|Birth: ||May 8, 2005|
|Death: ||Feb. 6, 2012|
Also Known As: Miss T, Tator Tot, Tulip Girl, Tarantula Toes, The Flying Kitty, Queen of Balance
In the Arms of An Angel
I'd long been partial to black cats because they're mistaken for being harbingers of bad luck. They're also the cats to be most overlooked by potential adopters who favor other flashier coat shades or patterns. Not me. I find their sleek, solid black fur and glowing green or yellow eyes reminiscent of their larger wild brethren, the panther. After my beloved brown tabby soul mate, Neko, returned to Spirit on June 22, 2005, the hole she left in my life was so huge that it took two new creatures to help fill it.
On the afternoon of July 17, 2005 I visited the PetsMart in Arlington Heights, Illinois where Second Chance, a non-profit all-volunteer rescue and foster home organization, was showing cats and kittens they had up for adoption. I was immediately drawn to a cage filled with a pile of tiny black furballs who were all sleeping except for one who reached up with arms extended as I approached. Her name was Phoenix then and I knew from the start that she was special. So small, so petite, so dainty. I renamed her Tatiana -- a big name for such a little girl -- but whatever she lacked in size she more than made up for in attitude. In another cage sat a quiet but striking buff-colored boy kitten whom I named Sage and I adopted him as well. Tatiana and Sage, diametric opposites in color, personality and temperament, they complemented each other as they grew up and adapted to life in a household with two older feline siblings, Lena and Luka.
Tatiana was an athlete from the start and never outgrew her kitten-like passion for jumping, having fun and finding the highest place in the house from which to perch and observe her domain. Many times the other cats watched and tried to match her abilities, but rarely succeeded. She'd leap to the top of the kitchen cabinets, the ledge over the front door and the entertainment center in my bedroom, balancing on narrow areas and walking around small objects, never once falling off or knocking things over. Her favorite place to sleep was inside the fish bed I placed on top of the entertainment center. Seemingly impatient with coming down the way she went up, in stages via the adjacent cat tree, she began jumping down -- arms and legs fully extended in freefall formation -- from the top of the entertainment center directly to my bed, a routine I came to call "flying kitty."
Tatiana especially looked forward to Saturdays when the housekeeper would come to clean with the noisy vacuum cleaner. The mere presence of a "stranger in the house" would send Sage and Lena running for cover; Luka didn't care, he just took advantage of getting more naptime. Saturdays were special for Little T because that's when she could play undisturbed and unimpeded by the bigger cats with grandpops and Da Bird fishing pole toy. All he'd have to do was ask, "Do you want to play?" and Little T would come running from wherever she was and start vocalizing a high pitched "Weeee!" as if to say, "Yes, finally, I've been waiting forever for this moment to arrive." She'd leap through the air, doing backflips and catching the feathery thing at the end of the pole. Her energy and joy were infectious.
Little T was always my delicate little flower. A petunia, a daisy, a daffodil, a tulip. When it was time to eat, she'd either be there for first dibs or she'd stay in the background, politely waiting until everyone else was done. With dry food, she'd pick out a single piece of kibble at a time, taking it out of the bowl, putting it down and then eating it. She never wolfed it down in big bites like the boys. Her manners were impeccable.
I noticed a subtle change in Tatiana around the time I adopted Shaman, another black kitten, in Sep. 2011. Shaman had no manners whatsoever, even for a kitten, and got into everyone's face. Tatiana, for some reason, chose not to stand up to Shaman or put him in his place. In retrospect, this was not like her. For one month I had five cats, then Luka died from complications of diabetes on Oct. 12, 2011 and I was back to four.
Over New Year's Day weekend, Tatiana somehow pulled out a claw from her left front foot. I thought maybe she had gotten it caught in or on something during a jumping session. Because of the holiday, I had to wait until Jan. 3 to take her in to see the vet. The outer toe and the area between the adjacent toe was open and raw. Over the next two weeks it got a little better then got a lot worse. X-rays revealed several tumors in her lung and other areas. Biopsies pinpointed it as squamous cell carcinoma. The vet explained that it was likely the cancer metastasized to Tatiana's toe, causing the claw to loosen and pull out with minimal force. On Jan. 18, I had the vet remove her damaged toe to minimize her pain and discomfort. That afternoon, in a freak accident, I was pulled off my wheelchair, landed on my knees and fractured the femurs of both of my legs when I fell back on the floor. Two days later I had surgery with rods implanted in both thighs to shore up the shattered bones. My road to recovery was going to be long, but I hoped that I'd get back home before Tatiana took her last breath.
I was in rehab on Feb. 4 when my nephew visited and brought along a surprise for me -- Tatiana! She looked smaller than ever as he took her out of the carrier and placed her on my lap, but Little T was completely aware and recognized me. She laid on my lap purring the whole time. It was like heaven seeing her again and visiting for a while. A few of her other toes had started to ooze and the claws to loosen, so I knew the end was quickly approaching. All I needed from her was a sign that she wanted to go.
The first sign came two days later at 2:59 a.m. when I awoke from sleep with Sarah McLachlan's song, "In the Arms of the Angels," playing in my head. In the darkness of my room at rehab, I swore I saw the outline of Little T, perched on the top of the armoire, looking down on me, telling me it was time. And so, I waited until it was daylight and then called home to speak with my sister who was in town visiting from Alaska with her husband. She said Tatiana had stopped eating and drinking the day before, choosing instead to hide under the bed. I had all the signs I needed, so I called the vet and made the necessary arrangements.
I never made it home in time to be with Little T who, by the way was really little -- her final weight was 3 pounds 8 ounces -- so I was happy that my sister agreed to stand in for me at the very end. Tatiana escaped her cancer-ravaged body at 10:45 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 6, 2012. Undoubtedly she was jumping for joy and running with wild abandon at having regained her freedom.
Tatiana crammed a lot of joy and love into the 6 years, 8 months and 29 days she lived on the Earth. I'm happy and grateful that I was there to experience much of that with her. I will never forget Little T's ability to navigate the tightest of spaces with an outstanding sense of balance that would have been the envy of any gymnast or tightrope walker.
Besides me, Tatiana is survived by her grandpops; stepsister Lena; and stepbrothers Sage and Shaman. She was predeceased by her stepbrother Luka who was there to meet her at the Bridge if he wasn't taking a nap.
Save a life and adopt a shelter animal. You won't be sorry.
Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend.
Created by: Patti Podboy
Record added: Feb 06, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 84596950