She was my first cat. We found each other at the Dane County Humane Society in Madison, WI. I was a starving grad student with barely enough money for groceries, let alone to feed a critter or pay for vet bills. But as I walked by her cage at the shelter, she reached out her paw and tapped my shoulder. Of course, that was that.
Well, not quite. Figures I'd get picked by the cat with legal issues. They wouldn't let me adopt her for almost two months. Her owner wanted her back. But the owner was doing time, and the kitten, along with a rather unique collection of exotic critters, had been taken from her apartment by Animal Control. I visited the shelter several times a week and called almost daily. In the end, the adoption supervisor figured a bird in the hand was better than a jailbird. Luna came to live with me in my teeny tiny one-room efficiency. And I lived in constant fear that a hardened criminal would any day show up at my door with a posse of her felon friends to reclaim the cat.
Luna used up several of her 9 lives within the first month of living with me. The first week she fell into the toilet. Several weeks after the toilet incident she fell out of the window. Luckily, it was only half a story down, there were bushes that broke her fall, and she had managed to pop out the screen window and ride it down like a magic carpet. She never again showed any interest in wanting to get closer to nature than a screened-in porch would allow.
The window that claimed one of Luna's 9 lives.
Two months after I brought her home I had to have emergency surgery. My parents arrived from the East Coast to take care of me, and by extension the cat. My parents are a lot of wonderful things, but they are not pet people. My dad stayed in my apartment that first night, while my mom stayed with me at the hospital. The next day dad informed mom that the cat was not right in the head. I had been in surgery when they arrived and hadn't been able to warn them about Luna. The kitten had spent the night doing her aerobic exercise routine. First came the whizzing around the apartment with much bouncing off walls, furniture, and humans. For her next trick Luna would climb up into the cupboard where I kept my pots and pans and knock the whole stack down onto the floor. After scaring herself silly, she would then whiz around the walls for a few more laps, until her poofed out tail returned to normal size. Her final trick was the nightly shredding of the roll of toilet paper. After all that exercise, she would be starving. She would set to work eating her way through the plastic bag that contained the loaf of bread--or whatever baked goods were available. My dad refused to return to the apartment with the cat after that first night and booked a motel room instead. Luna eventually outgrew her habit of shredding toilet paper rolls. As for her other habits, well, anyway. And she maintained a life-long fondness for bread products--her favorites were croissants and brioche.
This is the kitten my dad thought was mentally deranged.
Cantankerous, crotchety, foul-tempered, and a miserable old bag are just some of the endearments my friends have used when referring to Luna. After one round of cat sitting, they all came up with very creative and highly implausible excuses for why they couldn't cat sit again. I guess I can't blame them. Luna attempted to bite every single cat sitter that came into her life--and succeeded on more than one occasion. I'm embarrassed to admit this, but I had no idea, until about a year ago during a visit to a vet dermatologist, that torties have a reputation for their quirky, some would say downright difficult, personalities. I will confess, on more than one occasion the thought that an exorcism might be in order did cross my mind. Of course, I never admitted this to my dad.
Over the years Luna adopted to major life changes, such as moving or the addition of a new critter or human to the household, with less than good grace and much ill-temper. Kitty sedatives only made things worse. When Wing Nut moved in I was living in NE, and Luna was 12. Wing Nut brought with her her own 6 month old kitten, White Socks. White Socks was a holy terror--very reminiscent of Luna in her first year. But Luna would not be outdone. There was much racing, chasing, leaping, launching, and catapulting over furniture. I feared my geriatric cat would break a hip. Thankfully, a reasonable peace was eventually reached.
Luna, shortly after Wing Nut and White Socks moved in. This is her "I'm not coming out till you get rid of them" phase.
Luna, Snuggle Bug, and White Socks adjusting to life in NE.
Wing Nut always treated Luna with love, respect, and a healthy dose of fear, and Luna always gave Wing Nut ample warning, even multiple warnings, if she was not happy and was considering treating her like one of the many dispensable cat sitter. On rare occasions, Luna even deemed to let Wing Nut see her sweet and cuddly side. Yes, she did have a sweet and cuddly side. Luna would flip on her back and snuggle in the crook of my arm at bedtime. She would reach up a paw, claws completely retracted, and pat my cheek or nose. Luna also had a nurturing side--which lasted for about a week when Snuggle bug first came to live with us back when Luna was about a year old.
The black ball of fuzz is 5 wk old Snuggle Bug. And Luna is bathing her.
A week later. Poor Snuggle Bug. Luna's nurturing phase is about to come to an end and kitty boot camp is about to begin.
The final chapter in Luna's life began with a 4 day cross country drive in the back seat of our Saturn, along with the other 2 cats, as we made our way from NE to WA. Both Wing Nut and I came mighty close to losing a limb trying to get Luna into her carrier on the fourth and final morning of our journey. The steady diet of salmon, shrimp, and mackerel which we were able to feed her once we arrived in Seattle earned us Luna's lukewarm forgiveness for having had to resort to a broom to get her out from under that motel bed.
And then we brought home the dog. Ill-temper does not begin to describe Luna's reaction to Diva Dog. The only time the dog was tolerable was when she was sleeping, and therefore looked like she was dead. Her dislike of the dog did not stop her from eating the dog's kibble, drinking the dog's water, playing with the dog's toys, and sleeping in the dog's bed. And woe to the dog if she dared complain about any of this.
Luna takes over the dog's bed.
I said it couldn't be done, but Wing Nut proved me wrong. All 4 eating at the same time and in the same room. Technically, Diva Dog only has her 2 front paws in the kitchen, while the rest of her is in the next room.
Luna was not a talkative cat but would chirp when she was playing. She would sit for hours on the table or desk while I worked, never interrupting or demanding attention as most cats do, just keeping me company. No matter how late into the night I worked, she would stay with me. She had the silkiest fur and mesmerizing green/gold eyes. She was not a shy cat. She was alert and inquisitive and mischievous. Luna was spunky and feisty and irascible and down right pissy at times. We were made for each other.
This is Luna, so not impressed by the fact that an experienced photographer with fancy camera equipment was trying to take her picture. Photo by L. Janas.
PS: Thank you so very much to all of you who left us comments on the earlier post, Luna. Your kind words and thoughts were most comforting.