We adopted Floofin in February 2005 from the Concord, NH pound. He was a beautiful long haired bundle of white fur. They had him in a cage in the lobby, so they could keep a watch over him because he had just had several teeth pulled. He was scared and shy. I took him out of the cage and he trembled in my arms, hiding his head under my armpit. He seemed to enjoy being petted, but was clearly scared. We were given a carry cage from his previous owners, who had given him up because he "kept trying to get out". The same day, we also adopted Chevy. Black Chevy and white Floofin...we talked about changing their names (salt and pepper -no!, yin and yang- no!, etc) and assumed that their 'new' names would soon become apparent.
After we got the 2 kitties home, we let them out of their carriers to explore the house. Floofin disappeared for almost 3 months. At first, we thought he had gotten outside somehow. But every once in a while, we would see him dash across a hallway to the food bowl. This was his "white ghost" phase. He had some extremely clever hiding places, and we eventually found them all and slowly coaxed him out into the open. One night I was up quite late, and he shyly came into the living room. I spoke to him gently and he sat just out of reach and purred loudly enough for me to hear. He was starting to accept his new home. For quite a long time, every time I reached out to pet him, he flinched, or ran. It made me wonder if he had been treated badly by his previous owner. He also quite early on developed the habit of walking in front of us and then running in a panic like we were chasing him.
Late that summer, Floofin got outside. I worried so much because we lived in a rural area. I feared that he would come to harm. He returned after 2 days, much to our relief. But that is when he found his VOICE. Especially late at night. He loved to sing and would find the most resonant spot in the house and launch into his arias. MEEEEE OOOOOww WOOOOOWWWW WOOOOWW. The more he practiced, the louder and longer he was able to hold the notes of his songs. During the daytime, we have been known to sing along with him, with our own interpretations of what his words might be. "Let MMMEEEEEOOOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUTTTTTT" "OOOOWWWOOOWWWW it hurts to be a kitty" Sheldon is famous for his kitty songs, many of them inspired by Floofin.
Around the same time, Floofin and Sheldon started having communications about gifts to buy me. Floofin is responsible for several delightful things that I own, including my lathe. Sheldon and Floofin had 'secret kitty' meetings while I was away. In fact, I have spied at least one gift under our tree right now addressed to me with Floofin's name on it. He gave the best gifts...
Moving across the country with Floofin was a treat, he was pretty scared in the car, so he cuddled with me a lot. He was shedding his hair like crazy in the heat of the drive. He would sit on my lap with his head tucked under my armpit and shed all over me. The shedding was not new, just never so much in such a confined space. He had an uncanny ablity to shed white fur into closed plastic bags, or closed suitcases-a truly magical feat I am sure he learned in magic kitty training school (the same place he learned to suggest perfect gifts). Every night, we would take the 3 kitties into a hotel room, and we would go out to eat. We would hear Floofin singing aaaaalllll the way down any hallway where we stayed. Every morning, we would have to chase down all the kitties for another long day on the road. 10 days of us, a huge trailer, 100 degree weather and 3 scared kitties. It was a memorable trip.
We lived in a small apartment for a few months in Sunnyvale CA. Floofin acclimated pretty well to the apartment- I think anything was better for him after that long ride cross country. He liked to spend his time sitting in the window and singing. The feline Pavarotti.
After a few months, we found our current home. Once more, we piled the kitties into the truck for the ride to San Martin. Floofin was scared enough to poop in Sheldon's hat on the seat of the car on the way down. But he soon settled into his new California lifestyle. He had always had a fondness for small confined spaces, so we would often find him in shoeboxes, in a pot left on the counter, or a bread basket left on the table. He continued his singing career and also decided that being petted constantly was his right as a kitty.
He would roooollll around on the floor, and loved to have his belly rubbed. He would roll so that he would be just out of reach, then grunt at you because you stopped!! with a look!
In 2008, Noah and Veronica moved in, and Floofin adopted them both. He found the perfect spot to perch in Veronica's room, and decided he could be a lap kitty for Noah. When Veronica moved out, Floofin actually ran up and down the hallway calling for her. He hated losing his staff. While they were with us, Floofin got out several times, resulting in Noah giving him flea baths and having to de-burr his long fur. After his first bath, I heard he chased his unfamiliar tail in circles, causing intense giggling. For a kitty that behaved with his own kind of dignity most of the time to be reduced to running in circles after his own tail makes me smile to think about.
In July 2009, we noticed that he had a little lump on his left shoulder. It didn't seem like much, and we didn't worry too much about it. But by late August, it had grown to be about 2 inches cubed, a little kitty backpack, as the vet put it. She diagnosed a fibrosarcoma. The treatment for this is very invasive, very expensive and would have meant lots of pain, including an amputation of his front leg, to extend his life by a few months. We decided to take him home and give him a lot of love and quality of life instead of subjecting him to scary treatments.
Well, yesterday we took him back to the vet for his final visit. The lump had grown to be about 6 inches by 8 inches. He was getting weak, and for the past few days didn't eat or drink. He didn't even sing. He would sit next to us on the sofa and just want us to pet him, he asked for nothing else. So, we petted him. Yesterday, we both went with him to the vet, taking turns holding him and crying. We held him and stroked him while they inserted the needle in his arm, and when they injected the medicine. We held him for a while after he was gone. Then we took him home and buried him in the back yard. Later on we'll make a marker for his grave, something to look at and remember. I will miss you Floof.