Friday, April 16, 2004

You Can Call Her Rita

A while back, my brother posted about our cat, Rita. His was a sad post, talking about how we lost her last year. This shall be a happy post. I hope.

Derek mentioned how she slowly moved from the porch to the garage to the utility room before finally taking control of the house. I remember the day Mom walked in from work and I was sitting on the floor next to the ottoman and Rita was curled up on top, purring contentedly. Mom just sighed; she was already under the cat's spell.

I read in TS Eliot's book of poetry that the Broadway play "Cats" was based on that cats have three names: the name their humans give them, the name that other cats give them and the name that no one will ever know because that's the name that the cat calls itself. If that was true, I figure Rita called herself something like Bastet (the Egyptian cat goddess) or Queen Cleopatra. She had a very regal bearing. Rita would only sit on your lap if you had a pillow ready for her first.

I wasn't sure that she had any kitty friends that would give her the second name mentioned by Eliot so I gave her a second name: Princess Angelina Contessa Louisa Francesca Banana Fana BoBesca III. I got the name from Animaniacs which is where the name Rita came from as well. I thought it fit her.

Rita thought she was people. She would talk to you and tell you about her day like Derek mentioned. She would stand at the door and cry "Out!" when she needed to go out. And she was moody, like any woman is.

One night we were getting ready to go somewhere and for some reason that ticked Rita off. She showed her displeasure by running by Dad and wacking him on the foot with her claws. When he looked down and said "What the hell is your problem?", Rita shook her paw and we swear she extended the middle toe. A drive-by attack followed by the finger. She let him know she was mad.

One of my college classes was held at 9am. That was early for me so I set my alarm. I was awakened by not only the alarm but by Rita's tongue on my forehead and her urgent meowing. Apparently I had been sleeping through the alarm and the noise was bugging her. She was licking my forehead to wake me up then would stand on her back paws and smack the clock with her front paws like she had seen me doing many times. She was a smart kitty.

She was tough, too. She tried to take on a raccoon and would have if Dad hadn't made her come in. She beat up the neighbor's cat pretty bad. You just didn't mess with Rita.

I miss her a lot. She was a great cat. I keep telling Mom & Dad to get another kitty but they haven't found one special enough to replace Rita.

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