Two is the name of the cat who lived with us for 12 years, and sadly, our time together ended Christmas Day. She was too ill and weak, and so we chose to do the humane thing. Yes, we are so sad. Let me tell you about our cat, and you will understand why.
We found Two in a shelter in Northern New Mexico called Taos Feral Feline Friends, where its director had cats live in rooms in her house, except for the feral ones who had a separate building. Leanne brought us to the so-called old and obese room, and this black cat came up to me immediately. She started talking. I told Hank, “this is the one.” He wanted to look around, a fact I reminded the cat several times.
We usually give our animals human names. She came with the name Dusty, but that didn’t suit us. So, we named her Two, in honor of the two best cats we owned, also black. Actually, her full name was Dusty Two Cats. (I believe she was named Dusty by her previous owners, whoever they were, because she loved to roll in dust.)
We discovered that Two, who we suspect was Burmese, was a chatterbox who tried her best to communicate with us verbally. I swear she said “no” and “I don’t wanna.” We tried but failed to get her to say “yes,” however.
She also understood when we said “eat” or “out.” I am not making this up.
Unfortunately, her previous owner had her front paws declawed — something we would never do to an animal — so we had to keep that in mind. If she wanted to go outside, we were with her, especially in Taos where coyotes are opportunity feeders.
Not having front claws also hampered her hunting abilities, but lizards were catchable. As for birds, she waited patiently until one hit the large front glass of our house and dropped to the ground.
She drove Hank nuts when she escaped inside the culvert on our driveway.
We solved that situation when he and our son, Zack, on a visit, built a secure fenced-in yard. She liked to sit beneath the tall covered gate — that’s a picture of her above — and even once ventured onto our house’s roof. Hank climbed a ladder to coax her down, but typically she did it when she was ready.
What else can I tell you about Two?
When Hank had hernia surgery she sat on his lap, pressed gently against the incision, earning her the name Nurse Two-Two.
Probably because of that experience and the fact he was home more than me, she clearly favored Hank. Two and I had our relationship although it was clear I was second banana. I wasn’t hurt.
During the winter she would sleep between us, under the covers with her head on the pillow.
She loved baking in the sunlight or beside the wood stove. Another of her favorite spots was the ironing board, especially when we were trying to iron. She didn’t play with toys and typically, wanted to be in the highest spots of the house.
During our cross-country move from New Mexico to Western Mass., she spent almost all of the 2,400-mile trip on my lap after she complained vehemently about being in a carrier.
To get out attention she sat on a newspaper or book that we tried to read, or in my case, walk across the keyboard.
Two would sit on Hank’s lap, his legs extended for more than an hour while he watched TV. I was impressed. Ten minutes was my max.
She had her favorite napping spots. Last night, I looked at the chair in our front living room and imagined her there, curled and relaxed.
The list goes on. Two was a member of our family and so much a part of our life. She trusted us. We trusted her.
This year she had two bouts of a urinary tract infection that required antibiotics. But her decline began in late fall. She was, by her records, 17 or 18 years old. She still ate and drank water but toward the end, she began distancing herself until we decided we needed to let her go.
During the past week, I think about feeding her when I get up or that she’ll be watching in the living room window when we come home. The list goes on.
As I’ve said before, the hardest part about loving an animal is losing one.
Will we get another cat? Yes, someday. But this cat will have a tough act to follow.
Good-bye, Two. We loved ya.