Babycat died this morning. She died at home, very comfortably in her little nest. I knew she was going. She stopped eating about a week and a half ago and she stopped grooming herself about the same time.
But damn. It was still really sad. I was petting her and talking to her while she went and it really really sucked.
So let me tell you a little bit about this lovely little cat.
First of all, her name wasn't originally Babycat. It was Zelda. But I lived in a great apartment in Sag Harbor. It was half of the second floor of a converted Victorian house. So I had nine gorgeous windows that wrapped around from my kitchen to my bedroom (which sat on top of the porch roof).
I had my sister's cat (long story) whose real name was Tish but she had been bounced around so many times that everyone always said "how is that orange cat"? Well that orange cat hated living alone. She licked all the fur off her belly and legs and the vet told me that I had to get her a kitten because she needed a baby to take care of.
So I dropped "that orange cat" off at home and went to work. At the time, I was working for the East Hampton Star and one of my coworkers said "Hey--one of the partners in my husband's architectural firm has a houseful of kittens who will be ready for adoption in a week" so off I went. It was Saturday of Memorial Day weekend and I drove out to Hampton Bays to check out these kittens.
And they all looked exactly alike. Almost like the Baldwin boys.
But one of them was just as gray and fluffy as the rest of them but the tip of her tail was as white as white can be. So I picked her. And she rode home in my lap. (I actually stopped and did a radio remote on the way home but that is a whole other lifetime and I don't really feel like getting into it right now. Suffice it to say--she was famous on the radio for five minutes).
So we went home to the great apartment with the nine windows and the older cat who just wanted to love her. And then her life got even better.
You see, my downstairs neighbor was a Japanese ex-sumo wrestler who was working as a sushi chef in town. And he fell in love with her. And, like a good little kitten, she fell in love with him.
Every night, she would wait in the kitchen window for him to come home and she would follow him from window to window and, when he got to the front door, I would have to let her run down the stairs to meet him. Of course, he would have little treats for her.
They were best friends. But his English stunk. So as they did their window walk every night, he would chat to her in Japanese and call her Babycat.
And that is how she got her name.
Of course, at that point, it seemed to make a lot of sense to start calling the orange cat, Orangecat. And when I adopted a really tiny cat I named her Tinycat. So now, all of my cats have --cat names. Sadly, it's a little like the Ramones now. All of the originals are gone. I have three cats left--Heatherthecat, Maxthecat and Smokeythecat. But they all had established names when I got them so all the original cat cats are gone.
Let's get back to Babycat.
She was a good girl. She really liked people, especially children, and was a very friendly but undemanding cat. About six years ago, she went deaf and got scared and moved into the linen closet for three years. I called the vet and they said as long as she is happy, leave her alone. My neighbor--who hates cats but is the best next door neighbor you could ever ask for--came over when I got stuck in DC in a blizzard and actually got her out of the closet for about five minutes.
She was as happy as I could make her in the closet but I knew it wasn't ideal. There was someone in my life for a while who actually got her out of the closet and helped her live as a deaf cat in a hearing cat world. I will always be grateful to that person. It was very special and kind.
A few weeks ago, she stopped eating and stopped grooming herself.
And this morning she died.
She was a really good cat.
Here's BadKitten Day 22