Ivy came into our lives in 2013.
We adopted her as an adult. The breeder had originally purchased her to be a queen at the cattery, but she never got pregnant, so at the age of four they spayed her and offered her for sale. When we visited her, we loved how friendly and cuddly she was. And for $400, we took her home. I wouldn’t normally mention the price, but a breeding-quality Norwegian Forest Cat like Ivy probably cost the breeder $3000 as a kitten, not including the cost of a round-trip flight to Germany to pick her up. We got her for a steal.
To give her time to get settled in at the house, we put her in the bedroom with no other cats to worry about. My wife and I joined her for the night, and when we woke up she was gone. Not in the bed, not under it, not in the bathroom or either of the closets, and not behind or under any furniture. We looked a lot. Eventually, while looking under the bed, I noticed there was a piece of fabric hanging down from the box spring. So we pulled off the pillows, lifted off the mattress, and lifted up the box spring to look through the muslin bottom…and there was a kitty cat inside. This was world champion hidey-cat.
After about a year, she took to hiding under the bed all the time. Our vet diagnosed her with some kind of glandular problem, and we started giving her medication. We also noticed that whenever she did come out, one of our other cats (Buffy) would harass her. We were never sure if the sickness made her a target for harassment or the harassment made her sick. I tend to think it was the latter, because after Buffy passed, Ivy came out all the time like a normal cat and the vet said she didn’t need any more medication.
Here at the new house, she developed a laid-back attitude. If we had visitors, one of our cats would run and hide, the other would come out to meet everybody. Ivy on the other hand, didn’t care. It could be friendly children wanting to play, it could be cleaners with a loud vacuum cleaner. In either case, Ivy wasn’t about to get up for it, because “Ivy don’t care.”
There was one exception: We started getting a neighborhood cat coming around to visit. He’d paw at the door and yowl loudly, and Ivy would go over and sit down in front of the window to watch him. We started calling him her “gentleman caller.”
Ivy was a friendly cat who always welcomed the attention we gave her — head scratching, hair combing, belly rubbin’ — which she would pay back with friendly licking. Over the last year or two, Ivy has been slowing down and seeking comfort. She loved basking in front of the fireplace while my wife worked in the study. Whenever my wife and I were watching television, she would curl up on the couch between us. If my wife got chilly and pulled on a blanket, Ivy would climb on top of her and fall hard asleep. At night, we’d often wake up in bed to discover her curled up on the blankets between us, happily purring away.
This afternoon, while lying in front of the fireplace, she started crying out loudly all of a sudden. She stopped when my wife picker her up, but she was breathing hard and fast and barely moving. We took her to the emergency vet, and the diagnosis wasn’t good. We decided it would be best to see her out of this world. She passed quietly with both of us holding her.
She will be missed.