Thursday, March 3, 2016

A Bittersweet Birthday


Chica in our farm house on top of the cabinets!

 Today is a big birthday for me - I turn 60!  Pretty amazing.  And it also marks three years to the day that my dear heart cat Chica passed.  She was a stinker to choose that day.  Just like a tortie, it was all about her  in life and even in death. We had an incredible bond between us and I know she would rather have had me all to herself.  Every new cat added would just make her grumble with disgust.  Since Chica was such a big part of the blog before she left and I have not posted much of her lately, let's go down memory lane to relive some of her quirks and endearing qualities with photos too.             


Chica is in the bag ready to pounce on Yoko - see her paws?

  We got Yoko for Chica as a playmate but she would have nothing to do with this tiny kitten.  I was afraid she would hurt Yoko so we kept them separated with a glass door for the first few weeks.  Poor Yoko learned to live in the shadow of her mean big sister.  One look from Chica could stop Yoko in her tracks and send her hiding.  Although to be fair, Chica mellowed out a bit in her later years and would even groom Yoko.  I never thought I would see that.

On our lanai in FL


Back in the 90s when Chica was young she earned the nickname "Queen of Mean" for her disdain of Yoko. (For those of you too young to recall...New York real estate tycoon Leona Helmsley was known as the 'Queen of Mean,' for her vicious business tendencies)


Playing with ribbons in FL

Chica was at my side all the time. Since Don, my husband is a light sleeper, he put her out of the bedroom at night but she would have none of that.  She thumped the door with her paws until he relented and opened it.  The she would settle in on the dresser - she knew enough not to get on the bed with him.  But her purr was so loud and rumbly, it would keep Don up.  He never got one up on her.  


Shortly after I found her at a strip mall in FL at about 6 months.

I had always had dogs before her (my first cat) so I treated her like a dog.  We played games - fetch, catch, hide and go seek.  She would jump to catch the kitty balls I threw to her and bring them back to me.  I would hide  out of sight from Chica and would call her to me.  She would run through the house looking behind doors, curtains until she found me and then I would say "I'm gonna get ya" and she would run to find her hidy spot.  Her favorite was in the bathtub.  I would creep up on her and could see her ear tips over the tub edge but she didn't want to give her spot away and would try to stay down.  Finally her curiosity would get the better of her and she would peek over the edge and I would yell "Gotcha" and we would start the game all over again.  Don thought we were nuts.

In later years with her balls

Chica loved the heat and would sit out on our lanai in Florida and just drape herself over the cushions on the lounge out there.  The hotter the better. She loved lizard hunting when one would accidentally find his way inside.  But snakes were another story.  She wanted nothing to do with them.Once while we were bathing her on the lanai, she spotted a snake and in her effort to get away from it, she was clawing the air with her front legs and got my nose with her claw!  Blood everywhere!  That ended that bathing session quickly.  She actually pierced my nose but I couldn't get mad at her.



When we moved from Florida to North Carolina, she was nine years old and Yoko was seven.  They both did well with the move and adapted to life in another home and climate.  We moved a lot but Chica was a trooper - as long as she was with us and our things were there,  she was home.

Just after the move to NC

Beginning with Sweetpea, Chica had to adjust to more and more cats coming to live with us. She was not as mean with them as she had been with Yoko but they knew  who was Queen in this house by her aloofness and look of distan.  She had no problem whapping them to put them in their place.  She would walk away grumbling  under her breath.  I know the others were afraid of her even as she aged.What Chica wanted Chica got - a total tortie Diva.


She ruled our lives and I loved every minute of it.  We were so very lucky to have had her for 22 years.  One of my friends always said Chica knew she had it made with us and that is why she wasn't leaving.  I know I will never experience another cat like her in this lifetime.  As mean as she could be to the other cats, with us she was tender and loving.  She was there with me and for me thru so many huge changes and events in my life.  It makes it harder to go thru this milestone birthday without her being with me.  But, I do see her in my dreams so  often.  Just last night I had one of her. I know she is still watching over me, just on the other side of the veil.  Aren't you Chica?




29 comments:

Eastside Cats said...

A beautiful post, and Happy Birthday!

Hannah and Lucy said...

What wonderful memories to remember of your lovely Chica. We're sure she is always in your thoughts.
Luv Hannah and Lucy xx xx

Angel Prancer Pie said...

We hate that it is bittersweet for you, but isn't just like a kitteh to keep getting at us even after they're gone????
Angel Prancer Pie does. Matter of fact we posted a throwback of him today on our blog.
Have a great birthday and Happy 60th!!

Fuzzy Tales said...

Happy birthday, Cheri, and happy birthday to Chica at the Bridge. I had forgotten she passed on your birthday. Oy! You're right, a Tortie diva to the end, all about her. :-)

You had an amazing bond with each other, I especially loved reading about your hide-and-seek.

We wish you a wonderful birthday even though it's bittersweet. Celebrate anyway, life is short and so precious, as we know only too well. Purrs and peace.

Kim and the boys

Summer said...

Thank you for sharing your memories of Chica. My human's soul cat was a calico, a few years older than Chica, who died in 2002. She had a lot in common with Chica, and the years she was an only kitty (the 8 years between the death of the old cat my human already had and the arrival of Binga), were her favorite!

Brian said...

Happy Birthday to you from all of us! That Chica was sure special, as are you!

The Menagerie Mom said...

Although I know it's a bittersweet one for you, I want to wish you a happy birthday!

I don't think I knew of your sweet Chica and her story until I read this post today. She sounds like a truly special, precious cat, and you two were so lucky to have each other.

This post also really hit home for me because your Chica sounds so much like my angel Rosie, my beautiful calico that I had to say goodbye to last last May when she was failing from cancer and heart failure. I had Rosie for over 21 years. Like your Chica, my Rosie was by my side for so many milestones, but I guess in a different sense than with you and Chica. For me, I grew up with Rosie, after my family adopted her when I was just 4 years old. Losing her last May, after growing with her for over 21 years, was honestly the hardest thing I have ever been through in my life thus far. Every milestone since her passing has been so bittersweet for me, because I so badly wanted her by my side. But, I will always be so grateful for every moment I had with her, and I will never forget her, just like you'll never forget your Chica.

Again, although it's bittersweet for you, I hope your birthday is wonderful.

Marg said...

Happy Birthday Cheri. Good to have so many good memories of Chica.

Mishkat said...

Sending you much love and many purrs. Torties are unforgettable and leave big pawprints on one's heart. Tasha the tortie says she's aspiring to the title "Queen of Mean" so she can be just like Chica.

The Swiss Cats said...

Sweet memories. Chica was a beautiful girl. Happy Birthday to your mom ! Purrs

da tabbies o trout towne said...

guys....happee birthday two yur mom...& thanx for sharin Chica's storee; we troo lee N joyed reedin it.....we noe two dayz knot an eazee one for yur mom, but we hope her rememburrz Chica wood knot want yur mom to bee sad....

happee 60th two ewe Cheri ♫♪♫♪♫♪♫♪ with a yeer a head filled with happee nezz & health... ♥♥♥♥♥

pee ezz...Chica......we canna stand snakes either...they gives uz de hee beez just thinkin oh em ~~~~~ ♥♥♥♥♥

Flynn said...

This is a lovely post of beautiful memories of Chica.

Sometimes, Cats Herd You said...

You have such wonderful memories of Chica. She really sounds like she was one of a kind kitty. Happy birthday from all of us.

Webbthistle said...

Beautiful Chica! Thank you for this lovely column of remembrances of such a special tortie. Although it is a bittersweet day, I wish you a happy birthday and a great year!

Melissa, Mudpie and Angel Truffles (Mochas, Mysteries and Meows) said...

What a beautiful tribute. Torties are so, so special. 22 years is just amazing but how heartbreaking that she went to the Bridge on your birthday :(

The Island Cats said...

Bittersweet, yes, but we hope all the beautiful memories you have of Chica bring a smile to your face. Happy Birthday!

Quill and Greyson said...

Happy Birthday to you!!!

And thanks for the memories of Chica.

PDX pride said...

Happy birthday, and what a lovely tribute to Angel Chica! Hugs on this special day, and we know she's watching over you on this milestone!

Jans Funny Farm said...

Our Angel Jenny sounds much like Chica. She wasn't a tortie; she was a tabby and she ruled!

A happy birthday from all of us! We can imagine it is bittersweet without Chica.

Old Kitty said...

Awwww sweet Chica! What a unique beautiful amazing girl! A free spirit! And she is totally watching over you all!

Wishing you a wonderful birthday, lovely Cheri- 60 years young! Happy happy happy birthday!! Take care
x

Maxwell Faraday Richman said...

Such wonderful memories - and wow, 22 years! So wonderful! Wishing you a fantastic special birthday!!

Caren Gittleman said...

Beautiful post and I can imagine that it has to be hard. Happy Happy Birthday! I turned 60 in October.......didn't realize we are the same age! catchatwithcarenandcody

Alasandra, The Cats and Dogs said...

((Hugs)) I hope you had a nice birthday. Chica was lucky to have you, I just wish the two of you could have had more time together. I know you will always miss her.

pilch92 15andmeowing said...

Happy Birthday! Chica was a beautiful kitty, I am sorry she left you on your birthday. I wish I had been reading blogs back then to have read all about her. XO

meowmeowmans said...

Happy belated birthday, Cheri. It is bittersweet, but what wonderful memories you have of your beloved Chica.

Hugs!

Sweet Purrfections said...

Mom Paula turned 60 a couple of weeks ago, too.

Debra Taylor said...

I could see why you miss Chica, with such a major bond. And she is beautiful.

And happy birthday!

Pet lovers please check out my homeless cat blog about the abandoned/feral cat colony I manage.

Debby in Prescott Valley, Arizona
http://homelesscatcare.blogspot.com/

Nancy said...

Twenty-two years--WOW! What a beautiful girl! I think that she passed on your birthday so that you would always have that connection with her. Her beautiful memory will always be your special gift from her. Bittersweet, yes, but truly one out of love. Tears...

Timmy Tomcat said...

What a wonderful memorial to a beautiful and special friend. She is surely waiting for you and keeping the bridge furs under her paw.
Happy Birthday!
Timmy, Dad and Family

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