away within NW Portland, from one apartment to another, because my floor was so badly damaged they had to tear the kitchen up, he freaked out about the move and tried to climb the walls. Six months later I packed him into a moving truck and loaded him up with kitty tranquilizers. As it turns out, he didn’t need them. He was miserable for the eight day drive, and probably thought he was in hell, but he bounced back just fine when we arrived in Cambridge.

There was that one night in Nebraska when I became panicked that he must have gotten out in the hotel parking lot, but it turned out he just wedged himself between the dresser and the wall, even though there did not appear to be any space for a cat to fit.

He was pissed when we brought home his little sister, and we couldn’t leave them in the same room for two weeks. Eventually he stopped hissing at her and started trying to play with her, and they became the best of friends. He’d groom her if she didn’t do it well enough. I remember working ten hour shifts at the residential treatment program in Oregon, and I’d come home to find him needy and squawky. He was better not as an only cat. He never tried to answer the phone when we went out, or escape to play with the raccoons, once he had a companion.

Once he squawked at us until we figured out we’d accidentally closed the coat closet with Biddy locked inside. “Timmy’s in the well! Timmy’s in the well!”

He was playful once. It feels like a long time since he chased paper wads and red laser lights, but that those were his favorite games. We had to keep all our plants up high because he wanted to eat them all, and then one day he was so arthritic he couldn’t jump up on the couch. I guess that’s why they say cats are “senior cats” by the time they’re seven or eight, so by the time Meshugana was 18.5 he’d been a senior cat for longer than he was not. Biddy only lived to be 15.5 and never seemed as playful. She was serious – serious about needing her space and serious about catching bugs and mice and trying to eat anything she could fit into her mouth. But even she liked to chase her tail, right up until the end.  They were healthy, hardly ever sick, until the end.  It fed my irrational hope that they might be immortal. 

When we moved across the river into Boston, both cats freaked out a little, but they just hunkered down in one closet and stayed there till it was over. They had each other, and that made everything better. And having a deck was nice – the closest thing our indoor cats could get to being outdoors. Meshugana totally took advantage of it, even went across the deck to our neighbor’s side when he needed his space but still wanted to be outside. Biddy never wanted to be outside. They balanced each other out nicely.



~ by realsupergirl on March 17, 2016.

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