Goodbye Allegra

Just a quick post today, no recipe.  May I suggest take out for dinner?

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We said goodbye to our cat Allegra last week.  We had had her for nearly fourteen years.  I remember going with my Husband and our Daughters to Pets Unlimited to find our kitten.  We had hoped for a tiny, brand new baby kitten, one tiny kitten.  We came home with two seven month old litter mates.  They were not brand new or tiny, but when one of them was a silver tabby Daughter 1.0 didn’t complain.  She was 4 years old, nearly five, and loved a Magic Charms book called The Cat Next Door which featured a silver tabby named Clover (and a silver charm necklace in the shape of a cat; what joy!).  The big kittens were already named – Sticky Mango and Satay.  We weren’t all that fond of those names and told Daughter 1.0 that she could name one of the cats. She panicked, maybe with the responsibility, and couldn’t remember the name Clover.  She reached for the name of a character in a book and came up with Charlotte (the famous spider).  My Husband and I named the other kitten (Daughter 2.0 had only just turned 2) and landed on the name Allegra after a cat we had cared for briefly just after college.  The original Allegra was Siamese and this new Allegra had Siamese in her.
Allegra was a noisy girl.  She loved my Husband best.  She would climb into his lap whenever she could, purring, crumpling papers or sitting on his laptop.  She would roll around on his dirty clothes (when he didn’t remember to put them in the hamper which was often) exposing her tummy and acting entirely undignified.  She loved her sister Charlotte.  Charlotte was quiet and tolerant and a terrific hunter (the perfect cat in my opinion).  She allowed the girls to pick her up and move her around.  I always thought of the book Olivia by Ian Falconer – In the morning, after Olivia gets up, and moves the cat… and brushes her teeth, and combs her ears, ….and moves the cat.  Allegra was less tolerant, would sometimes snap at the girls when she was annoyed by the manhandling.
Charlotte died a little over two years ago from cancer.  I liked Allegra more after Charlotte was gone.  Allegra was a very good cat.  She had suffered by comparison to the most excellent cat that was Charlotte.  We got a kitten, Charlie, six months after Charlotte died.  I thought it might be too much for our old lady cat Allegra, but it was the best thing that ever happened to her.  She had a Cocoon-like response to Charlie, playing like a kitten herself.
Allegra’s decline was quick.  On Monday she had little interest in eating; by Wednesday night she had trouble breathing.  Our kind and gentle Vet on Wheels, Dr. Bolivar, came on the day of the #hellastorm (yes, they cancelled school for rain!).  My Daughters were here with me, and the Boyfriend.  Dr. Bolivar ran through the possible causes for Allegra’s sudden decline and the possible treatments.  Her prognosis wasn’t good, any treatment would involve a trip to the animal hospital.  In the best of times, Allegra was terrified to travel to the vet’s.  It distressed her so much that she would pee on herself in the carrier.  We thought that putting Allegra through that kind of ordeal would be cruel, especially at her age, and decided to let her go.  We cried and Dr. Bolivar said a prayer and quietly she was gone.
As I write this, Charlie is sitting next to me in the spot where Allegra always sat, on top of the cable box.  Maybe he’s missing her.  Or maybe he just likes the warmth of the cable box under him, like she did.

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