When Les and I first started dating he told me he wasn’t a cat person. I told him that was a deal breaker. When we moved in together in the spring of 2005, we went to the shelter and picked out a cat. I didn’t want to overwhelm him, so we went with an adult cat. The shelter in Price had a room for cats who were already fixed, they all just roamed freely instead of being in cages.The room had boxes and tubes on the wall for the cats to play in. In one of these boxes I found a little cat with very blue eyes. I picked her up out of the box and she decided she didn’t like that, so she tried to escape and left 3 giant claw marks across my forearm and went back into her box.
Maybe because he thought she was shy, and wouldn’t be a super clingy, Les agreed that she would come home with us. So the shelter people loaded her into a cardboard carrier and we put her in the back seat and headed home. The cat decided she didn’t like being in the box, so she made a giant hole in it and climbed out. She wandered free in the car until we got home.
We decided to name her after her extremely blue eyes, and since we were in Utah we had to have a creative spelling, so we went with Sian (cyan).
It took about 2 weeks before I realized she was declawed, I caught her kneading on the arm of the couch and went to stop her. But when I did I realized she had no front claws. This made the healing gashes in my arm and the giant hole in the thick cardboard carrier even more impressive.
Shortly thereafter my suspicions were confirmed, Les only thought he wasn’t a cat person because his dad hates cats and taught it to his children, who never spent time around cats. He loved her. And she was pretty keen on him once he stared feeding her in the mornings.
Not long after we got Sian, my dad got into a motorcycle accident and couldn’t make it up the stairs to his apartment to take care of his cats, so we went to Ogden and brought them to stay with us until he recovered. Sian didn’t get along super well with them at first, but really seemed to miss them when they went back to live with my dad. So we decided she needed a friend.
We went back to the shelter, and we had read that often older cats will get along better with a kitten than an adult cat, so we picked out a kitten. (By this point Les was enough of a cat person that I let him pick the kitten, and he picked the one that was climbing and then hanging upside down from the cage.)
When we took the kitten home Sian wanted nothing to do with him. She reacted even worse than to the other cats. On the second day of having Dimitri in the house, he was running and playing so hard that he fell asleep the instant he stopped, which unfortunately was when he stopped to use the litter box. After that little adventure he needed a bath, badly. So we filled up the sink and cleaned him up. Due to the fact that he is a cat, he protested these proceedings by yowling loudly. As soon as Sian heard these pathetic kitten yowls, she came to his rescue. I was rinsing the soap off him, and she jumped up on the counter and tried to pull him out of the sink. I laughed, but then she bit me, grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and ran off. She took him behind the couch and licked him clean. After that they were best buddies, the vet theorized that Sian had probably had kittens at one point before she was fixed, and he brought out her mothering instincts.
That shy, scared cat we found in the box at the shelter didn’t last long. Right after we got married, Les and I moved into a small house in Price and she really came out of her shell there. I was working at Wal-Mart at the time, and one night I got off early and neither of us felt like cooking, so I grabbed a rotisserie chicken from the deli before I left work. We didn’t have a table in the small house, so we ate in the living room. Before I even sat down to eat, Sian was in my chair, this was highly unusual. I moved her and sat down with my plate and tried to start eating. But she wouldn’t have it, she climbed up on the desk I was using as a table, wrapped both her front paws around my hand and took the bite of chicken off my fork. I was laughing too hard to stop her. I think at the end of the night she ate as much of that chicken as either of Les or I did. And it was a tradition she kept up, not with every meal, but there were certain things she liked, and if you were eating it, it was hers. Rotisserie chicken was the big one, but she also loved pot roast.
Sian traveled with us a lot, together we lived in 8 houses in 5 different states. She always handled change well, her main coping mechanism was of course napping, and she was always content once she found her napping niche. In Vernal she essentially had her own room where the dogs couldn’t go, and since they were new, she needed a while to warm up to them. In Washington there was a bay window in the laundry room where she could sleep all day in the sun, and a smaller window near the wood-stove where she could sleep all night. In New York there was a heater vent at the top of the stairs where she could not only steal all the upstairs heat for herself, but also trip you if you wanted to use the stairs, that is cat heaven. In Oregon she liked to lay on the back of the couch which was up by a big window, and in Arizona she had the best of all those things: forced air heat, windows to sleep in, not as many stairs, but she tripped me at least twice on the porch steps, and best of all, we had the big desk. That meant she could lay on the computer if she was cold, or on the keyboard if someone was trying to use it.
As much as she loved napping, Sian had an exact equal hate for reading and/or any focused activity that didn’t involve her. It’s actually a bit weird for me to be typing this right now without her laying across the F-row or her tail flicking my fingers. Her love for naps was so great, that she commandeered the couch, and if ever anyone wanted to nap on it, she had to supervise. Naps elsewhere were okay, but not on her couch.
In her old age Sian went deaf. I wasn’t sure at first, I thought she might just be getting old and cranky and therefore loud, but I confirmed it by accident one time while vacuuming. This led to her being extremely loud, she’d always been a bit of a talker, but once she lost her hearing, it got crazy. I was sometimes worried that the neighbors would call the cops, because if she was mad (which was usually late at night, if we came home after her desired feeding time) she would meow so loud, it kind of sounded like we were killing someone. She also got a bit of dementia in the last few years, she would yell for food, eat, then forgot she ate and start yelling again. Luckily, unlike people dementia, which can be devastating, Sian was always mollified by showing her that she still had food in her bowl.
Last week Sian started behaving a bit strangely, not finishing her food, not caring as much if someone was laying on the couch, and sleeping more than normal. But she was still her normal loud self. Then Friday she stopped eating as much, she would only lick the juice off any food offered to her. At first I thought it might be a tooth issue, but it turns out her kidneys were shutting down. She wasn’t ever in pain, but she got very lethargic over the weekend. It has been pretty hot, so she’s been sleeping on the kitchen floor, which is the coolest place in the house, and very near her water, which she was drinking way more of than usual, so we set her up in the kitchen with a sideways box (one of her favorite things) with a towel. Saturday night wouldn’t even drink any water, so we put her in her box and sat with her for a while. When we woke up on Sunday morning she was gone.
It’s been very quiet around here this weekend, and it’s going to take some getting used to. Callie has taken to meowing when she wants food, but her decibel level is a fraction of what Sian was capable of. No one has intentionally tried to trip me since Friday and like I mentioned before, it’s weird to type without someone demanding attention from me.
We don’t know how old she was, because shew as fully grown when we got her, probably at least 4 or 5, maybe older. And we know nothing of her life before we picked her up at the shelter, they knew nothing, not even that she was declawed. We figure she was probably dumped at the shelter. She was always afraid to go more than a few feet outside, so I highly doubt she was a stray. But for the last more than 11 years of her life, she was happy, and she made us happy. And I’ll forever be grateful to her for teaching Les that cats aren’t all bad.