Sylvia, Chasing Butterflies Again
Like the first time I saw her, Sylvia is chasing the butterflies again...now at the bridge.
It was rush hour on a Thursday afternoon when I saw a buff colored young kitty playing with moths and bugs on the shoulder of the road, jumping up and down very carefree. I knew I had to find a place to turn around and catch her as I did not want to see a squashed cat on the way back. As I pulled back to where she was, she ran into the woods. This is a non-residential parkway along the river, a natural flood plain for the area. I walked up to the wooded area and called her. She cautiously watched but was also elusive, before I finally coaxed her to come up to me. I grabbed her and put her into the car and took her home.She was a semi-feral kitten maybe six months old but at the time I thought it was a “he”. Mr. Kitten I called him- more like Meeester Keeeten, and once I realized it was a “she” I called her Leetle Keeten (Little Kitten) before finally naming her Sylvia (SYLvia!) She used to bite my ankles and grab at my feet (not in a ferocious manner, more like rough play) and so became known as the Wild Child. She also rolled around like no other kitty I’ve had, especially after a fresh change of cat litter. Joe started calling her “Squirmy Worm”. Whenever I picked her up, she would climb up onto my shoulder and sit like a parrot. Such a free spirit. The day I found her was four days before the attacks of 9/11. It was also the time I went through some awful diagnoses and now had four kitties to take care of including Sylvia.
One of Sylvia's nicknames was "Squirmy Worm" (given by my fiancé Joe). Throughout her 17 years, she always rolled around like a squirmy worm wherever she was- even after a fresh change of litter she would get into the litter box and roll around happily, first on one side, then the other. She was rolling around when I took this series of pictures- wish the quality was better but am so grateful to have these memories. You can see how sweet and silly she was- and this is the wild child that used to bite my ankles after I found her!
In 2016 she fell ill, went mostly blind, was diagnosed with kidney failure and I did not think I had much time left with her. However with sub-q fluids she perked up, and I also found a couple of supplements that helped tremendously- she regained most of her vision, was able to jump up on the banister again and you could just tell she felt better…for the next two years!
However, she started declining again after a couple of good years and this time she was in the crisis of her life. She was in kidney failure but the vet said that Wednesday that it is not her time. She still had some weight to her unlike my other kidney cats. They usually go into a slumber when they are preparing to leave and she was nowhere near that.
One of Sylvia's last photographs
One Year Ago Today- June 2nd, 2018- Saturday morning she did not look like a kitty that was going to leave the same day. She lifted her head up all the way to look up at me and kneaded her paws as I pet her. She walked around with impressive speed. Since this crisis started she had not been alone for more than 4 ½ hours with me coming home from work to check on her each day during lunch break. I needed to run some errands, among them washing my clothes and her bedding for the week. I also went to buy her some more bedding to place around the house, some new stinky enticing food and some milk thistle for her liver since she had not been eating as much as she should. While heading down the freeway in that sullen sky, Sam Hunt’s haunting “Downtown’s Dead” came on the radio (it was the first (or second) time I heard it), and a feeling of dread came over me.
When I returned home, she was nowhere to be found. I looked everywhere, and under everything. This is not good. Finally I went upstairs since the window fan was bringing in the finally cooler, fresher air and it felt better up there than on the still too warm main floor from the heatwave. Oh my God, Sylvia. Sylvia! She was lying on the floor next to the stereo that she liked to jump up on- she always did love high up spaces. She was gone and so was my heart. Did she try jumping up there or did she go to a favorite spot? But she was ALONE- this I cannot get over… my other kitties departed when I was with them L
I picked her up, held her close, carried her down the stairs and placed Sylvia on her bed near my own. As I sat on the edge of my bed alternating between bawling and numb disbelief, the fan was running in the background and made me realize that for the first time in my life, I was the only living soul left in this house.
Today is Sylvia’s One Year Bridgeday. I really miss cupping her head in my hand as she rolled around on her favorite box by the window and receiving her wonderful, affectionate head bumps. Her one-of-a-kind raspy-ish voice is profoundly absent from my daily life, with her long, multi-syllable meows. My life was forever changed for the better by that wild little kitten that blossomed into the most loving, pure soul. I love and miss you my little SYLvia!!!!
Beautiful One Year Bridgeday, Precious Little Sylvia, Run Free with the others my wild child, til we meet again~~**