Tallulah Mae Valentine, In Loving Memory

Tallulah Mae Valentine, May 24, 2002- January 16, 2014

Loafin' With Lulah

Loafin’ With Lulah

Also known as– Loulabelle, LouLou, Luley, Talloo, Mow-Pow, Minky, Minketta, Racquelle, Bossypants, and as Fox dubbed her, “President of the Pretty Kitty Club.”

In the feline family she is survived by her biological mother, Sophronia Strong Hall (14); Her littermates and siblings: Blixa, and Merlin (also 11); her foster sister Fiona (10); and her sometime-boyfriend, Thaddeus “Rusty” Jones Shackelford (6ish).   Also feeling her loss will be two influential canine companions, our dog Rosencrantz “Rosie” Ann Guildenstern (11ish) and my sister’s dog, the Professor Wayne Fontaine (14).  Her absence will be felt by many, many humans everywhere.

It is assumed that she will be joining her brother Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate (who disappeared from our life more than 10 years ago); and will most definitely be reuniting with her “Uncle” Osbornne Horace Pilbinson, a kitty we have missed dearly.

Tallulah, Lounging

Tallulah, Lounging

I just casually mentioned three days ago in my “year in review” post that I’d lost Osbornne, my beloved 16 year old kitty.  It was just a little over two months ago, in fact.  ( www.lovenestdesign.com/in-loving-memory-of-my-kitty-osbornne-horace-pilbinson/ )  I had no thought or expectation when I chose to mention it in that post that I would be writing another of these teary obit posts so immediately soon afterward.  Alas, that is something that has suddenly become necessary…  and my heart aches.

Tallulah technically wasn’t ‘our’ cat.  I mean to say, she actually belonged to my sister, Meredith.  Meredith found herself with a larger dog, in a small apartment situation, many hours away from us in Tennessee, and felt that it would be easier on Tallulah to not make the trip, and instead reside with us for a while.  She has been living here in suburban paradise with us for a little more than three and a half years, and we have loved her as one of our own.  But I have always remembered– this is a love that is shared.

You see, when Tallulah was born, we were living here in Knoxville in an old bungalow that had been cut into two apartments;  I lived upstairs with my two cats– the aforementioned beloved Oz, and Lulah’s Mom, Sophi– and Meredith lived downstairs with a much younger (and goofier) Fontaine.  Due to an outdoor stupidity problem, Ozzie was *always* an indoor kitty, but Sophi had been rescued from our yard as a very tiny feral kitten.  I allowed her an in-and-out policy, feeling that maybe there was something inside of her that needed contact with the wild;  she deserved that, I felt.   At the time, I was young and super-broke, but I wanted to do the responsible thing, so I’d had her fixed at a cut-rate veterinary clinic in the poorer part of town.   My intentions were good, apparently far better than those of the surgeon on duty with her that day– her tubes-tying failed, and I was quite baffled to see my tiny little kitty growing larger, and larger, and larger about the midsection just a few months later.  Childbirth (kittybirth?) was quite literally a week or so away when I finally acknowledged what I’d been in denial about– my little grey girl was carrying kittens.  (Yes– that same clinic fixed her AGAIN afterward, for free.  No– I never took any more of my pets back there.)

Tallulah was the first live thing I witnessed enter the world– tiny, stripey, bossy even then!  I remember calling my panicked sister upstairs (now a nurse, of all the darn things), pleading for her to help me ease the childbirth process for Soph…  Like there is anything to be done– get a clean box, offer comfort?  We watched those babies be born onto my kitchen floor in the wee hours of the morning.  I think Meredith, a dog person, kind of found herself falling in love with a kitten that same day.  I wasn’t far behind her.

Friends Tallulah and Rusty, Napping

Friends Tallulah and Rusty, Napping

Tallulah’s, er, “leadership qualities” were evident from early on: the first out of the womb, the first kitten willing to leave the box; the first to venture out of the closet where the kittens lived; the first to introduce herself to my boy-kitty Oz; the first to charge my sister’s giant dog.  She had a large personality from the moment-go, and very little fear.

But somehow she’s always been very… dainty.  She had that old-fashioned *Southern lady* thing.  I’m not going to assume that you’re familiar with that demographic like I am, so let me assure you that the Belle-type of GRITS (girls raised in the South) are typically strong, proud, and independent.  But in a way that is always graceful, and somewhat delicate and distinctly feminine.  Genteel, even.   Not afraid to let you know if you’ve disrupted her delicate sensibilities….  Maybe a little bit easily offended, but willing to let you know it in a very scathing way.  It’s a magical, sassy combination, making Tallulah-kitty a LOT like her human-Momma, Meredith.

As she would walk, her feet seemed to be always pointed, ever tiptoeing, almost like a feline ballet dancer. She was for most of her life a bit of a portly girl, so along with that walk came a distinctive tummy-sway.  It was graceful, charming.  Her voice used the typical meow, but she also cooed, often questioned, and she did it a lot– Luley was very vocal.  She had an elegant tail that she would use to express her opinion alongside her words– words often related to you humans being ‘gross,’ or you know, being hungry, which she felt that maybe she *could be* all the time.

Here’s another way to try and explain her– she was the only cat that I’ve ever placed a collar on (pink and chocolate argyle with a snazzy bubblegum clasp) and she seemed visibly *satisfied.*  Not, “Hey, sucky-human-dude, get this crap OFF OF ME!” but, “Thank goodness!  Finally the jewelry I *SO* deserve!”  She didn’t feel harnessed or harassed, no– she worked that collar as the fashionable touch she knew it was!

Playing Video Games With Fox

Playing Video Games With Fox

She was one of those cats that didn’t really care for the company of children, as she wasn’t really exposed to very many until she started living with Fox.  The first few months she avoided him entirely (like Sophi *still* does– yes, I still have her mother!), but then she slowly began to warm to him… and then at some point, I think she loved living here *because* of him.  She would come in and listen with him when I read at bedtime, getting her attention from both of us at once– that was a big part of our routine.  You had to watch her, because if you positioned yourself too low into the bed, with the book propped upon your chest– she would come in and plop down in front of the book!  We would read, and love on her, and when I would say goodnight, she often stayed in bed with him, snoozing for a good while.

Luley was my lap girl, but she had an adorably funny habit– she wouldn’t really commit to being ON you….  Something about full-on hanging out on top of a human sort of went against her idea of proper decorum, I think.  She would instead sidle up alongside you, and when you seemed ready, she would just park her upper torso on you, tucking in her arms and appearing– from the front at least– to be completely catloafed on you.  But– aha!– her backside would be standing, tummy often dangling against your thigh, tail, again, working back and forth, letting you know how she felt.  It was really adorable, and I’ve never really seen another cat do that…  it was always her way, she literally did it on Pan’s lap three days ago.  Her last time, that poor baby.  I am going to miss that so, so much.

Helping Me Paint

Helping Me Paint

Bye Tallulah doll, I loved you, spunky girlie.  You’ll stay in my heart always.


Jan 17, 2014 | Category: Just A Thought | Comments: none | Tags: , ,

 


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