Temi by Joy / Your auntie

Four years ago, somewhere in Seattle, some people were evicted from their apartment. They left the apartment along with their dog and cat. The people were never seen again, but their neighbors began to complain about the dog barking (the animals had no food and water). The landlord finally opened up the apartment and out ran the cat.

Later that day, the cat returned and curled up on the doormat in front of her apartment home, awaiting the return of her unfaithful owners. She was a young cat, tiny, brown tabby striped, green eyed and lithe-legged. A kind person took the cat into their home and then set about looking for a home. She found my sister. So we took this waif home and named her Temi, short for Artemis

Temi was not much to look at..it was her personality I remember so vividly. Very few things frightened Temi; she greeted everyone who entered our house or who was just passing by on the street. You’d never guess that her first custodians had removed her claws. She probably weighed three pounds, but in her own mind, I think Temi believed she was rotweiler sized. Clawless Temi climbed to the roof of the house, kept all neighbor cats from the yard, chased squirrels, scaled trees and had both of my dogs buffaloed to the point that she could sleep where she wanted. If something/someone bothered her, she could set up this awful yowl that would bring the dogs running to her defense (therefore we often called the dogs ‘the Temi bodyguard’or ‘Temi’s muscle’). She was tough, but she also allowed the dogs to lick her, adored a massage and loved to be curled up near a person.

One day I brought home an orchid and suspended it about 4 feet up the wall. For a year, an on going strategy of ‘keep plants from Temi’ had gone on, ever since we adopted her. The other cats had always been courteous enough to ignore the plants, but not Temi. We thought things were safe, but Temi found a way onto the top of a shelf and by stretching all the way out, she got a mouthful of orchid leaf.

Temi came very close to death; her kidneys went into failure and from then on she often could not hold food down and drank loads of water. The vet gave her a few months to live.

A few months after her brush with death, we moved to a house with a yard from our 3rd floor apartment. At some point, Temi slipped outside. We were terrified that she’d be hurt because of her lack of claws, but at the same time we noticed that her sickly, sticking up fur was slick and flat to her body for once. She began to get better, she gained some weight and pretty soon she was coming and going through a cat door. I know people say don’t let your cat outside, but I believe she would have died that winter if not for the sun and the trees and the green grass.

For three years she laid in the sun, greeted guests and played with the dogs. She was still sick, but you’d never know by looking at her. I regret that sometimes I lost my temper with her habit of (loudly) peeing in the stairway or for throwing up almost everywhere. She could not help it – she drank water constantly to keep her system flushed and the damaged kidneys running. Despite this, she gave us so much pleasure and I miss her mischievious ways so much.

Then, at Thanksgiving last year, she began to deteriorate. When she wasn’t outside drinking water, she slept hidden away in the basement. She lost a lot of weight abruptly in just a couple days. In another day we knew the end was near. Rather than watch her waste away, my sister took her to the vet one last time. I very much regret I was not there to say good bye. She was perhaps four years old, but the most memorable and special cat I’ve ever met.

Good bye sweetie. We all have such a short time here.


Miss you, silly,