Sometime in 1998, the shelter called my hospital to tell me they had a long haired calico kitten available. Knowing my love for calico cats, someone at the shelter thought of me. So, to make a predictable story short….they delivered the kitten. I was not there at the time, so took a ride in to see her later. What I saw was one of the cutest kittens I had ever laid eyes on. Her cherubic face was enchanting. Someone on my staff had posted a sign on her kennel that said “where is my tiara?”; it fit her perfectly. To paraphrase the movie…she had me at hello.

I performed leukemia and FIV testing on her and took her home. She was an affectionate kitten. She spent a lot of time with me, purring incessantly. She loved my Labrador, Ruby, whose body became one of her favorite resting spots. She developed a health issue, chronic diarrhea. Treatment after treatment failed. She looked like an alien with big pointed ears as her condition deteriorated. While I had named her Truffles, her name probably should have been Stinky. She was always happy, though, climbing on my head in the middle of the night with her less than perfume- like odor. Finally, her diarrhea subsided and she began to look like the beauty she was.

Back then, I was allowing my cats free access to the outdoors. Truffles, like the other cats, enjoyed going outside in the good weather. Not sure what she did, but as she aged, she became more and more of an outdoor only cat during the summer. It got to the point that she was outdoors completely from April through November. Once it got cold, she was my best buddy again, sleeping on me, kneading, purring, and patting my face with her paw. But during the summer months, I was a pariah. Even petting her outside was out of the question. To apply her monthly flea and tick control, I employed various tricks that usually only worked once. I even resorted to asking friends that dropped by to catch her so I could treat her.

These days, Truffles is getting old. Her gait is a little stiff, she doesn’t jump well, requiring treatment for arthritis. She stayed inside much longer this spring, not venturing out til June. Overall, she has been a healthy cat. Other than dental issues, she has required nothing other than routine care. At her current age, I don’t know how much time we will have together. All I know is that I will miss her when she is gone.


photo at top by Mark Thornton