Friday, January 18, 2013

Our Secret Pet

Today we put our 15-year-old cat Boots to sleep.

If you ever spent time at our house, you’d be surprised to know that we had Boots. Because Boots was not a mingler. She didn’t like strangers. In fact, she didn’t even like us.

But she loved our son Graham. We got Boots when Graham was in grade school. She was slotted to be a farm cat, but Graham saw her, picked her up, and carried her into the house. And that was that.

Our other cats Carter and Millie didn’t give her a sniff. And because we have a large house, Boots took a floor (the basement) and lived there in her own company.

That’s where she and Graham bonded. The TV and video games were in the basement. And Graham spent long hours playing war and world-domination games with this little tortoise-shell kitten in his lap. We used to call him Dr. Evil.

Boots loved Graham. He could call her name and she’d come running like a dog and jump up onto his knee. If we called Boots she never came. Graham could hold Boots cradled like a baby. No one else could even pick her up.

Boots slept on Graham’s bed sitting on a pillow next to his head, staring at him all night. It was creepy.

After Graham left for college, Boots moved into our room, slept on our bed, but she never let us pick her up. She was a one-man cat and her man was gone. We were just pale placeholders until Graham came home. And when he did, he’d call her name and she’d come bounding out from under some bed, joyously meowing.

Boots was like a ghost. Sometimes guests would see her scuttle by. It’s weird sharing a house with an animal that is wholly uninterested in you. She just wandered where she wanted, away from public or private view, for 15 years. And now she’s gone. And it’s hard to say how she’ll be missed. But she will. 


  1. By, she looks similar enough that I have to ask if she was the mother of Bug, the last six toed cat I got from you? BTW Bug is doing well and pretty much in commnad of the house when she wants to be.

    Dave P

  2. She is similar. And she did have extra toes. But she's not Bug's mom. I'm glad to hear Bug is ruling your lives. As it should be.

  3. Karen, so sorry for your loss, cats can be such a singular creature and somehow it just works, just because they are cats, I am sure Boots will be missed very much.... but I have to tell you, you are one of my favorite authors and I just found your blog today. I have kept every single issue of Country Home I have ever owned, each month I pull out my stack of 8 to 10 magazines all from the same month, but different years, and go through them with a hot drink in hand. You are the first thing I seek out in each issue. You are the friendliest writer, I am not a crazy big reader (I love design and drawing and that takes up so much time!), but I always find myself thrilled to re-read those stories each time. I will order your book just because it is yours... I will subscribe to this right away and I hope you post often, you are like a friend from far away and you've made an impact on my life :) you've even inspired me to paint a room orange ;) and every mouse now has 'patent leather eyes' and say's 'cherrio!' blessings to you! ~kelly, (may I please include you in my very short list of things I love on my new blog (or attempt at one ;)

  4. My condolences. I have lived with several 'Boots' and currently have on called Gabbie Girl. I fed her, caught her, had her fixed and brought her into the house to heal and she never left. She tells me when she wants a rub, and after she has had enough she's gone until the next time. You DO NOT pick her up and she is very flighty. Yes, they are missed when they are gone.