Billy The Cat
The first time I met Billy would have been fifteen or more years ago and he was barely a kitten; and I thought a rather funny looking one at that. Looking something like a Siamese - and yet not, because in reality a Siamese, in my opinion anyway, is a "fine looking cat" - this cat seemed rather odd. Scrawny looking with spindly legs and short nubbly hair; long pointed ears atop a wedge shaped face. I may be a little prejudiced about the Siamese variety of cat, because of course I had owned one years before.
Billy, was our niece Suzanne's cat and she loved him with all her heart. He passed away this summer, late in the Season; he was buried at a special spot on Lake Erie at Long Point, and we all miss him. I like to say that he was so funny looking - he was cute; and he was. I believe he was a Rex. I may be wrong here - but we will say so; and at the same time we will say he was noble.
He sure could act noble, standoffish at times and other times haughty. I recall oftentimes being at Suzannes, where he would jump up on the sofa - walk right across me with ne're a look my way, more or less using me as a gateway to get to his person of choice - which never seemed to be me, no matter how hard I tried to get his attention.
Billy - King of His Domain
Billy was King everywhere he went, whether he was at home in the city, or on Lake Erie and at the cottage. He ruled both places that his owner provided for him.
Billy and Me
Back in September of 2010 I had a life changing experience when I lost the love of my life, my husband Craig. Craig was one of those people that Billy walked over me to get to. I could never figure it out, because pretty much Craig would ignore him. But then that is the way of cats, isn't it? They always go to the ones who look the other way, and thumb their nose at the ones who are constantly saying, "here Billy, come here Billy - Billy".
Sometime in early November I had our three nieces over for dinner. We were drinking wine and making merry when all of a sudden Suzanne said to me, "Hey maybe when Ellen and I go to our island holiday over Christmas, you'd like to babysit Billy - I could bring him over here".
Ah - yeah - "OK" - I said I!!! The next morning I woke up and said, "what the heck - I shouldn't have drank so much wine" I really wasn't sure if I was at all ready for this. It didn't help that while at Suzanne's one night prior to their leaving, and during an early Christmas dinner for us, her friend said, "I should warn you - Billy has a habit of coming into your bedroom at night and howling like a banshee - it's enough to wake the dead" then he went on to say, "it will scare the hell out of you - so I just thought I should warn you". Yeah, OK - so this is why he is not babysitting this cat any longer and I have all of a sudden become the chosen one.
The day had arrived and Billy was dropped off at my place, along with his cat food, heart medication, a scratching pole and his velvet cushion. His cat food was simple. His heart medication was to be mashed up and put in his food to fool him. His scratching pole was to be placed at the foot of my bed so that he could use it to climb up to get onto my bed, in order not to grab on to the comforter - and maybe pull a thread or two - and his velvet cushion was to be placed in front of my gas fireplace where "King Billy" would sit his royal hiney whenever he felt like it.
We Spar A Bit
So here we are, Billy and I. He moves around my place sniffing here and there, checking everything out while I place everything where it is supposed to be, scratching pole at the foot of my bed, and velvet cushion in front of my gas fireplace. When I go back into the greatroom he is sitting on my peach coloured bergere chair. I remember babysitting Craig's son's and daughter-in-law's cat once when they were on a vacation. The other grandmother got the baby, we got the cat. But to be fair, we were both still working, and so a baby would not have been convenient for us at the time, so we took the cat. Well actually, we were just supposed to go to their house every day and feed and water the cat, but Craig thought he looked lonely, and so he took him home to be with us. How did I get off track here? Oh yes, I had to tell about the bergere chair. That cat had long black hair, and it got all over my chair, so I had placed a towel on it - and of course the next day he went and sat on the matching bergere chair - sans towel.
So this time I am reminded of that little fiasco, and I thought, "no Billy is not sitting on this chair without a towel". So I went to pick him up to put a towel down - and he hissed at me. Okay - fine, have it your way. I said, "the hell with you", and walked away ignoring him. Later that evening I was sitting on the loveseat watching TV and Billy came over, jumped up on the sofa and then on to my lap. And there we sat, at some kind of a truce. I thought this was good.
Time went by, and we changed position now and again and somwhere along the way he ended up on the chair again and fell asleep. At 11PM I decided it was time to go to bed. I shut off all the lights and beckoned Billy to follow. "Billy, come on Billy". Nothing - I was being totally ignored. So I went to bed.
I had been sleeping for maybe an hour or so when all Hell broke loose. The most blood curdling howling cry assaulted my eardrumbs waking me up in a frenzy, causing me to sit bolt upright in my bed trying to adjust to the darkness, while at the same time saying "BILLY" "BILLY". Where the heck is he? Then I saw him sitting under the chair at the foot of my bed, just inside the bedroom doorway. Now I'm calling him to get up here on the bed pointing to the scratching pole. Does he go there? No, are you kidding! He prances across the foot of my bed, hops up on the loveseat under the window and proceeds to carry on with his yelling. All the while I am patting the bed beseeching him to get on the bed and settle down.
Finally he hops over to the bed; I lay back and now he wants to sit on my chest. Are you kidding me? Not only that he is reaching out with his paw, opening and closing - dangerously I might add - with his nails close to my nose. I'm a little nervous to tell you the truth because I really don't know if I am going to anger him if I don't let him get his way. But really - he cannot sit on my chest - that just is not allowed. I finally nudge him sideways where he settles himself down between the blanket and the comforter with his head in the crook of my arm and we both go to sleep.
And then all hell breaks loose again. No kidding! somewhere during the night he gets off the bed, goes out to the great room and then decides its time to come back to bed and we go through the same routine all over again, not once more, but twice more during this first night. Howling and yelling and sitting on my chest and reaching for my face. Help!
We go through the week much like this. For at least three nights we have this same routine and I am getting hardly any sleep. He has not once used his scratching pole, but he does sit on his royal velvet pillow every day when I turn the fireplace on for him. Actually he lets me know when he desires this, by going over to it, sitting there, looking mournfully at it, until I get the message.
Christmas Eve arrives and I go down to my mothers to spend that evening with her, my step daughter and my sister and her husband. It is a rather sad occasion for me - my very first Christmas without Craig. I cried all the way home in the car and when I entered the house I heard Billy crying from the other end of the house. I walked through the greatroom and there he was in my bedroom doorway. He had been on the bed, and the pillows and afghan were all askew. I sat down on the bench outside the bedroom doorway; billy came over looked up at me and then hopped up and onto my lap and snuggled in. We both sat there like that, me crying, and he, happy to have me back.
That night he settled in with me when we went to bed. And then all of a sudden he sat up turned toward the doorway, walked to the end of the bed, sat his behind down - with his forelegs still upright, and stared at the doorway. He sat looking like that for a few minutes as though he was seeing someone, then he sat all the way down, still facing the doorway - watching - and I fell asleep. I now believe that he was seeing Craig. Both of us became calm, and fell back to sleep.
The next day a friend of Suzanne's came to take Billy to her house for the last two weeks. In the beginning I had been looking forward to that, especially after the first three nights of hardly any sleep, but now I was missing him. And today we all miss Billy.