By Daniel J. Haughton
Her name was Tabitha and she came into my life in mid-2009. I am disabled and live with my parents in central Mississippi with (at the time) my mother’s Pomeranian and my own gray and white tabby domestic shorthair rescue kitty. We had decided among us that we wanted another cat in our lives and based on a spate of television stories about Savannah cats at the time, we had them on the brain. With that in mind, I took to the internet and did a bit of research.
After finding a breeder we felt was reputable, we contacted them and inquired about the possibility of getting a kitten. The breeder had pictures of several kittens of the then current litter on her site and they were all gorgeous, but one in particular caught my eye. She was specifically noted as being “not for sale” and she was older than the other kittens. Significantly so. I asked about her and was informed that she was not for sale due to a heart defect that had been diagnosed when she was younger which would likely give her a dramatically shortened lifespan and quite frankly made her unmarketable. The breeder clearly cared for the cats and kittens she bred, but it’s a simple fact of cat breeding: serious birth defects mean a kitten is damaged goods from the start.
But I didn’t care. Tabitha was beautiful and I believed she deserved a forever home. Oh, she would’ve had one with the breeder, of course, but she was meant to be the pet of someone else’s family. That’s the whole point of cat breeding. To provide other people with cats to love and cherish. The breeder had given us fair warning about the potential problems she would face and we knew what could happen. She also only asked us to cover the charge of shipping her to us (she was on the East Coast, and we, of course, are on the Gulf Coast).
And so an F2 Savannah Cat arrived to our home one day, shyly peeking out of her pet carrier and wondering what that yapping little beast beyond the door was. She was roaming the room we prepared for her by the end of the night and playing with us the next day. She knew no fear. By the end of the first week she’d managed to teach the pom his place without hurting him and was on her way to earning the shorthair’s trust as well.
I’d expected a demure princess, but she made clear that she intended to be queen of the house. She cavorted and played with the dog and other cat as if she’d always been there, she chased the Wicked Feathered Thing and dueled with the Evil Red Dot and purred very loudly. Her meows, though, were so dainty and chirping as to be comical. She stole our hearts. What follows are four pictures of her in all her glory.
One day, a mere thirteen days after her arrival, I woke up to find that Tabitha had passed away in the night. She looked as though she just went to sleep and never woke up. I like to think it was a peaceful passing. Seven years earlier, another cat of ours, a pet of twelve years who had literally saved my life on an occasion when I was in a very dark emotional place, had died of liver cancer. We’d had him cremated and couldn’t bear to bury him and leave him alone, so he’d been on our mantle since then. With Tabitha’s passing, we interred them both together in our back yard to keep one another company.
The day before her passing, I’d gone to I Can Has Cheezburger and created this picture (heading the page). It still fits today.
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