Crystal cat


Crystal was a Siamese cat.  She died in my lap at approximately 11:00 AM,

December 1, 1993 at the Boston Road Animal Hospital in Springfield MA.  She had

been at the hospital for about a week suffering from some problem with her

pancreas which Dr. Stambough tried unsuccessfully to cure.  She had lost an eye

a little over a year earlier to cancer, and we had been told to expect the

cancer to reappear.  When it became clear that he had done all he could short of

exploratory surgery, I very sadly told him that we would put her to sleep.  She

had suffered enough.  Nancy and I sat with her for a while, with her in my lap.

I stroked her gently all the while, and she tried to find a comfortable

position. She talked to me at first, but then just lay quietly in my lap.  After

perhaps half an hour we decided with a heavy heart that the dreaded time had

come.  We called for a doctor.  He came and gently inserted a hypodermic needle

into the IV catheter already in her left front leg.  Crystal did not seem upset

by this. The doctor then slowly and steadily pushed in the plunger on the

hypodermic needle and Crystal just was quietly peacefully gone.


I am going to miss Crystal - a lot.  While she is still fresh in my mind I want

to record here some things about her that I don't want to forget.


We purchased her from Jane Baker in ##.  We intended to buy one Siamese cat.  I

looked down into the tall cardboard box where two kittens lay asleep together in

a heap.  I instantly realized that I could not separate them.  I said that we'd

take them both, and Nancy, without hesitation, agreed.  Thus we obtained Crystal

and her brother, Monkey.


As the years passed, Crystal developed an attachment for me and Monkey one for

Nancy.  Right from the start Crystal loved to have me pat her, sort of like a

spanking, on her back at the base of her tail.  She'd arch her back and look

alternatively at me and then up into space as I slapped away, purring all the

while.  If I stopped, she would look at me imploringly, asking for more. Perhaps

it was that which drew her to me, or perhaps it was my being male.  It was

clearly evident that Monkey viewed Nancy as a mother.


Crystal would appear on my desk as I was working.  She would meow softly,

cocking her head and peering into my eyes, and reach out to pat my face gently

with her paw.  She wanted me to "spank" her.  It was clear that if I was going

to get anything done I would have do as she desired.


I never ceased to be amazed at how uniquely feminine she was, in the way she

stretched, in the way she sat, in the way she talked to me.  She liked to lie in

my lap when I watched television in the evenings.  She was very light, not over

seven pounds.  Sometimes, as she lay thus, if her head was facing mine she would

look up at me and speak to me softly.  I would speak back to her in a voice

which I used for her.  I'd stroke her back gently as we spoke back and forth to

each other quietly.  And thus, with her alternately closing her eyes and then

opening them to look up into mine, speaking to me if I looked into her eyes,

we'd carry on a conversation.  I don't know what we were saying, but I do know

that we were communicating.  I think that it was the way she talked to me that

made her so special to me.


If I tired of having her on my lap, I'd move sideways in the armchair and she

would wiggle her way in beside me.  There she would curl up and nap.


Crystal and her brother meant a great deal to each other.  Crystal was an indoor

cat while Monkey would go outdoors if the weather suited him.  She knew she was

an indoor cat and that her brother was an outdoor cat.  I'd open the door as

both of them sat there.  Monkey would go out, and she'd just watch him go.  We

have a screened-in porch, and she liked to sit there on the picnic table and

experience the outside.  When Monkey came in again Crystal would examine him

thoroughly, grooming him with her tongue.  She apparently believed that he

shouldn't have eyebrows, for she chewed them off. Sometimes they would groom

each other, she licking him all over his face while he simultaneously licked

hers, both with their eyes closed.


Monkey knew that Crystal was an indoor cat.  Once, when the cellar door and the

bulkhead door were somehow both left open, as I was doing something in the

driveway by the bulkhead door, Crystal appeared there in the driveway.  Monkey,

outside also, screamed at Crystal and chased her back towards the door of the

screened in porch.  I was amazed.


Crystal loved to be with us when we were in bed.  If either Nancy or I were sick

in bed during the day, Crystal would spend the day curled up in the bed beside

us.  It was very pleasant to have her there.  Monkey and Crystal would lie

beside us when we went to bed and read before turning out the lights. However,

we did not want them sleeping on the bed during the entire night, so we made

them leave then.  We'd have to force Monkey to leave, but Crystal would always

leave on her own.  She did not like to be forced to do anything. She did not

even like people to hold her in their arms.  She'd give them perhaps fifteen

seconds to let her go, and then she'd wiggle and claw to get free.


If you tried to pat Crystal on her back, she'd collapse her rear legs and walk

away, her rear legs collapsed as she went.  She nonetheless held her head up in

a very feminine manner as she crawled away.


After Crystal lost her eye to cancer we did not expect to have her with us much

longer.  She then became much more precious to me, and I looked forward with

dread to losing her.  My moments with her became even more valuable.  Monkey had

taken to sleeping with Addie, our female Golden Retriever.  I decided to let her

spend the night with us.  She was very pleased, and insisted on getting under

the covers beside me with her head on the pillow beside my head. Sometimes she

would appear in the middle of the night, speaking softly and imploringly into my

ear while stroking my cheek gently with her paw.  I'd lift up the covers and she

would wiggle her way in beside me, her body against mine and her head beside

mine on the pillow.  There would be a short period of loud purring, and then

she'd spend the rest of the night there peacefully beside me, tolerating quietly

all my tossings and turnings.


Crystal was a very playful cat, in contrast with her brother who shows little

interest in play.  She would take note if I crinkled up a small piece of paper.

If I threw it on the floor she would swat it around and chase after it, sort of

like playing soccer with herself.  When we went upstairs to bed, she would tear

upstairs ahead of us.  We have a large rug-covered scratching post with crossed

horizontal beams at the top at about my eye level.  One corner of the cross is

filled in with a shelf.  She loved to climb up there, sometimes going up the

hard way, that is, around outside the shelf.  She would jump from the vertical

post out, upside down, to grab the carpeting on the outside of the shelf, and

pull herself up onto it.  She loved to have me "spank" her up there, and would

race up there anytime I offered to do so.  She would also jump down across the

considerable space to the nearby chairs.  She loved to rip up the carpet near

the base, stretching in her exquisite feline way while doing so.  That was where

she did her scratching.


Crystal had two litters of kittens.  Monkey was the father of the first, before

he old enough to be sterilized.  Crystal was wonderful mother.  I used to watch

in amazement as she lovingly nursed and groomed her kittens.


Crystal gave me a special insight into the wonderful world of cats.  I am very

thankful for having been able to have the experience.  I shall miss her

terribly, but I feel better for having written these things down.


                                                        Ted Kurtz