Yesterday, I went to my first yoga class – kitty yoga. The instructor asked us to keep in mind a pet we had, or had had, that meant a lot to us. Of course, Texas was on my mind. Today is the one year anniversary of him departing for the rainbow bridge.
Texas was a birthday gift from my husband and a blessing in my life. We were just looking at cats that day, with no firm intention to adopt, but Texas found his way to my heart. This little ball of white and cream fur was introduced by the store’s salesperson as “a little wrestler.” She took him out of the cage he was in so I could play with him a bit. Such a delight. We could see he was an affectionate kitten but he played seriously, and he might bite occasionally if you dared touch his tummy. That’s how he got his name: Texas. I’m a nice kitty but don’t you mess with me.
Texas was a very smart kitty.
I’m sure I’ll remember other occasions after this tribute is posted, but some of the things I remember, is, for example, how he quickly and without any human guidance understood not to use his claws when his paws were on human bare skin.
When we told me to stop doing something, he understood. He did as he pleased sometimes, but it was clear there was no misunderstanding after the following mischief.
He was also a bit possessive with me, in an affectionate way. At one point, when my husband was living in Belgium, during the weekend he would come pick me up, and Texas would stay with my Mom. At that time, Texas wasn’t as nice to my husband as when we all lived together. I am pretty sure he connected the dots between my husband and me leaving. Rest assured, my husband and Texas had a good relationship afterwards, when we all lived together!
He was also much quicker than our other cats to understand certain words. For example, we give our cats wet food once a day. Because it is served in a small dish – petit plat in French, we’d call “petit plat !” to signal it was served. It didn’t take him long to recognize the words: his eyes would open wide and he would rush to where were were!
Texas was also a very affectionate kitty.
The times I was feeling blue for whatever reason, he would always come to me and do one or both of two things: stay close to me to purr, and console me, or do something clownish to make me laugh. He wasn’t a lap kitty, at least not with me, but he would get next to me when he felt I needed support.
When we adopted Kitshka, it took him 2 days I believe to take her under his care, kind of like a big brother. He would play with her, bathe her, nap with her, and even get back at Milou when Milou was hissing at her at the beginning!
And indeed, Texas was a little fighter.
He didn’t always get along perfectly with Grouik and Milou when we were in New York. And he wouldn’t let them mess with them.
He would also gently signal humans that they should stop touching him by gently biting once or twice… and humans were expected to understand before the third love bite ;)
As a kitten, he was serious about defending his food. Later in life though, he would let Kitshka push him aside so she could have some of his food.
Texas was also a gorgeous ginger cat.
Although I never really called him ginger. He was “cream and white” with beautiful, silky fur. His white paws were always super clean.
I remember well how many people commented on the color of his coat. When we brought him home from the store in the Parisian subway, someone even asked if I would give him to them (huh, in your dreams!).
And of course, he was featured in Westchester Magazine, as one of the cutest pets in Westchester County, NY in 2013 (thanks in part to you too, dear readers).
He was a well-travelled kitty.
Texas lived in France (in three places), visited Brussels once, lived in Westchester County, NY, and west of Austin, Texas.
He traveled by train (to Brussels in Belgium), by plane (to America), and went on a road trip with everyone when we moved from New York to Austin, And of course, he traveled by car (to the various vets – probably not his favorite transportation).
He was a refined gastronome.
He loved plain yogurt, but always – always – full fat. Activia was one of his favorite (unfortunately, plain Activia yogurt is not available in the U.S.). He loved cream cheese and mascarpone. Once I also caught him eating the little bumps on top of my freshly baked madeleines! He loved catnip – really loved it. And some of his favorite foods were European brand Almo Nature, and in the U.S. Petite Cuisine, Natural Balance’s Catatouille, and Applaws.
One evening at my Mom’s place, we caught him licking olives that were on the table. That is how we discovered he luuuuved olives. It would put him in a state close to the one catnip would. He could smell them from another room and would come and beg for one. He loved to first play with it, and then eat it.
The day before he crossed the rainbow bridge, we stopped by a place called Wimberley. This time of the year, we see a lot of “Dia de los Muertos” decorations of course. And I saw this beautiful painting. The cat. The heart. The message.
Texas was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and probable congestive heart failure two weeks before. He had a big heart, figuratively and unfortunately for him, quite literally. He took a piece of my heart when he left, a piece that was his to take. He stays forever with me in my heart and memories though.
The painting now belongs to me.
We miss you, Texas. I know I will always will.