Thursday, August 4, 2011

Ada - She Was A Great Cat

I'm not going to lie to you. This photo makes me sad. Tom with Ada, Gibbs and C
This photo sat in a frame on my desk at work  for the longest time:
Who's that? What's his name? What does he do? When are we gonna meet him? Who is he?

There's that honey paw.
Tom adopted Ada and C shortly before we met, so Ada's been a fixture in this home as long as this home has been in my life. I will miss her sorely. She was definitely Tom's cat, though; Tom was definitely her favorite, but she tolerated me in a pinch.  These last few months, it must have started with the cold weather last fall, Ada slept with me, under the covers nestled next to me, every night.  I have a very heavy quilt that I use year-round (yes, even during these recent hot nights) and it got to the point where, when she walked across me at night, I couldn't feel her footsteps because she had lost so much weight. She was a bare little slip of a thing.

Adopted from the Northeast Animal Shelter, she came with the name "Honey" after a single, tan front paw. Not nerdy enough for a household containing a Gibbs, a Maxwell, and a C (who, tipping the scales at 24 pounds plus had a few nicknames, C Monster and C++ jumping immediately to mind). She was renamed after Ada Lovelace, whom some consider the actual inventor of the first mechanical computer, an invention more often credited to her gentleman friend, Charles Babbage.

Okay, history lesson over. Back to our sweet little Ada.

Don't get me wrong: Ada was not the friendliest cat. I'd call her tolerant, at best. On a bad day, you knew to steer clear (if you were another cat, I mean, or a dog).  98 nicknamed her Missy Hissy.  I shudder to think of the nickname he'd have devised if he meant to comment on how she'd swat at you if you got too close to her food.

C and Ada, not littermates but adopted at the same time from the Northeast Animal Shelter, were a finely tuned pair, indeed. I do not believe I ever witnessed Ada eat a bite of human food. No cheese, no table scraps, no bones pulled from the garbage. Strictly cat food and kibbles. I worked my way into Tom's heart by way of C's stomach, never arriving at the house without an edible treat for him. I learned to fake cough whenever I unwrapped American cheese slices, lest C come bombing into the kitchen for his due.  Ada took care of invading birds and insects while C was responsible for land crawlers and slitherers. I believe the forces of gravity worked against C when it came to leaping for a bird, so it seemed a natural division of labor.
Until yesterday, Ada partook of her meals with gusto. Even if her weight loss was interminable, it was not for lack of effort. Her mealtime pleasure was audible.

After breakfast yesterday I let her out, and like every other day, I expected her to walk out the back door, do whatever things cats do out there in the morning shade behind the garage, and come back in five minutes later, just as she has done every day for the last six months.  None of us saw her again all day; I went out a few times checking for her, the last time with the flashlight at bedtime, to no avail. I sadly sort of assumed that we simply wouldn't see her again, but I was lifted when there she was at the door this morning.

Something was definitely different, though, and she was unable to nag at my feet to hustle me along with the breakfast preparation.  She wouldn't be able to make it down the cellar stairs (where I feed the cats behind a dogproof cellar door) and fed her at the top of the stairs. She ate a bit, but I could tell it was a struggle.

She sleeps all day most days, but today's was a different kind of sleep, and it became clear when she couldn't walk across this kitchen floor to reach the water dish, that the end was near. I did not want her to suffer, and I do not believe she did. I think she was very tired, and I believe she was ready to cross the Rainbow Bridge.
She liked to sit in stuff.
Especially stuff that belonged to the boys.

I guess I should be flattered that she didn't like how much
attention the boys paid to the bookshelf. If there
was a little space on the bookshelf, she sat there.

She brought softness and warm cuddles and purrs and occasionally laughter to this home, for which I am grateful. She was, well, Ada.


  1. What a beautiful memorial for Ada. It had tears running down my face this morning. I wish I could write and express myself as well as you.

  2. Awww...Linda! What a wonderful tribute to what looks like a very fine cat who brought you lots of smiles and love. Take comfort in the fact that it seems she didn't suffer much. Thinking of my cats now whom I have since lost...tears come easily because they are such a part of your life. Allow yourself some grieving for Ada. It will help.

  3. We feel your loss and thank you for sharing this wonderful tribute. Clearly Ada was a special member of your family and she has blessed you with a lifetime of wonderful memories that can't be taken away. I truly believe she and Tom are back together again. <3

  4. Thank you, Georgette, Carolyn and Kathy. I do agree that Tom has his menagerie back together up there. I'm assuming they don't have litterboxes in heaven!