A truly Black Friday

I lost one of my BFFs today.

Sweet Josh, a.k.a. Big Sexy, passed away this afternoon at 19 years of age, due to kidney failure. He was my son’s childhood pet and one of the sweetest, coolest cats ever. He is sorely missed.

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We adopted Josh as a kitten when we lived in Nashville and my son was in first grade. Josh was the strong, silent type – he didn’t meow, rarely said anything, but his eyes and his body language spoke volumes, even when one of his eyes started to go bad. (His right eye – you can see in the photo at the top of this post that it doesn’t look right.)

Josh would beg at the table by standing on his hind legs and gently tapping my arm with his paw. Of course, I indulged him – as did my father when he came over to work on my house when we lived in Alabama. He would make a sandwich and share some of the sliced lunch meat with his “little lunch buddy.” After we moved away, sometimes when I spoke with him on the phone, he would ask, “How’s my little lunch buddy?” Josh also liked spaghetti and anything from Taco Bell.

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Josh was a trooper – he moved with us from Tennessee, to Alabama, to Florida, to Pennsylvania, without much complaint (unlike Morticia, who complains about nearly everything). He was such a sweet little guy. I hope he has been reunited with his old friend Rufus, who passed away in 2009.

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Farewell, sweet furry friend. I will hold you forever in my heart.

My BFFs (Best Furry Friends)

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“There are no ordinary cats.” – Colette

I share my household with two furry friends (although for several years I had three). You may have met a couple of them in my novels.

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Josh has been with me the longest – we got him when he was a kitten and my son was in first grade, so they have grown up together. (Josh is now 19!) I answered an ad for free kittens – he belonged to the owner of a small art gallery near Vanderbilt University. He made a brief cameo appearance as Kassie’s cat in Fiend Angelical.

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Morticia has not been in any of my novels – she’s rather shy and would hate the publicity. She is deathly afraid of vacuum cleaners, ceiling fans, strangers, plastic bags and ducks. (Yes, ducks – she had a traumatic experience with a brooder-full of ducklings when she was a kitten. She doesn’t like to talk about it.)

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Here Morticia proudly displays some of her handiwork. She has managed to destroy nearly every piece of upholstered furniture I have owned since she became part of the family. She ruined two sofas by peeing on them – all the Nature’s Miracle in the world could not get the odour out, and there was nothing to do but haul them to the curb.

In Reading the OED, a delightful book which I heartily recommend for word-lovers, author Ammon Shea offers up some particularly wonderful and amusing words he discovered while reading the entire Oxford English Dictionary. One word he shares is “unbepissed” – “Not having been urinated on; unwet with urine.” He remarks, “Who ever thought there was an actual need for such a word? Is it possible that at some time there was such a profusion of things that had been urinated on that there was a pressing need to distinguish those that had not?” Well, Mr. Shea, I have news for you – if you had a cat like Morticia, you would understand the handiness of such a word. “My brown IKEA sofa is unbepissed.”

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And then there is our fallen comrade, Rufus Maximus. Rufus was as sweet as he was beautiful and had a way of charming everyone he met. He made a brief appearance as Selena’s cat in The Blood Waltz. Also known as “Sweetums,” Rufus went on to that great catnip garden in the sky in 2009, but his alter ego returns – again, rather briefly – in Selena’s Requiem, due out later this year.

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RIP Rufus 1998 – 2009