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When I first went into the humane society, I wasn't looking to get a cat yet. I was looking to see what was there, what the conditions were, and decide whether I wanted to get a cat there. I walked in the door and Cecil stood up suddenly and meowed at me like "About dang time! Can we go home already?" He was everything I didn't want - male, orange, long-haired, adult. I arranged to take him home within days.

Let that memory lighten the grief.

When we got Cecil to the apartment, there was nothing there but Michelle, Me, Cecil, and a couple of sleeping bags. He heard something outside on the porch he didn't like and actually *pointed* and growled like a dog. Guess we knew what he was raised around.

Let that memory lighten the grief.

Kevin (my SO at the time) and I once had an argument. I was sitting in one of the recliners, and we were yelling at each other, Kevin walking around in front of me. Cecil decided Kevin had gotten close enough, and came charging up on the arm of the chair and started hissing and spitting and growling at Kevin, all ready to defend me.

Let that memory lighten the grief.

When we first got Cecil and Tag, both wore collars that had pull-straps on them; it didn't occur to us that they could choke the cats until one day I noticed Cecil's kept getting tightened, so finally off came the collars (the cats didn't get out anyway). Turns out Tag (the kitten) had been using the collar against Cecil when she started to lose and had pulled that collar tight on him several times. Cecil went after her and taught her a lesson... but always softpaw. He never used claws on the other cats, and taught all the furs he brought up in our household to softpaw as well.

Let that memory lighten the grief.

Cecil was always known as my Angel-Cat because he never did anything wrong. Aaah, the keyword was that he was never *caught* doing anything wrong. One day I was laying innocuously reading a book with full view of the kitchen when Cecil stalked in, jumped up on the counter and pulled down a cookie Mish had baked. Took a bite out of it and decided he didn't like it. He then went to the trash can and *threw the cookie away.*

Let that memory lighten the grief.

When we were living in the apartment, we'd sometimes take Cecil for walks - we'd put the leash on him and go where HE wanted to go. It got to the point where when he wanted to go out, he'd go to the door and stretch up and unlock the deadbolt. One day Michelle left the apartment unaware I was outside without my keys. I got up to the door and turned it... and it was locked. "Cecil, Walk!" I called a few times, and heard the deadbolt slide back. Of course, he got his walk - and some pounce treats.

Let that memory lighten the grief.

Cecil would not allow an adult cat into his household, though he couldn't resist kittens. When Mith at about 6-8 months came into the household, he was too old for Cec, and he let us know it. It was the only time Cec was actively violent with a family member, trying to push Mith out. So we got kittens instead... And man are we cured of kittens by now. However, when Drake (the last kitten Cecil raised) came to us, we put him in a room and Cecil just gave me this look like "No, mom, you didn't. Tell me you didn't. You couldn't have. You didn't. Oh, crap, you did," as we brought Cecil first into the room to be introduced to the kitten he was about to raise. Cecil was not happy. "Oh no, not another little shit..." Drake, who was smaller than a handful at the time, did the little black Halloween cat thing. He was about the size of Cecil's head. Cecil came closer to sniff him and Drake kept up the Halloween cat thing. "Cute little shit, but did you have to get another little shit in the apartment?" Within a week they were curled up together, devoted mentor and student in life, a bond that never broke until Cecil died - even when Drake took the Alpha cat position from Cecil.

Let that memory lighten the grief.

We got our first wand toy and discovered something... As far as Cecil was concerned, fluffy feather toys must DIE. They were an offense on the face of the earth, just like plastic bags (also something he'd shred whenever given the chance). As he got older and the other cats got stronger he yielded the fluffy feather toys to the others (Drake loved to play with them), but he always loved to chase a piece of string flipped along the ground.

Let that memory lighten the grief.

When we moved to North Carolina, we bought a house that had one floor that was all linoleum. It was the main floor, where everything went on. The cats all had to learn to navigate on it, and it was amusing as all getout. A cat's instinct when he starts to slide is to extend his claws. As far as linoleum floors are concerned, this is known as "ice skates" and the cat slides even faster, depending on momentum and mass (and Cecil was one fat cat at that point in his life). Watching him (and the others) crashing into one wall or other as they learned to navigate the linoleum, then wander off shaking paws or licking themselves in the typical cat "I meant to do that" provided hours of entertainment for us two-foots.

Let that memory lighten the grief.

For a decent chunk of his life, Cecil slept in my bed with me. This left us in a constant battle, because he wanted to sleep at my feet and I preferred him to sleep by my head (I have restless legs syndrome and it was untreated at the time, so sleeping at my feet was an invitation to be launched across the room). We finally got it sorted out so that he'd sleep by my head... and then I learned another problem. He could tell by my breathing if I was awake or asleep, and by golly, if I was awake I was supposed to be petting him. So he'd head-butt my face (Pfaw! mouthful of fur!), then take a paw and bat at my nose ever so gently. If I didn't respond he'd extend his claws just a hair - just enough that I knew he could - and bat at my nose again. And then we'd play chicken. Would he give up before he clawed me hard enough that I had to punish him? Usually he did. Sometimes he won and got his pettings. It all depended how tired I really was.

Let that memory lighten the grief.

I've always had a tendency to perch in my chairs; thanks to Cecil it's an ingrained habit. See, if I let my legs dangle down in any chair in the house, I was in danger of getting bruised shins from my dear cat showing affection, Turkish Van style. There's nothing like a Turkish Van head-butt. I've heard it described as receiving affection from a sherman tank, and I gotta say that's accurate. He'd bang bang bang the top of his head into you until you pet him, and you'd wonder if you had anything broken other than blood vessels from the experience. So I've learned... always keep your legs UP when a Van is in the house. Otherwise just accept the bruised calves and go on.

Let that memory lighten the grief.

Of course all the kids liked wet food, but let a can of tuna be opened, and it was dancing Cecil time. Unfortunately one day we had to give him some medication and Cecil *refused* to take pills. So we did as was suggested and crushed the pill into a can of tuna. After doing that twice, Cecil was suspicious of tuna ever after. It was like that any time we tried to hide a pill in anything - even at the end with the gerber's baby food. I hid a pill in his favorite one, and after getting that pill in the gerber's twice he wouldn't touch the stuff, pill or no pill. He just didn't trust that we weren't trying to trick him again.

Let that memory lighten the grief.

When we first built a cat tree for the kids, everyone except Cecil was up and down and up and down the thing... only Cecil refused to go to the top. So we put him up there just to see what he'd do. The answer? Cecil apparently was afraid of heights. He cried until we let him down. After a few weeks however, he got over it and was up at the top like the rest of them, playing king of the hill with it. When Cecil and Indigo and I moved back to Atlanta from NC, we eventually got another cat tree - this one professionally done. He knew what it was about this time, but usually hung out on the second from top shelf. Drake (the kitten at the time) had taken the top for himself and it was too much like work to try to take it back.

Let that memory lighten the grief.

When we bought the house in Cumming, the other cats (Indigo and Drake) were a bit wary of it, but Cecil knew what was going on. He walked around the downstairs once, then a second time like he couldn't believe it. Then he saw the stairs and gave me a look like "oh YEAH!" and ran up them and checked out the upstairs. While the other cats lurked in corners and were nervous of their new home, Cecil was chilling on the landing, purring, thrilled with his new territory.

Let that memory lighten the grief.

Any time an outside cat came to a window and looked in we knew about it - because Cecil let up such a howling like all hells were coming down. He'd growl and howl and hiss and call in the posse (which included his two foots) to chase off the intruder from HIS house. He was extremely protective of us, of his territory, of his family.

Let that memory lighten the grief.

Cecil was a shedding machine, and once he discovered my shedding blade (for the horses) he was instantly in love. He'd writhe around and even scrach himself against the blade to pull the hair out, which I'd then collect in balls and toss in a bag (That was eventually thrown out). One day I decided to try to take that blade to him until he stopped shedding.... 2 hours later I had enough fur collected to make a whole nother cat, and it was still coming off of him at the same rate it had been the whole time. I gave it up as impossible. I still can't figure out how he didn't go bald that day.

Let that memory lighten the grief.

Who owned the stairs was a constant battle waged between Cecil and Rich. I'd long since learned that trying to get Cecil to move was a hopeless case; Rich just kept trying, afraid that he might step on a cat in the middle of the night if he didn't see Cecil. Cecil would take up the whole stair, or if he was feeling generous he would concede you a foothold's worth of space, then go back to lounging on his stair. That war I guess Cecil won in the end, because Rich never did "teach" him to get out of the way. Cecil always grumbled when he was kicked out of the way, and always purred smugly when he won.

Let that memory lighten the grief.

Cecil's purr motor just didn't stop. If he was awake, he was purring. If he was asleep, it was even odds that he was purring. And when he was really happy, you could hear him purr across the room. One of the biggest problems we had with him at the vets (who always adored him) was that he just wouldn't stop purring long enough for them to listen to his heart. He was the house purr-factory, and when he was so inclined he would jump up next to you on the arm of the chair you were sitting in and purr you right to sleep.

Let that memory lighten the grief.

 

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