Chloe, The Calico Cat (2001)

You were born in a Tulsa garage
The only girl of four
Calico with checkerboard toes
And wide, green eyes;
Or were they yellow?
And how did you change them to suit your mood?

Your mother was a regal princess, black and sleek,
Who taught you well to ride in life’s backseat
Without too much complaining
And proper ladies never miss the litter box,
Except perhaps for emphasis.

Your father?
Well, who ever really knows without the proper papers?
Part Maine Coon, to look at those tufted ears and paws
With long, luxurious coat and peacock’s plume for a tail.
Definitely a Daddy’s girl.

You were a southern belle with barnyard manners;
A Walmart girl who went to Saks one day
And found a tri-colored coat she just had to have.
“What a beautiful cat,” everyone purred,
Knowing but half the truth.

I brought you home one impulsive Thursday,
Newly weaned together
With your sibling brother “CB”
The one with the crooked hook of a tail.
“He always follows her around,” the nice lady said.
And so he did for five inseparable years
Until untimely Death made you to follow him.

You loved the outdoors in metered doses,
Venturing only far enough
To sniff some sacred flower
Or nibble a chosen blade of grass.
Dancing was your passion, catnip your solitary vice,
Except for a surreptitious slip of turkey stolen from the table.
Grooming was your daily pleasure
Or shall we say obsession?
An affinity acquired from a crazy Hungarian lady
Who taught you the fine art of celebrity.

You were our reigning diva, and we your servants,
Acolytes to your every need.
“Hamper Queen” we called you,
Intolerant of phone calls that excluded you;
Open books became your royal throne;
A desk piled high with responsibilities
A favored sleeping spot,
Reminding us that life is more than labor
And Sabbath rest comes even to the beasts.

You were our “snuggle beast” sleeping nightly
On a pillow next to our heads.
“Don’t touch her or she’ll start to purr,” I’m warned;
Unable to resist temptation,
And another quiet night of sleep is interrupted
By the rumbling purr of simply being.

For twelve short years and a few months more
We danced as Man and Beast together
Vestige of Eden’s Paradise lost
And foretaste of a new creation coming
Where lion and lamb lie down in peace together.

Now rest well, my dear companion,
In the Ark that once embraced your ancient ancestor
Beneath the multicolored rainbow,
Sacrament of God’s Promise that
Death always gives way to Life
In the Word who makes all things new,
Until that Day we dance anew
On fresh green grass of Promised Land.

And thanks for all the nuzzles.