Friday, July 3, 2009

July 3 - BJ (June 1987 to October 2001)

Someone today got me thinking about someone dear to my heart. His name was BJ (named for Billy Joel).

BJ was a sweet little kitten that came into my life back in October 1987. He was just four months old and my very first memory of him was sitting on a bed and having him climb up my denimed leg. His little claws were not quite sharp enough to penetrate the jeans, but sufficient to allow him to climb. Once up there, he looked at me and meowed.

BJ was a talker. And his meows were not random. He looked at you with a cock to his head before he meowed. He'd come trotting to the door to meet me, meowing for food as I returned from work.

Oh, we had our trying times. I had wooden louvered doors on that squalid little studio apartment on the misnamed Grand Avenue in East Northport. When I went to bed, he'd initially curl up on my butt and snuggle in between my thighs to sleep. At some point after I'd fallen asleep, he'd begin to bang on those blasted louvers. I still hear that sound.

When I drove cross-country, he curled up in my lap. As he got older, he began to sleep stretched out from my shoulder down my torso (I'd be on my side).

On the morning of January 17, 1994, during the 6.7 Northridge earthquake, 13 pound BJ dove through a broken pane of glass in my large bay window and ran away. I posted little “Lost Cat” posters that said that he was missing and that he answered to the phrase “Wanna eat?” Every day I wandered the streets of the neighborhood, shaking his little treat can and calling out, “BJ! Wanna eat?” 11-1/2 days later, BJ showed up on a neighbor’s stoop. Other than now weighing about 9 pounds (having lost about a third of his body weight) he was fine He stretched a lot and I think he must have been just hiding under the house, since he was declawed and did not appear to have gotten into any fights. His one souvenir from the earthquake experience was a small patch of white hair that appeared on his left flank.

BJ had many adorable habits. He would sit by the side of the bed and stare at me until I woke, then meowed for food. If I pretended to stay asleep, he’d jump up on the bed and either tap my cheek or push his head into my cheek. When I went into the shower, he would sometimes follow me, standing on the toilet and tapped my cheek while I shaved. Sometimes, if he didn’t follow me in there, but he would be there waiting outside the door and meow for me; then he’d follow me in to the bedroom and wander under my feet as I dressed. When I came home at night, he knew the sound of our car and my Honder scooter and would run to the front door, meowing until I came in.

And while I have very many other stories about him, I'll share my thoughts on his final day. At about 9:45AM, on October 17, 2001, I was with BJ at the Vet, petting him and kissing him and telling him how much I loved him and what a good cat he had been. He gave a final loud meow when I brought him into the room. He purred his new sad purr, and occassionally looked at me. As he lay there on the table, receiving his injection, he and I gazed into each other’s eyes as he quietly slipped way.

On the way home, I saw a white dove on the phone line, then heard the church bells ringing, and a white feather drifted downward. I was told that meant that BJ got his wings. BJ has been reduced to about a half cup of ashes and after a period of time in a little blue can on a shelf, his ashes were moved into a lovely green urn with brass suns on it.

BJ was the sweetest cat, a very good friend, and 7-1/2 years later is still sorely missed.

Goodnight, Boycat.

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