Names

1430/6th January 2023

When we had that bad storm just before Christmas, the wind was so violent, we brought the wind chimes in lest they be damaged.

Yesterday I went to get something out of a storage cupboard and there the chimes still hung. So, with a lot of clamour, I put them back out.

The wind chimes are memorials. When they play their symphony I remember my long lost beloved pets. And mostly I smile.

Sometimes though, I grow misty-eyed.

It is never easy, losing a much-loved friend, be it human or any other species. But the grief one feels over an animal is especially poignant.

In my life, it has been the hardest of all griefs.

Maybe because I have loved animals more than any human.

And there are certain pets that get to you emotionally more deeply than others. Even though you claim to have no favourites, just like people there are some that really touch your heart strings.

Panther was not the first to affect me this way and when he first came into my life I still had Yeti with whom I had a special bond.

Yeti was given to me aged 5 weeks and I lost her to kidney disease when she was 17. She was special for lots of reasons. I did not expect to find the same connection again.

Months later Panther had a tumor removed. It was benign but during those few days I was stunned to realise how deeply I had come to feel for him.

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A little black cat with the sweetest “bikini bottom” of white and front legs that were not quite right.

He was “rescued” from a ranch by a lady who was afraid he might get trampled by the horses.

When I moved to Seattle I wanted to get involved in animal rescue and this was the lady I had made contact with. Verbally.

People who get involved with rescuing animals have huge hearts but many of them are unable to maintain perspective, as was the case with this kind woman.

Yeti had been an *(almost) only cat and I had not intended to change that status but before long, Panther arrived. Technically, he was a “foster” but I knew he had come to stay.

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Remember I said that you can’t shut cats out?

On this occasion, I was baby-sitting a friend’s cat, keeping him in his own quarters in a spare room.

Panther always wanted to meet everyone and cats were no exception. He thought it was very rude of me to deny him this acquaintance.

But Taslin was a senior gentleman and it was for the best.

At least for him and for me.

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Panther’s rescuer had been concerned about his mobility but I soon realised it was never going to be a concern. Panther was more mobile than most cats I’ve known.

When I moved he was determined to help.

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We were still settling into my new home when the rescue lady phoned me about a kitten.

It was been attacked by another animal and was at the vet having its tail amputated. But the lady didn’t have the funds to bail it out.

Conveniently, the kitten was at our veterinary clinic, so I said no problem, I would take care of it.

And then I asked what plans she had for the little guy…

It was when I went to pick the kitten up that I came face to face with the reality of the animal rescue I had got involved with.

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Driving home with this tiny scrap, I chatted to him about names.

The Universe, or Fate supplied one promptly.

A truck pulled onto the road ahead of me. It was a SYSCO truck.

In my favourite movie “Dances with Wolves”, there was a horse named Cisco. This kitten was the same sort of colour too.

So Cisco he became.

And also Panther’s best buddy.

The photos are scanned and not great quality.

But you get the idea.

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In due course Grisabel arrived and Panther was in love.

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Additonally there was Joely a bunny who had needed a home.

And Annie who wanted to be an only cat.

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I once acquired a small black cat
He was a fine boy, and that’s a fact.

The name I chose for him was Luka
The boy shook his head, ‘no that’s a loser’.

“Are you sure, my boy?’
He looked at me, coy

“Think some more” he said,
“And it will come to your head.”

“We’ll know straight away
“When the right name you say.”

I pondered and wondered
Considered and offered

But the boy rejected them all
"Those names" he said,"do me appall!"

I hemmed and I hawed
Until I grew bored

Then out of the blue
A name came through.

Casting my eyes
On his tiny small size

“Why, before, did it not occur?”
“You’re a little black Panther!”

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Sometimes, when Panther sat up like this, which he did all the time, I used to wonder if I shouldn’t have called him Joey, but as small as he was, he had the big personality of a black panther.

Panther loved visitors. My lady friends all had their hair pulled but when Grant arrived wearing a hat, Panther bumped against it until it was turned around sideways.

So Grant always called him “Bumper”.

Next month, Panther will have been gone 9 years. I guess I will always miss him but I was so lucky to have such a funny, sweet boy.

*In the beginning, Yeti had a companion, but that is a whole other story.

8 thoughts on “Names

  1. Thank you, Carolyn, for such a wonderful memories! It brought my memories of an unique connection never to be experienced again.
    And Panther was very special and beautiful person.

    Joanna.

  2. Thank you for sharing your experiences with all your special cats (and each one is special in his/her own way). I, too, have those beautiful memories that can at the same time bring tears to my eyes.

  3. Let me just start by saying “Dances with Wolves” are probably the only movie I have seen more than 5 times – love it! So Panther actually chosen his own name 😉 – such a fun-loving poem!

    1. I met Kevin Costner just after the film was released and he wanted to know how it was doing as he had been in England making Robin Hood. I said I thought it was doing very well. Then he wanted to know if I liked the scene with the buffalo stampede. He was really nice, down to earth.

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