Thursday, April 8, 2010

Sweet Sixteen!

My lovely little cat is sixteen years old today.  A sweet teen in human years...a geriatric in feline years.  Either way, I'm glad to have her in my life.

Frodo was born on April 08, 1994, in a small animal shelter just outside of London, Ontario (where I was living at the time).  I didn't meet her until seven weeks later, but then learned that she'd been born just a day after my beloved first pet, Cardigan, had died.  As I blogged not that long ago, when Cardigan died, I was was devastated - he'd been a constant and faithful companion to me through various life experiences, and I couldn't imagine another cat ever taking his place.  The day he died was the last day I ever spent in the apartment I'd shared with him; though that may sound silly and overdramatic to some, I simply could not spend a night there without Cardi.  I'd previously given notice that I was planning on moving, but the rest of my lease went without me occupying the place.  Quite simply, when he died, I couldn't bear going back there...even packing up was horrible.

The problem was that, despite my grief about Cardi, I was really lonely without a pet for company.  The moment I moved into my new apartment five or six weeks later, the place seemed empty without a feline companion.  So I decided to find a pair kittens to come and live with me.  And a few weeks later, on May 30, 1994, I met Frodo, and her sister Sam (who died several years ago).  I brought them home the same day.  I named them after my two favourite characters in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series; and while that may seem an obvious connection now, sixteen years ago those names (and the books) were pretty foreign to most people.  In fact, in the first eight or so years after I had the two cats, only one person ever put together that they were named after Tolkien characters who were best friends in his series.

Though no cat can parallel Cardi in character or ability to 'speak,' Frodo is also endowed with a great little personality.  She's my cat, really - far more than Geoff's or Matthew's cat.  She likes the other two well enough, but it's to me that she gravitates, cuddles and sleeps with (every single night!), talks to, shows affection towards.  She's shy with strangers and kids, but has a way of knowing when visitors are about to leave the house - she stands nearby, behind some door or at the top of the stairs, waiting for people to leave and then, within a second of the door shutting, she can be heard meowing her greeting and seen striding regally towards us.  She plays fetch with me, too!  When she first started doing it many years ago, I thought it was a fluke, so I threw her little toy mouse across the rom over and over.  She ran to get it and dropped it back at my feet twenty-six consecutive times.  Hmmm - not a fluke after all.  Even these days, a little slower but just as sharp-eyed and focused, she loves playing fetch.  I never knew cats could do this.

Frodo has distinct (to me) inflections in her various noises that individually I translate as meaning one of the following:
  • "hello" 
  • "it's about time you got home"
  • "it's time for bed...let's go up now" 
  • "I'm out of food - please fill up my bowl, not in ten minutes"
  • "please turn on the bathroom tap for me...I'm thirsty and only cold fresh water will do, so don't try to get me to use my water bowl!" 
  • "move over, you're hogging our side of the bed" (this particular noise is accompanied by a surprisingly strong push of her legs against my body)
  • "you haven't played with me enough today so I'm sitting on your sleeping form and digging my back claws into you until you bloody well pay me some attention...then and only then will we sleep."
The list is fairly extensive - all together, I figure she speaks about twelve different words and phrases in cat language.

Until a few days ago, I thought it was only me who understood the nuances that distinguish Frodo's various sounds.  But then, on Tuesday evening, I noticed Frodo's overflowing bowl of cat food.  I knew I hadn't done that, so I asked Matthew if he'd filled up Frodo's bowl.  "Yeah, this afternoon," was his response.  "You were ignoring Fro and she was demanding her food, so I just filled it up for her.  Oh, and I turned on the tap for her, too - she was really wanting her water - blah, blah, blah, she wouldn't stop complaining until I turned on the tap!"  I enjoyed a good laugh about that - guess I'm not so special after all, thinking I'm the only one who understands her.

At any rate, I'm glad Frodo is in our lives.  I know she's getting old and that I have to prepare for the eventuality that some day she won't be stretched out beside me while I'm sleeping, or pushing me off of her when I accidentally roll over and squish her.  But for now, having experienced in the past the pain of losing a beloved pet, I genuinely and consciously enjoy her companionship...there's none like her.

Come on over here for your Sweet Sixteen kiss, Fro...also cause I'm trying to take a current picture of you to post on my blog!

* Thank you for the comments.  Mim, I LOVE how you've named YOUR pets over the years!!!!!  Thanks for sharing that with me - I was smiling broadly!

1 comment:

  1. Lovely post Ruth :-)

    I'd have made the Tolkien connection 16 years ago, I first read the Lord of the Rings when I was 8 years old, just about the time that we adopted a cat after Tiddles died (he'd walked out of the bush and taken up residence when I was a baby).

    My cats are named according to the TS Elliot method with the Tolkien names filling the requirement for a "name that's peculiar and more dignified."

    So first there was Jonathan Aragorn, my knight in furry armour - he'd jump up and squeeze in between me and Adam in protest at not being the centre of attention. When Adam and I married James Fëanor turned up on our doorstep and joined our family and when we lost James to bone cancer Jack Sparrow and his sister Samantha Tinúviel came along to fill the void.