Siberian Iris, May 2006.
On this day last year, we lost our dearest cat, Miss Roya. I first met Roya as a 6 week old kitty and she lived in wierd little house by Kitchykoo and Roosevelt High School in Northeast Seattle. She was the only female in the litter and the only one who wouldn't go into the box. I really wanted her and my roommate and I put her in a little box, caught the bus up back up to the Ave, went to get cat litter, food and beer with this yowling small cat. Did I mention we were on the bus? Luckily, we ran into my brother buying beer at the store and he gave us a ride back to the hovel we lived in off of 4th ave NE and the rest is history.
Miss Roya was no ordinary cat. She looked like a cow with her spots, she was very interactive,very gregarious, but very gentle and acted like a dog. Our friend B loved to call her Buddah Kitty, because that is what she often resembled. She lived with me for a few years in various houses that 20 somethings live in. When I moved into an apartment that didn't take cats, my parents graciously took her for what they thought would only be a few weeks.
She lived on the lake with a 75' sandy litter box for the next five years. When my parents retired to California, Roya came to live with TH and myself. She fit in very well in the house. TH loved her even if she was allergic to her and after Jacques came to live with us permanently, they became best buddies.
When your cat reaches 16 years old, you think they are golden forever. Roya was healthy and spritely and we kept up with everything that she needed (geriatric screenings, kidney food, cat toys and rare steaks). Each summer I would gaze at her in the garden enjoying watching her surroundings and wondering if she would be there the next year. She passed 16 year milestone, then 17 and then her 18th birthday. Sure she slowed down, but we kept her happy, hydrated and other than the yowl fests, she seemed content.
About ten days before she died, she just slowed down and lost weight. We had to feed her new things to keep her interested and when I took her to the vet, he said it didn't look good. TH came home early from Oregon to be with us. Her vet said her time wasn't now and to watch her and she would tell us when she was ready to go. TH stayed home with her that day, she went outside and took a gander around her garden. That night, she died at home. I can't tell you how happy I was that she was able to do that one last time.
I can't go into the garden this time of year without thinking of Roya, her love of spring, having to coax her to come in and finding her teeth marks in the irises.
If you see an iris today, that is Roya, smiling at you.