happylaney

It's time to lose your mind and let the crazy out.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My Lap And Heart Are Empty


Java's story starts in Fresno, California in 1997. I was living in a four bedroom apartment that did not allow pets. It was summer, and all my roommates went home, and I had the place to myself. In August I was moving into an apartment with Katie the Lady (another story for another day) and that apartment complex did allow pets. Katie didn't necessarily want a cat, but I knew that if I got one before I moved in, there was nothing she could do. There was a cat hanging around Katie's apartment, and when I finally decided to bring that cat into my life, he was sick. I named him Fernando, fed him some milk, and he died overnight in the bathroom. It was traumatic. It was getting to be mid July when I saw an ad in the grocery store for free kittens. I called the number and asked them if they had an orange male. I can't remember what they said, but when I got there, all they had was a black male. I took him. We had about two weeks in the Bulldog apartments where they didn't allow cats, and he was a kitten taken from his home and he liked to cry and meow. The building manager, Greenie, who I was friends with said he wouldn't tell on me since I was moving. I was the only girl working long hours in the vineyards, and I can remember that first day the guys asking me if I left the toilet seat up because indoor cats could drown in the toilet. I rushed home at lunchtime, much to their delight. Every night when I would get home, Java would meow and cry until I picked him up. I used to carry him around like a baby after I took a shower, and fix my dinner, talk on the phone. From the very beginning he was affectionate, needy, attentive, and demanding. He learned to sleep through the night quickly and soon we moved into Katie's apartment on East Nees.

Java stayed only in my room until I could get him declawed, which was maybe September. After he got full rein of the apartment, he liked to dig in Katie's houseplants, spill vases of flowers and water on her wood tables, and drive Katie crazy. Still, on many lonely nights when I spent hours entertaining myself by making bagels, Java was right there with me. He was my best and most steadfast friend out there in Fresno. Surrounded my people who didn't know the real meaning of friendship, Java and I only grew closer.

In June of 1998, I moved home, back to Missouri to take a summer internship at AB, and then a fall internship back in Sonoma, so Java moved into the farm with Mom and Dad. He was excellent on planes by then, and the trips were always painless. Java won Mom over in no time, and she was always opposed to inside pets. He was charming, well behaved, and proper. She used to set a towel on the sofa for him, and he also sat right there. He spent a Christmas Eve at the farm surrounded by 20 Hoffmeisters, one louder than the next, batting wads of wrapping paper, or walking around the top of the sofa. He was never shy, one of the most social cats ever. He loved to watch the birds in the window bird feeder. He got out one time (that I know of) and tore a big hunk of hair out of the farm tom cat. He always ruled the roost.

In January 1999 he came back to Fresno with me for one more semester, and in May 1999, Java, Dad, and I drove back to Missouri.; Dad in the driver's seat, me in the passenger seat of the truck, and Java in between on a pillow. He was always an excellent traveler.

October 1999 brought us to my first apartment on my own in south St. Louis. He was about as flexible as a cat could be, never feeling like the new place was strange, always sniffing it out and then finding a nice place in the sun to take a nap.

November 2000 was when my mom died, and Java became a huge source of support. Java and I had a lot of bonding moments in that apartment on Jamieson, but when the time was right, we opened our hearts to one John Mooney. John likes to remember a night when Java knocked over a cup of water on me in the middle of the night, and I like to remind John when he thought Java was attacking him in the middle of the night, and it turns out it was just a shoe. =) At this apartment, we also welcomed Tabasco.

Our two years in Soulard seem like a blip on the time line, all that truely sticks out is the addition of the kittens, Tony Danza, Chester, and the other one we gave away.

We've been here the longest. This was the place that Java lived the longest. We spent everynight curled up in the red chair watching tv. I couldn't sit down without Java jumping up onto my lap, at the computer, on the sofa, sometimes even at dinner. We loved to take naps together on the sofa, loved to climb high on my chest like he liked the smell of my breath. He was very regal. He was everywhere I was. He was my constant. And the way he was with the girls was just unbelievable, but I guess it was believable because it was Java. So exceptional. He let them climb all over him, pull his tail, his fur, his ears. There were many evening with both girls and Java on my lap. He loved the attention, and I loved that he loved them.

Last October, I changed the food, and although I can't prove it, I blame Tabasco and Java's death on that food, or the change in food. Tabasco put on weight, and Java lost. I switched back to the regular food around Thanksgiving, but by then it was too late. I took Java to the vet on December 23rd, first time he had been to the vet, first time he needed to go to the vet, in 8 years. After a few visits and check ups, the vet decided he had a fast growing tumor, and was old too to operate. On Dec 24th, 2011, Tabasco died. I have a hard time believing that having two cats be so sick so close to each other is coincidental. Maybe I just want something to blame, some reason, but for me that reason is that food. When the vet gave us that bad diagnosis, I never thought Java would make it until Valentine's Day, but he did. We cherished those last few weeks with him, but he wasn't the same cat. He was weak, and didn't really know what was going on around him. On Saturday, Feb 19th, after not eating for at least a week, he took a turn for the worse. I watched him all day, making sure he was breathing. I took a good nap with him on the couch, and he died around 11:30 p.m. at night, right after I moved him to the bed to sleep with us. I held his paw.

We buried him at the farm on Sunday. And now here I am, missing him. Except for those few months he lived at the farm, we have been together everyday for almost 14 years. That's 37% of my life. I miss him. He really was one of a kind. Not that many cats are that social, that well behaved, that patient with babies, that low maintenance. He used to seek me out, he used to find me and sit on me. I really think he loved me as much as I loved him. And now I'm left with Tony Danza and Chester, who only meow of rub up on me when they are hungry, who hide when guests come over, heck Chester hides when the girls are here, which is like all the time. They are very independant, they don't make me feel loved. They make me feel used. I know I should feel closer to them now, or appreciate them now, but I don't. I'm mad that Java is gone, and they are still here. I know that sounds horrible, and I feel bad for not being more attached, but it's the truth. Who's going to sleep with me and protect me when John is out of town? Who's going to lay on my clothes and hang out while I take a bath? Who's going to snuggle with me on my weekend afternoon naps? I am feeling a void.

And if you didn't get enough of Java pictures up above here's a movie or two. This first one was taken in November 2009, and shows just how good natured Java was. This second one shows just how Java was there for it all, always politely wanting to be included, never intrusive.

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4 Comments:

  • At 1:19 PM, February 23, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Sorry for another loss, Elaine. It took me a couple of days to read it all! --I think it is quite a compliment to know someone well enough to really know what you liked most about them- and to explain that to other people. --even pets- so that was a nice honor for Java. -Amanda

     
  • At 1:10 AM, February 28, 2011, Blogger Jaci said…

    Elaine, I am so sorry about Java. I remember that summer you had him in the apartment and you telling me on the phone how he would meow, but you didn't care, cuz he was so snuggly. He is unreplaceable, one of kind, kitty cat and you should forever cherish what a loving friend he was when he was alive. I hope someday your daughters have such a fantastic animal they love so much.

     
  • At 11:10 AM, March 01, 2011, Blogger happylaney said…

    I hope that too, Jaci. Thanks for the kind words from both of you.

     
  • At 10:53 AM, March 14, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Elaine, I just read this today. I am so sorry too. We all loved Java - he was one of a kind. Christy

     

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