Saturday, June 19, 2010


In loving memory of 'Layla'

This summer has really thrown a curve ball our way.  We lost our beloved Layla in May, due to a sudden illness.  Not sure what of, but at the time I didn't have the heart to have a necropsy performed.  Now I wish I had, as I think it would have given us some closure, but it was narrowed down to either tick fever, a toxin, or perhaps liver or some type of blood disease.  I had always suspected and mentioned to my husband a time or two that  I felt Layla may only be with us for a short time, as she always seemed a little frail and sensitive to illnesses.   She was so very special though.  Yes, all pets are special in their own way; however, I've never had such a bond with any pet in the way I had with Layla.

This happened just after the loss of my husband's Aunt (who we are also still mourning) who passed away earlier that month and it just so happened that we had taken in her three cats (Layla did not get her illness from them as I had them checked out and vaccinated as soon as they arrived).  So, it's been a period of adjustment for all of us here in pet menagerie land. Now, we're home to 2 dogs, 4 cats, and a Cockatiel. Oh, and with 2 fish, we've got most every level of the food chain covered.

Samantha, age 14 (pardon the blurred photo) is
pictured below.  She's so sweet. She snores when she sleeps!

We're taking it real slow.  The kitties stay in my studio at night.  Of course Samantha's whole world seems to encompass just that room.  She mostly sleeps on Aunt Betty Jo's blanket under my easel in the corner and eats, but loves to be petted and purrrrrs up a storm when brushed.  Guess she'll become the main 'studio cat'.

Gracie (Layla's sister) is not so sure about this 'invasion', but she seems to be adjusting fine.  Gracie has really helped us in getting over the loss of Layla, although it's very hard getting used to no longer seeing 'double' as they looked almost identical except for the different lengths of their Manx tails and Layla had a small white 'spot' on her head.  

It was 5 years ago on June 10th that I first saw these two little ones.  I was out sightseeing in a little town in NW Arkansas when I drove by a lady's house who was having a garage sale with her daughter.  The kittens were in a cardboard box in her front yard.  I could tell immediately these weren't your ordinary mixed-breed kittens, their markings were beautiful, and their fur was snow white, with 'points' like Siamese kittens.   There were four in all, so I asked, "do you mind if I take two?"  "Not at all!"  the daughter said, as they were her kitties.  I picked each one up and looked carefully into their eyes.  Layla I knew instantly was going to be a gorgeous cat.  Even though most kittens' eyes are blue, hers were intense at eight weeks, and her little 'riser' Manx tail made her look like a little bunny rabbit.  So choosing Layla was easy.  I knew they were probably some sort of Siamese, but the Manx tails were throwing me.  "Are they a particular breed of some kind?" I asked the girl, although it's never mattered to us, we've never been picky (but after having these two, I must say I'll not be content without having at least one  Lynx Point Siamese in my life forever).  "The mother is full blood Lynx, but she's brown, so I don't know why they all turned out white," she replied with her hands on her hips.  Well, I didn't know what the heck she was talking about.  The only 'Lynx' I'd ever heard of was the wild kind, and when she said hers was 'brown', that really threw me.  I'll have to Google it when I get home, I thought.  I have always wished I could have seen their mother.  I'll bet she was beautiful.  So now for the second kitty.  I chose Gracie, because she was the only one left with a 'stubby' tail and the Manx tails were so cute.  Besides, we had never had a Manx cat before, much less two.  The mother and daughter gladly ran and fetched me a cardboard box to put them in for the ride home beside me in the truck.  They would have given me all four kittens if I'd asked, which I was tempted, but knew hubby would have a conniption, so thought I'd better hurry up and leave before I weakened.

I can't tell you how excited I was about these two kitties!  We had lost our latest beloved cat, Bosco, of 14 years that previous Christmas and we were now ready for a new one...or two.  We had never bought 'litter mates' before.  It would be so much fun seeing them grow up together (and boy, was it). All the way home, brave little Layla kept trying to climb out of the box, but not Gracie, she was just fine in that safe, dark space.  And their personalities have remained the same to this day.  Layla was always the adventurous brave one, always pushing the envelope.  Always jumping over the fence, just to prove she could.  I would clap my hands and say "Layla, get back in this yard, girl!" She would make her tiny 'kitten meow' (which must be a trait unique to their type/breed) and reluctantly jump back into the yard.  Gracie on the other hand, is content to lay on the back deck all day, and has never once even tried to climb or jump over the fence.

Layla is buried just on the other side of the fence, which was her favorite place in the world to be, now among our other pets who have passed on, and we can see her headstone from our back windows.

Thank you sweet Layla, for your love and unforgettable memories...