Echo – part 1

22 10 2008

I knew I should have started this blog, for my own sanity at the very least, a long time ago. And last night reinforced that for me.

A new internet friend, BurghBaby, recently suffered the loss of her family’s Lhasa Apso, Jasmine. And that set me back about 4 months to when my parents had to put my cat, Echo down. This wasn’t the first time that I lost a pet. The family dog, Heidi, passed away in 1998. We knew Heidi was sick, and we knew her time was coming. Soon. So we were prepared. With Echo, it just wasn’t that way.

So now, I’m going to tell her story. And it’s going to take two posts, because my bunny deserves her whole story told. And I think when you read the end, you’ll understand that my family is gonna need this nice reminder soon.

In 1995, my junior year in college I lived in an apartment with a friend. I got the idea that I wanted a cat. I don’t think I knew anyone with a cat – and I knew my mom didn’t really like cats, but still. I wanted a cat. And my boyfriend at the time searched the papers and found a local farm that had kittens free to a good home. So one day we took a drive… We went into the family’s living room and the last kitty, the runt of the litter, scattered. We tricked her into coming out – this adorable and terrified tiny white & grayish black furball.

With my new kitten on my lap, we headed home. She cried and almost immediately jumped to floor and fled under the seat. Every meow she let out, I tried to meow back. When she paused for a moment, I meowed again. And she echoed me. And thus, she was named. Echo.

That night we discovered that she had fleas. The boyfriend gave her a flea bath because I could not bear to be a part of it. Echo became an entertaining and annoying part of my life. I would sit on the couch to do work on my laptop, and she would curl up between my stomach and the laptop and sleep. And I wouldn’t move for hours for fear of waking her. I would wake in the middle of the night to a tiny kitty attacking my feet as I moved in my sleep. She was banished from the bedroom at night. I woke one morning, wandered to the bathroom to pull the shower curtain closed, only to find it in shreds. Apparently someone was climbing & sliding down. All. Night. Long. She was banished from the bathroom at all hours.

One morning, I wandered into the kitchen and noticed that the oven mitt I had hung on the freezer door (top freezer refrigerator) was on the floor. It was a Sylvester the Cat oven mitt. Newly purchased by my mom for my new apartment. It had been on a hook at least 4 feet from the ground. I hung it back up. The next morning, the same thing happened. And then I realized that tiny, little Echo was jumping up and knocking Sylvester off his hook and then fighting with him. The oven mitt was bigger than she was! But it was her FAVORITE toy for a long, long time.

As winter approached, I knew I had to go back home to Pittsburgh and the Mom who did not like cats. I tried to stay and work at school, but it didn’t work out and I was broke. I remember calling my mom and telling her I needed to come home, but that I had this little addition to the family to bring home. Mom was NOT happy, but after much discussion and yelling and crying, Mom agreed to let me bring my kitten home. And honestly, that’s where the love affair begins. My sister and my dad immediately fell in love with her. Mom, well, that took a little bit longer. Echo held her own with our poor mini schnauzer, Heidi. She would hide under the coffee table and pounce on Heidi when she passed. Heidi didn’t even care. Echo and I spent Christmas & New Years in Pittsburgh and returned to school, where she continued with her entertaining and annoying ways.

Our first summer at home, my parents took a trip, leaving my sister and I, the cat & dog at home. Not a big deal. My sister and I had gone to the mall one night and when we got home, we were unable to find Echo. Anywhere. Not in any of the wacky places she hid. My sister and I searched the house and called my parents on their trip, with Mom, sister and I in tears over the missing cat. My sister stayed inside to keep looking and I wandered outside. Walking up & down the street looking for my baby. And then I found her. On the opposite side of the house from the driveway, in the ground level, basement window well. Just sitting there, all “What took you so long?” and “It’s no big deal, I’m just chilling here.” Turns out she ripped the screen in the basement door (before we left for the mall) and snuck out that way. The very next week, Ms. Echo found herself at the vet, getting spayed & declawed. (And before anyone starts on the declawing issue, it was a bad idea, our first experience with a cat, and I’d probably never, ever do it again.)

That same summer, Mom refused to admit to it, but Echo managed to wedge herself into her heart too. Every morning, Mom would get up to make coffee or tea for my dad before work and breakfast for my sister and I. We had a little screened in porch type room off the kitchen. When Echo heard her, she would head to the kitchen and to the door to that porch. And meow until Mom opened the door. Echo would spend half the day in there. Sunning herself on the chairs and table, and watching the wildlife outside the windows.

And this is where I’m going to end Echo – Part 1. There’s more to be said, so hang on a few days…

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