She stood up on her rear feet, commanding you to put food in her bowl when it was time for her to eat. When she was wound up or wanted to play, she ran around corners of our hallways and out from under the beds, pouncing on us as we walked by. Tinkles climed the screen on the top half of our outer front door if we were too slow to let her in and when it eventually tore from the bottom up she simply jumped through if the main door was open. She drinked mostly from the toilet and stood on top of sinks like a queen, demanding we turn them on and as she slurped she would sneeze when water went up her nose. Tinkles was an insane hunter who could really sprint and climb like it was nobody’s business. Rabbits froze in place, not wanting her to give chase and she would stare them down for minutes on end before leaping into action. Sparrows would yap and swoop down in self defense, making her flinch, chicken out and plead at the door. She ate the critters she hunted often and much of the time ended up throwing it up later on-it seemed she never learned. Tinkles would sit on blankets in one of our closets and either manage to close the door on herself or someone who didn’t know she was there closed the door when she wasn’t wise enough to pay attention. After a time, relentless scratching and self pitying whinning ensued and low and behold, we found out she had done it again, still not having learned her lesson.
Tinkles was not all bossy and mischevious. Well, she could be bossy when she wanted affection. Independant spirited as she was, my lap and dad’s lap were utopia to her. We think she liked men because they’re big and stinky. For such a small cat, her purr was hefty like a grown man’s snoring and its hot tub engine like constancy would make you wonder how she didn’t end up hyperventilating. Quite often she liked it when I snuggled her like a teddy bear which was irresistible either admist a reprieve from demanding stretches of school and work or just because neither of us had anything better to do.
She retained a hysterical amount of young kitty energy and behaviors far into her adult life and in her late teens she showed less of her age than many cats do in their early teens. Tinkles stayed safe outdoors despite her intrepid nature-she was territorial and her bellows at other cats could be louder than many dog’s barks. Often we went for walks and she’d either follow us or find us on the other sides of the neighborhood. She could croutch down within inches of the ground to get under the opening garrage doors and once chased a skunk inside. Other than closets and eveybody’s beds and favorite recliners her resting places included my bathtub which she begged petulantly to lick after I had showered, dad’s work bench in the garrage and on top of the covered grill. I had to remove her from where mom slept or she’d often bite mom, the ornery little thing. I didn’t call her spoiled brat and Seargeant Tinkles for nothing.
Tinkles, 4/4/2004-5/4/2023…19 years lived forever young, one year as a stray and the others in our loving home after her brief time at the Humane Society
Our special girl was only six to seven pounds (two thirds that size when we adopted her) her entire life, so perfectly cute that it was ridiculous and her fur was like silk. She had a clear, high pitched meow that carried. Whether or not she did this on purpose, her facial expressions and bodily gestures seemed as if they were syncronized with her white patterns and like Timone from the Lion King you knew right away she was after something. The entertainment and companionship she brought to our lives was one of a kind.
She experienced a brief period of failing health at the end of her life.
Despite her remarkable health for what was 90 in cat years, Tinkles’s time came. Within the period of a week her diet, activity and interactions dramatically decreased. A visit to the vet confirmed she was experiencing kidney failure-the most common health complication for aging cats. Dad and I came to the difficult conclusion that her life would likely end in a sustained period of suffering if she wasn’t put to rest. Tinkles was not denying that an end of life state was upon her. We had found clarity in the midst of it all, I had built a remarkable circle of confidents (family, friends) for empathy to whom I’m grateful for and her final days were as peaceful as possible. Thanks to all of these things and really to God-who now watches over her-I found the grace to go through her final uncomfortable days with my heart filled with courage and compassion. Being able to nourish my capacity for unconditional love-while it hasn’t dissolved the grief of her absence-has helped me to rejoice in my love for cats and having had the chance to be part of Tinkles’s life journey.
In closing, from the orginal Bambi (1942) this reminds me of the love my parents have taught me and the love I retain for Tinkles as her cat daddy-which I will always be and she will always be daddy’s girl, both in life and in passing.
Love is a song that never ends
Life may be swift and fleeting
Hope may die yet love’s beautiful music
Comes each day like the dawn
Love is a song that never ends
One simple theme repeating
Like the voice of a heavenly choir
Love’s sweet music flows on
Thank you for reading. Wishing you solace if you’ve also had a dear pet pass on to God’s caring hands.