Monday, June 29, 2009

henry 1993-2009

I remember when he was a kitten and he saw his first snowfall. He leapt into the window and tried to catch the big flakes as they drifted by.

He loved looking outside, watching the birds, so I got the brilliant idea of getting a cat leash and trying to take him for a walk to Prospect Park. He was terrified. I had to carry him (it was only a block from my apartment) and he cowered under the park bench the whole time we were there. Pigeons could have been covering me and he wouldn't have budged from under the bench. That was the end of the leash.

He could open cabinet doors and dresser drawers and loved to leap up to the top of my dresser, open the drawer and make a cozy nest in my underwear. Needless to say, my underwear had to find a new home, not hairy Harry.

His original name was Henri le chat, named after Matisse. But being a Brooklyn street cat, I thought he should sound a little tougher, so it became Henry. Other nicknames he acquired along the way: Hinky, HenHen.

A well-traveled feline, he had been on a plane at least twice to Florida, moved from Brooklyn to Virginia to DC to New York City, back to DC, and ultimately Virginia. When I was moving from New York he was crying in the car the whole first hour, and as I was crying myself and flipping radio stations to drown us both out, a song came on that had the tune of "Hernando's Hideaway" in the chorus. He magically became quiet. If he started to get agitated on that trip (or other ones), I would start singing "Hernando's Hideaway" to calm him. Worked like a charm. Add Hernando to the list of nicknames.

While I was pregnant he sat on my lap every night, and adjusted his cuddling position to my ever-changing belly. When the baby finally came, his nose was only briefly out of joint, and he soon grew to love her and was quite patient with her baby-grabbing of his tail or hair. I never once saw him hiss at her and certainly never swat at her. If she was too much, he would just remove himself from the situation. I wish I could always exhibit that sort of patience and understanding with a small child!

He was truly the best companion ever.

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