Monday, August 24, 2009

Farewell, Turnip


From what I have observed in reading blogs about cats, when there are four or more cats living together, two personality types always seem to appear. There always seems to be an Alpha cat (in the case of Turnip's house, there were two, Buddy and Charlie) and there always seems to be one cat who is so laid back that nothing ever bothers him. This was Turnip. Turnip was always the first cat to welcome a new cat into the family. When the very aggressive Charlie joined the group, it's like Turnip said to him, "Hi, you want to be the boss? Fine with me." Turnip's story started about 13 years ago when the Mom was teaching in an inner city school in Connecticut. She found an obviously uncared-for, but very friendly female cat behind the school and took her home and named her Matilda. Even though Matilda was younger than the other cats, she acted as though she wanted to mother them all. As it turned out, Matilda was soon to be a mother for real. She gave birth to five kittens, including Zorro and Turnip. Turnip got his name because daughter Amy said that she always wanted to have a cat named Turnip. The Mom kept all of them, save one which she gave to her son. By the time that the family moved to New Hampshire, only Turnip and Zorro were left. Turnip loved other cats, but was a bit shy around humans. He was also a bit timid about going outside. He always stayed pretty close to the house. Where Zorro is a very active outside hunter, Turnip preferred to hunt inside the house. Zorro discovered how to bring live mice inside and let them go and Turnip was always on them in a flash. Turnip had appointed himself the eradicator of intruders into the house. In the Vermont house, he sometimes found snakes in the basement. The Mom was once carrying an armload of bedclothes to make up the bed in the spare room for weekend guests and stepped on something wet and gooey. She thought it was a hairball, but when she could look down, she saw what looked like a wet red cord. It wasn't until she saw a few scales left on the head that she figured out that Turnip, who was resting on the bed, had caught and skinned a snake. When she cried out her disgust, Turnip gave her that look of utmost innocence that everyone who lives with cats knows well. Of the cats who go outside, Turnip was the most unlikely to ever get hit by a car, because he usually stayed within sight of the house, which is far away from the road. The one time that he ventured near the road, he got hit. I can only guess that he was chasing something, maybe another snake, and wasn't paying attention to where he was going. The family is hit hard, because it wasn't that long ago that Charlie went to the Bridge.

                                       Turnip was such a kindly soul.
                                       He welcomed new cats without a growl,
                                             But show him a snake --
                                             It's skin off he'd take.
                                        Now he's gone to the Bridge in the grass to roll.

11 comments:

Inigo Flufflebum and d'Artangan Rumblepurr said...

Ohhh, I love the last line, enjoy the special grass lovely Turnip.

Brian said...

Turnip was a real sweetie and it is so sad to lose someone you love like that. Thanks for sharing.

Cheysuli and gemini said...

I was very happy to learn about Turnip, but sorry that he is gone.

-d ma said...

oh that is so sad... turnip sounds like he was a great cat- and i love the name. i enjoyed your observation about four cat homes... that would mean that if i brought another cat into our house, it would have to be the laid back one since none of the current three fall under that category...

♥Da fambly cat-a-blog kitties♥ said...

It is always so sad when a life is cut short for no other reason than the cat was allowed out the back door. Cats and dogs do not pay attention to where they are going, either. They are animals and it is up to us to protect them. If we don't, then we have no business in sharing out lives with them.

Turnip's human said that it was a beautiful death. There is no pretty death for an animal who is hit by a car.

LC, Ayla, and Iza said...

Thank you fer sharin the stories of the kitties what gone over the Bridge...

Princess said...

Turnip, he had a good life. I am so sorry he had to go to the bridge, but he is probably really happy now.
This was a beautiful and wonderful limerick!

Andrée said...

Karen, all of us in the cat blogosphere are blessed to have you tell our story with such care and love. We can't write our stories when we are grieving and you do it for us. Bless you.

Andrée said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrée said...

I wanted to return and reassure Da fambly cat-a-blog kitties that I said that Turnip was beautiful in death, not that his death was beautiful. And I completely understand her point about letting cats go outside. I take total responsibility for that decision, as I commented in my own post about Turnip after Da fambly kindly visited me. Thank you for your care, Da fambly . . . your love shines.

meowmeowmans said...

What a beautiful post. I love the limerick ... especially the last line.