Home | Boney | Birdie | Boney & Zoey | Zoey | Lily | Bajor | Faye

Lily came to Galen along with a table she had bought. I think that was in 1980. I met Lily and Galen in 1981. She (Lily) was a small, highly athletic and limber black cat who, we discovered some years later, was actually a tabby with deep red stripes that showed, very slightly, only under bright sunlight.

I was very allergic to her (Lily, that is) and would sneeze uncontrollably whenever I was at Galen's. But she (Lily, again) was enamored by my beard and loved to rub her face in it. I didn't mind. I loved the attention and fell completely in love with her.

I doubt that Lily's memory will ever fade from my mind. But I've decided to commit those memories to (virtual) paper, as insurance. What follows are vignettes, each only a short paragraph. It's not a story.

--

For awhile, Galen had a small garage apartment on King Street. The bed was a loft with a desk underneath. Next to the bed was a window--the old kind, the top of which you could pull down, in the same manner you'd pull up the bottom window. There was no screen and there was a tree outside. Galen would crack the top just a bit at night to get some fresh air up near the ceiling where she slept. To get in at night, Lily would climb the tree, dig her front claws into the top of the window then let her body go limp, allowing her weight to pull the window down. She'd then hop into bed.

--

If we went for a walk Lily would often sit on the white picket fence two houses down and wait until we returned. Once we did, she'd greet us, "chirping," while running down the driveway toward us. But one evening in 1984 she stopped dead in her tracks when she saw Boney for the first, walking around the corner of the house from the street onto the driveway. (He followed us home.) She looked at him, looked at us, then turned and walked away. She never again waited for us on that fence and she stopped chirping--forever. Weeks, perhaps months, passed before she came into the house for a reason other than food.

--

Lily loved to climb the big avocado tree in the backyard. She'd go high and fast, then turn to see if we were watching, expecting, of course, to be praised for her display. She'd also shoot straight up one of the redwood trees, perhaps as high as 15 feet, again, looking down to see if we were watching.

--

If she didn't like the food we put out (perhaps it was leftovers from the fridge) she'd turn her back to it, look us straight in the eye, then scratch on the floor as though she were covering up a pile of feces.

--

Often after bringing a new item home, Lily would claim it as her own by sitting on it. (The red rug, for instance.) She'd do the same every year with the Christmas paper, strewn all over the floor. And if she was on her red rug, she'd refuse to move from it when we vacuumed.

--

Like virtually all cats, Lily loved to scratch on furniture. She stopped only after we got rid of the wall-to-wall carpeting and replaced the old, cat-tattered furniture with stuff that had fabric that didn't appeal to her. Before that, we tried the squirt gun trick. It seemed to work initially, but she soon caught on and would scratch deeper, staring back at us as we ferociously shot water at her. It was about this time that my friend, Armon, commented, "Don't you know that you don't train a cat. It trains you." It's true but I later learned from other cats that hard-won compromises are often possible.

--

She didn't like it when we left the house. She'd often sit behind the car and refuse to move out of the way. One of us would have to get out and shoo her away. She'd then sit in -front- of the car with her back to us and would stay like that until we left. (Lily would often turn her back when she got upset.)

--

A friend's parents stayed at the house while we traveled to Vancouver in 1988. They'd put her out every night, which greatly displeased her. Leaving the house one morning, they found cat poop on the hood of their car. No one had any doubt that it was one of Lily's unique messages.

--

Boney loved Lily and, being still a kitten when he came home with us, wanted to play with her. She didn't like that. She didn't want a brother. But he'd persist and would wait for her around a corner then jump out when she came walking by. Sometimes she'd slap him or sometimes just ignore him. And they had a routine they'd go through whenever waiting to be fed. As I'd crank the can opener, she'd nudge her head toward Boney, which he took as an invitation, and he'd eagerly lick her forehead. After several seemingly enjoyable moments she'd lift her paw and slap him across the face. He'd rear up, swipe back and they'd then both be up on their haunches, paws going every which way. I'd yell, they'd scatter, then slowly amble to their bowls. Boney would fall for her little "invitation" every time. And yet, after all that, he'd often wait to eat, like the gentleman he was, until Lily had her fill. He'd just sit and watch with what appeared to be great affection and admiration.

--

Cats like to eat grass. Lily loved asparagus. We put two bowls out for her one evening. One had chicken, the second asparagus. She sniffed at the chicken then went for the asparagus.

--

Although she was a great lap cat, Lily hated being held. Of course, I'd insist and would pick her up almost every day, as I've since done with all my cats. She loved high places, so I'd often reward the little patience she had by holding her up high and carrying her around the house so that she could poke her nose into places she'd normally not have access to, such as the top of doors. She loved that. More than once I helped her get at a spider up near the ceiling.

--

Saturday afternoon, 13 January 1990: Lily had been inside for two weeks. I picked her up and carried her to the backyard for one last look. At first, she tried to wriggle her way out of my arms, as she had always done, but she had virtually no strength. The wriggle was nothing much more than a shrug. But she soon relaxed and looked longingly at the arms of the avocado tree. It had just rained and the air was filled with scents of all kinds. Her eyes were opened wide while her nose twitched, taking in the various smells. We weren't out long. But it was one of the most memorable few moments I had ever spent with her.

We returned from the vet's, about an hour later, with her wrapped in a towel and placed inside a cardboard box. I set her outside as I fashioned a small coffin from whatever wood was on hand. We kept looking and calling for Boney so he could know what had happened. But, as we had often said, Boney was nowhere to be found when there was work to be done. (Lily loved to hang out and supervise during yard work.)

We each held her one last time then buried her along the back fence. It was dark and cold and wet by that time. Boney, we figured, was down by the river, or elsewhere, oblivious to the passing of his dearly-loved sister. For months he'd start whenever he'd hear a small sound around the corner. His eyes would get big and he'd look and wait in anticipation of Lily rounding that corner. He became dejected and spent a lot more time inside the house and sat more frequently on the couch beside us as we watched TV, often with an outstretched arm, his paw touching one of us. But, from that day on, virtually every day, we'd wake up in the morning to find him sleeping on top of the bench we had placed above Lily's grave.

See Boney's page.