Sunday, March 28, 2010


I miss my boy Drake. In 2005 I was living with someone who I'll call Bronx. I had my girl kitty Shazzar with us and had turned her into an indoor kitty much to her chagrin. I mentioned I was considering getting a friend for her so she wouldn't be so bored. Since Bronx was allergic to cats and not happy Shaz was with us in the first place I was surprised when he came home one day and said he'd told a lady at work we'd adopt the last kitten from a litter her cat had. The kitten was the run and no one wanted him. I love the underdog, or undercat in this case, so I was all about taking this kitten.

We met the lady in the parking lot of a hospital in Bellevue since it was halfway between our homes. She handed over the little kitten and I was instantly in love! He was a tiny puff of black and white. Bronx drove home and I held the teeny one in my arms. Bronx wanted to name him Oreo thinking he was being clever because the kitten was black and white. I do believe I rolled my eyes right at him and told him no way. I did a little research and found the name Drake which is an English form of Dragon. Bronx was born in the year of dragon and because he was insisting this kitten was HIS because Shaz was mine, I thought I'd find a name that would suit the both of them. Secretly, I was also naming him after the cat in Rats of NIHM, but Bronx wouldn't have understood that. Drake fit the poof quite well.

It's so fun to have a kitten. Everything they do is cute and sweet. He was so funny to look at because he was teensy and looked like he'd stuck his paw in a light socket. His fur was a fuzzy halo around his little body. He was so curious and tried with all his tiny might to be a big cat right away. He'd try to jump onto the counter because Shaz was up there, but couldn't make it even half way. He was all over the place and into everything. Shaz was mortified! Drake kept her on her toes,pissed her off and entertained her. I'd catch her gently sniffing him and letting him be near her, but mostly she acted as snooty as she could. I could tell she was pleased to have him around in her own bitchy way. Bronx didn't really know what to do with him. He'd hold him and try to cuddle, but Drake would quickly wander off and come over to me because he'd learned from the get go that I provided the most love...and food. Drake rapidly became my cat against Bronx's plans.

It was a very rough time in my life. Very soon after Drake took over my heart, my daddy was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Life became consumed by Daddy's illness, so Drake was the little light spot that helped keep us smiling. Daddy loved Drake and got such a kick out of holding a kitten in the palm of his hand. When Daddy passed away, he was surrounded by his entire family. It was a beautiful yet exhausting experience. I needed Bronx to help with the cats and I asked him to go home and make sure they had food and water. When I got home that evening, Bronx was asleep on the couch after eating an entire frozen pizza while the cats' food and water dishes were completely empty. I knew then what I'd suspected for along time. My relationship with this person was over and Drake was definitely my cat.

The following couple of weeks were a blur. I missed my Daddy and cried while my cats, both Shazzar and Drake gave me comfort. Bronx was away at a work training camp, so I didn't have to deal with him much and could take comfort with a few of my closest friends and these soft animals who seemed to know I needed them. Eventually things were settled. We had Daddy's memorial and laid him to rest. I began to consider moving home with Mom so I could offer her my strength and also because I was planning to start grad school. However, Mom already hd a full house with my brother's family, so moving in would make the house break at the seams. Ideally, I would continue to live with Bronx as a roommate. One night I discussed this idea with Bronx over the phone saying I'd move into the second bedroom and increase the amount I paid for rent. He found this unacceptable and said I shold find a new place. I explained if I left Drake would come with me. Again, he found this unacceptable and said I was taking Drake out of spite. I went off and pointed out how he was allergic, didn't show the cats any love and couldn't even manage to put a scoop of food in a dish. He didn't agree and said there was no way I was taking Drake. I hung up on him then called my friend Michelle and brother Paul and we had me moved out of the apartment with Drake in tow by mid-day the very next day. Bronx never even tried to take Drake back.

Drake was always my guy. He grew and grew and grew until he was a good 15 pounder! So much for being the runt! His fu was long and he didn't care to be brushed so he'd clump up and run from me if he saw me pick up scissors because he knew I was after them. He was such a raggamuffin! He was a total boy--always into things, not that bright, a little dirty and sometimes a bit stinky. He wasn't particular about anything and simply seemed happy to be alive. He didn't talk much so it was surprising if he ever meowed. But he sure did purr! Pet him once and he became a motor and would rub and rub against my hands and for some reason bonk his head against whatever was closest, whether it was my leg or a wall. He'd do this for a minute or two and then just sort of walk away as happy as can be. He also like to do this on his own with my bedside lamp. I never understood his obsession with the lampshade, but he loved to rub against it and knock it round while purring. I only minded when he did it at 4am. He was much more of a watcher and follower. Shazzar is very talkative and active. She's all over me when I'm around, has a lot to tell me and will roll around and speak and kiss until she's comfortable and curls up into a perfect ball. Drake would watch the whole scene unfold, sigh and flop over as though passing out and then, well, pass out. He kind of looked like a drunken cat when he'd sleep. He'd pick arbitrary places to sleep and I could often find him in that spot for a few weeks before he'd move onto a new choice. And he was passed out, barely moving when I'd pet him or move around him. He was not one for going outside. I often had to force or trick him. He'd follow me out when I was grabbing the mail and I'd rush back in and shut the door before he knew what happened. He'd go to the back glass door and look in at me with such a look of panic and give out a feeble little cry "me-e-e-e-ow!" I never understood why he hated it so much since it wasn't as if he was traumatized. He made some cat buddies and mostly found sunbeams to lay in. I also learned he went to the neighbors' houses to visit.

There are so many stories. Getting his head stuck in a hole in the wall and me needing to break the wall a part to get him out. The couple of times he got himself trapped on the roof. My nephew Jake putting Drake in a box hoping to keep him. The way he'd swipe at Shazzar's tail as she drank from the sink or how he'd rush at her like a linebacker just to piss her off--he was never disappointed with her dramatic screams and fits of hissing. How he'd hang off my friend Kristi's car window and stare at her through her windshield. He was such a good cat, everyone's little buddy and my big handsome boy.

I was in Hawaii in January to run a race. While I was there the weather was beautiful back home. Drake decided he actually did want to go outside, a very rare choice for him to make. Two neighbors witnessed a car come flying up the road and hit Drake. They said the car was going so fast they didn't have time to see who it was. Instead, they focused on Drake and said he was probably gone instantly. I pray it happened so fast he didn't have time to be afraid or feel any pain. One neighbor picked him up and took him home with her. It took her a day to find Mom and bring Drake back home. Mom called a few people to figure out when and how to tell me and decided, I believe rightly so, to wait until after I was home. She picked me up from the airport and told me when we were only minutes from the house. I was devastated, shocked, crushed. I couldn't believe it and felt panicked inside. I wanted out of the car. I wanted to find him. I wanted it to not be true. Was this some sort of horrible joke? A cruel prank? I got into the house and expected to see him him in the entry way waiting for me like usual. Instead it was empty so I laid face down right there and cried. My brother Paul was there and he picked me up and held me. I cried for days and even now still have my moments.

I miss him dearly. He was my boy, my buddy, my baby. He was there for me through my toughest time and there for the best times. I'll miss him looking at me from the floor and reaching up with one paw to poke my leg to get me to pay attention to him. Shazzar misses being pissed off by him and spent the first couple of weeks looking for him. She's still clinging to me and going outside less often than before. He was only four and we thought we had a long life ahead of us together. Now I'm just grateful we had any time at all. He was a blessing.

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Me, Mandi and Mom in Athens, Greece