I'm afraid to say my family has suffered another feline loss. No, Karma is just fine, and is even now prowling around on top of the bookcase looking for something to knock over. No, I'm speaking of my parents' cat, Popsey.
Popsey, a beautiful white cat with cow-like black splotches, has been in my family for 18 years. She was a stray, found by neighbours of ours just before they were to head out on a holiday. They asked if we could look after her until they got back, after which they would start looking for a home for her. We didn't really need another cat at the time - Tigger and Christine were handful enough - but she just had such a sweet nature that we couldn't help but fall in love with her.
I'd like to stress that I was not responsible for her name. I'd suggested Pudding, but I was the only one who liked that one. My mom wanted to call her Popsey, and she was alone in that, too. However, she really wanted to name one of the family cats, and she put her foot down. Popsey it was. And looking back, I can't imagine her having any other name.
Apart from being very sweet - she loved licking fingers, and always had to be in a room with someone else in it - she was also extremely clever. While Tigger would just sit and howl for what he wanted, Popsey would try and figure out how to get it for herself. One of her greatest accomplishments was figuring out how to open folding doors. She worked out that if she pushed her head into the middle, a space would open up on the side that she could squeeze her way through. This was not always a welcome skill - we had to shut the cats in the kitchen area each night to keep them from howling us awake at all hours of the morning. Tigger was especially bad, and not just because he was he best howler. He also figured out that if he reached his paws under my parents' bedroom door and tore up the carpet, he got instant attention. To save the carpet, he and the others had to be shut in the kitchen. Which had a folding door. That Popsey loved to push open. You can see the problem.
She was also quite strong. When we were moving house, my mom shut the cats in my father's den in the basement and stacked a couple of crates of pop in front of the door. That would have kept most cats safely secure until all the furniture was out, but Popsey was a very determined little cat. She pushed and she pushed and she got the door open, leading to all kinds of pandemonium trying to get all the cats back in the house again.
Popsey started out very small, but then she discovered canned food and ballooned. It was hard to control her weight because we always had to leave food down for the other two cats. Tigger could be relied upon to eat his food promptly, but Christine was another matter. She liked to look at her food from a distance, then circle her dish a couple of times before finally having a little nibble. Then she'd go away, no doubt planning to finish off her food at a later time. Except there was no later time, because Popsey would woof it. And then, when Tigger started getting old and frail, Popsey would start headbutting him out of the way so she could eat his food. We had to shut Popsey away in order to let the other cats eat, and she would do what she could to outsmart us. She did not start significantly losing weight until Tigger passed away and my sister Claire took Christine with her to Toronto. With only one dish to worry about, my parents got her back down to a healthy weight again.
Sadly, Popsey had other health problems, and had to be put down earlier this week. I was very sad when I got the news - I'd hoped to see her one last time this Christmas. You can't always help these things, of course, and I respect my parents' decision. The house will seem so empty without a cat there.
Goodbye, Popsey. You were loved, and will be missed.