I got some sad news yesterday that my cat, Snowy, who I recieved as a gift on my 3rd birthday, has been put to sleep. I know that some would argue that a 21 year old cat has enjoyed an extremely full life, but I feel that there was a possibility that she might have lived on, and perhaps even achieved a world record, had her vitality not been snuffed out.
Snowy came into my life in 1983, chosen by me from the Humane Society animal shelter. She was a white cat, with a black spot on the top of her head. I had specifically wanted a black and white cat because I wanted to name it Figaro, after the cat in Pinocchio. But, she wasn't black enough so she was "Snowy". A few months later, the black spot on her head disappeared, because it turned out that it was actually just grease, and not black fur. So it is a good thing I chose the name Snowy.
For the first 10 years of her life, Snowy was an indoor/outdoor cat. In the beginning of her life with us, she was banished to the laundry room at night, but eventually she crept her way into our hearts and beds. I remember one night when I was 8 I had a new bedspread. It was a comfortor with a world map on it, and it was made for kids so it was kind of polyester/flame retardant. Anyway, I woke up in the middle of the night to see Snowy biting and kicking and ripping the polyfil out of my precious new bedspread. She never did tell me what had possesed her that night.
Also, in those years we had an eccentric, elderly neighbor named Mr. Meroney. He had a subscription to all 3 of the tabloid papers (The Inquirer, The Sun, and The Star) and would bring them to our house for us kids to read after he was finished. I loved reading about Bat Boy and Big Foot and midgets and there were some pretty snappy advice collumns in there too. The problem with Mr. Meroney was that he enjoyed feeding birds very much, and therefore viewed Snowy as a menace. He would shoot at her with a BB gun, and one time she got trapped in his detached garage. My mom went looking for Snowy that night when she didn't come to dinner, and heard her mournful cries comming from inside the garage. For some reason, my mom broke a board off of the garage in order for Snowy to escape.
After ten years in that neighborhood, Snowy and our family moved to a new house in a more suburban setting, near a very busy street. For Snowy's safety, she became an inside cat. At age 14 or so, she became afflicted with chronic hairballs, and puked several times a day. My friends would tease me about my cat-barf house, and we all thought that Snowy would die at anytime. But, after about 3 years of the daily barfing, Snowy recovered and surprised us all by staying alive.
At age 18, Snowy began growing a large pink mass in the center of her forehead. We were all puzzled and repulsed by this. We refered to it as a "unicorn horn", and my mother noticed that the size of the growth rose and fell corresponding with the barometric pressure. Snowy was amazing. The growth became larger and larger, but it didn't seem to bother Snowy at all.
She lived 21 years. She was a good cat. She will be missed.