Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Farewell, Raina

Yesterday heard the sad news that Raina, the Cordell's cat, has died. She was about thirteen and a half.

I first met Raina the first month or so I was in Seattle, living by myself at the Woodcliff Apartments on East Hill in Renton. She was a personable young stray, a beautiful half-grown cat expecting her first litter of kittens, who was happy to be petted and given the occasional treat. She even wandered into my apartment once, having jumped the fence and considered the open sliding patio door an invitation.

I certainly had no objection, being fond of all cats at all times. Unfortunately, this was just a week or so after Parker had flown out (in a carryon bag, escorting Janice on her first visit out to see me, about a month after I'd arrived in the Pacific Northwest myself). And it turned out he had objections to another cat entering his territory. It was bad enough, from his point of view, that he'd had to exchange a house and fenced yard for a little two-bedroom apartment,* but he drew the line at other cats dropping in (which was odd, since he'd tolerated the semi-stray that came with our previous house, Tiffin -- but then Tiffin had been a v. mellow cat).

The first thing I knew about Parker making Raina's acquaintance was a growl and a hiss from down the hall and the sound of much clattering as two cats raced by: Raina in the lead and Parker in hot pursuit. She made the little patio, cleared the (six-foot) fence in a single bound despite being v. much pregnant, and made good her escape.

Not long after that she was taken in and adopted by Bruce & Dee, who provided a good home both to her and her five kittens. And when the kittens were old enough, we adopted one of them: Rigby. Of the other four, Bruce & Dee kept one (Bengal), Lisa Stevens adopted one (Jake), and I think a fireman we didn't know took the other two. For several months we took Rigby down to see her mother and play with her brother once in a while, until one visit when Rigby and Bengal decided each was a stranger. That was the end of that. Poor Bengal, a v. sociable cat who won a contest and had the world's greatest room for a cat specifically designed for him,** died a year or two back, and now we hear Raina is gone as well. Too bad; she was a beautiful cat, and a friendly cat, looking exactly like our little Rigby (herself now our senior cat but still as petite and almost as mighty a leaper as ever) except she had long hair whereas Rigby has shorthair. One other thing Raina and Rigby had in common was that Rigby loved to be chased by Parker; she wd stir him up and then tear away, with him making pretty good speed right behind her. This seemed to make a certain amount of sense, given that he'd actually chased her before she was even born -- and she got away from him that time too. Since Parker died she's tried to get our younger cats, Hastur & Feanor, to chase her, but while they'll express an interest they tend to wind up looking in astonishment in the direction she took; they're just no match for her.

And so goodbye to Raina, a good cat who lived a good life who I'd not seen in a long time but will still miss.

--John R.

*though still more than twice the size of his and my first apartment together, on Kane Place in Milwaukee's Lower East Side.

**since dismantled, I'm told, alas.

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