Aby-a-Day – June 13: The cats who came before – Part 4 (Friday Flashback)

Originally there were only going to be two parts to this series…but it turned out to be four parts! This is about the crossover between the Siamese regime and the Abyssinian era and who from my old life knew the cats I have today.

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I met my future husband in 2003. Before he met me, he’d never really known any cats. In fact, he told me he didn’t like cats. I asked him why, and he responded, “Well, they don’t love you. They aren’t loyal. They don’t greet you at the door when you come home, you can’t play with them or take them to the park…” “Ah,” I said. “You haven’t met my cats.” And, sure enough, he saw the error of his assumptions. So much so that he decided he wanted his very own kitten to raise himself and be “his” cat. This was in 2005, when Harri was 14 and Patrick was 11; of course, those two old bachelors would be no match for a hyper young cat.

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So I adopted Tessie. Her registered name is Bes Butterfly; Tessie fit the sounds well enough and also evoked the previous year’s World Series victory. I found her on the Retired Friends list (the same place I’d found Patrick eight years before) and fell in love with her photos and her description. She’d also had her own litter of kittens, so she knew how to handle them. I’d originally been looking for a Siamese, and then branched out to Burmese and eventually found Tessie under Asians.

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Tessie fit right in.

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Tessie was 12 years younger than Harri, but they formed an almost instant bond.

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I always said it was because they were both born in the Year of the Goat, and had many qualities in common. But whatever the reason, they became fast friends.

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Tessie adored Harri.

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And the feeling was mutual.

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They often slept cuddled together.

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Tessie’s relationship with Patrick was more complicated. I think Patrick was a little jealous of Tess’ friendship with Harri.

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However, they did get along. These two photos were taken not long after Harri died. Both Tessie and Patrick loved Harri, so I think they bonded for a while.

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But at best they were more roommates than actual friends.

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Sometimes, Patrick would pretend Tessie wasn’t even there.

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Tessie has always been our nurse cat. That may have been why she was so drawn to Harri; he was in pain from his arthritis and also on daily medication for his thyroid. When Patrick came home after yet another dental procedure, Tessie would look after him.

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And then, in June 2005, Kylie the kitten arrived on the scene.

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Tessie was cast in the big sister/auntie role to deflect Kylie’s attention from the older boys. Turns out, that was a good call!

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Kylie idolised Tessie and did everything she did. She was like Tessie’s little white shadow.

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Harri always loved other cats, especially kittens. He would run up and greet them, and seemed taken aback when they would hiss in his face.

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He watched over Kylie like an uncle.

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Harri really loved Kylie, but as she got older and he got more frail, she started avoiding him, and would hiss at him when he got too close. I think that really hurt his feelings.

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Patrick and Kylie had an odd relationship.

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For one, he was just so much bigger than she was! I don’t think he really knew how to deal with her.

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Harri died in August 2006. This photo was probably the last “portrait” of Harri, Patrick, Tessie and Kylie together. It was taken in

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In December 2006, I got my very first Abyssinian…Gun-Hee!

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Patrick took to Gun-Hee right away – this photo was taken the day after we brought Gun-Hee home. Like Tessie and Harri, Gun-Hee and Patrick were 12 years apart and were both born in the Year of the Dog. Say what you will about astrology, I’ve always wondered what it was that caused the two cats born under the same Chinese zodiac animal to become bonded not once, but twice.

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Patrick became closer to Gun-Hee than he ever did to Tessie or Kylie.

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And apparently Gun-Hee felt the same way.

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Of course, Gun-Hee got along with everyone.

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He and Patrick just had an especially close friendship.

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Patrick was crushed when Gun-Hee died, only two years after he’d lost Harri.

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But for those two years, we had a happy family. After Gun-Hee’s death, as I said last week, Patrick just went into a decline. At the same time, I discovered Angel being fostered by Purebreds Plus, whose headquarters are in Vacaville, CA, only about 20 miles from where I grew up. We needed another Aby to fill the hole Gun-hee left, and Angel needed a home. At the same time, Patrick needed some boycat buddies. So…Patrick went back home to California, and Angel came to Boston. A year later, Jacoby happened…and the rest is history!

3 thoughts on “Aby-a-Day – June 13: The cats who came before – Part 4 (Friday Flashback)

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