August 11th 2008 6:45 pm
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My mom's first cat, Missy, died of old age in the early fall 1993. She really missed having a cat in the family. So when Dad asked me in late November what Mom might want for Christmas, I suggested that the best gift he could get her would be another cat. It wouldn't be a surprise gift, but it would be one that she'd remember forever. He agreed. When Mom heard the news, she was excited. The only condition she had for picking out a cat was that the cat love everybody (Missy was a 2 man cat only). She prayed hard about where to find a cat, and they eventually answered an add for free kittens in a town almost an hour away.
I met Boogie for the first time when I came home from night school the week before Christmas. I knew my parents had planned on going to pick up the kitten earlier in the evening, so I was anxious to meet the newest family member. All I could see of him was his big eyes glowing from between Christmas tree branches. Maybe that's why he loved the Christmas tree so much all his life: it protected him when he was scared. He was an older kitten - 16 weeks - and as soon as I saw all of him, I said "look Mom - he's got a booger on his face!" She was aghast that I would say such a thing about her new baby. When they picked him up, he had the name of Charlie (Chaplin), but my mom gave him the (very boring and unoriginal) name of Blackie. My siblings agreed with me that Blackie would never fit as a good cat name, and we dubbed him Boogie, because Booger just didn't sound "nice" enough. I don't think he ever knew his name was Blackie!!! (We eventually won Mom over to the new name :)
Oh how he loved Christmas! There was never a Christmas that Boogie didn't sleep and play under the tree every day it stood in the living room. I don't, however, recall him ever trying to climb it. There was the year when Dad had been sick and money was really tight (ended up being his last Christmas), so Mom didn't make stockings for the pets. Boogie was very annoyed! He spent Christmas Eve night going through all the stockings and packages - he had every single one unwrapped and plowed through before anyone woke up! He didn't stop looking for his stocking of cat nip until Mom produced some left over cat nip for him. Needless to say, it was the only year Boogie didn't get a stocking!
There weren't many heights that Boogie didn't try to climb. He was very much the curious kitten, well into his senior years! We always got a kick out of watching him chase Daisy or Zeus, my sister's great dane, around the living rooms or the island in the house where Boogie lived most of his life. Boogie would do just about anything for belly rubs. My brother would rub his belly and say to him, "there's enough cat on this cat for a whole 'nother cat! Look at his meaty belly!"
I moved out on my own about 3 years after Boogie came to live with us. He would always come to greet me - he could never get to the door fast enough, begging for attention and waiting to be held. He was always so happy to see me. He loved everybody, but my mom was always the favorite.
When my dad retired and stayed home due to illness, Boogie became his constant companion. It was not unusual to find my dad on the couch watching TV, with Boogie sitting between his legs. When Dad was rushed to the emergency room after suffering a heart attack, Boogie looked all over the house for him, waiting patiently on his side of the bed for him to come home. He never did come home. Boogie didn't understand. He really missed the buddy he had in Dad. In fact, when Mom went through Dad's clothes months later, just a couple weeks before Boogie died, he behaved like a possessed kitten again, rolling, drooling, and burying himself in Dad's shirts, which still smelt like him.
The night my dad died, I spent that night at their house, waiting for my youngest sister to fly home. Boogie came into the room where I was laying, jumped up on the bed, and wormed his way into my arms before falling asleep, purring as loud as he could. He kept me company until my sister arrived from the airport.
When my sister came home with her husband-to-be and his great dane puppy, Boogie made sure the puppy knew who was boss! When the dog was full grown and came to visit, he loved to visit with my mom. But Boogie would have none of it. When the dog jumped on the bed to say hi, Boogie leaped between my mom and the dog, and backed that big huge dog into the corner of the bed, hissing and howling like we'd never heard him do before. My sister had to move the dog, as Boogie had sunk his claws into the bed so deep he couldn't be budged from his attack posture!
Boogie was almost 20 pounds at his largest. People could hardly believe he was a cat. Most everyone commented on how beautiful he was. He didn't meow much; guess he didn't see the need. To look at him, you'd expect, by his size, that he'd roar like a lion. However, when he did meow, it wasn't more than a very timid and soft "meew". His personality was much bigger than his size, though. He was so full of life!
Boogie became diabetic, and eventually was using 2-3 litter boxes a day. My mom couldn't keep up with his increasing medical care; I joked that he needed his own personal nurse. Between his diabetes and a nasty heat wave, poor Boogie couldn't handle it anymore. By the time we got him to the vet that last day, he was barely able to hold his head up, and he had stopped purring many days before. He had shrunk to a mere 14 pounds.
Boogie, it was so hard to say goodbye to you, and even three years later, I still miss you terribly. The world l0st a little bit of its light when you passed away. You were an awesome buddy to the entire family. Don't worry - Mommie misses you too. She still proudly displays your photo in the dining room where everyone can see it. She loves Ivan, and he's a coon like you were, so its hard not to compare the two of you, but that's really not fair. We love Ivan, but he's just not you. No other cat will ever replace you.
Miss you, Dudeness.
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