When my friend Emily told me she had 20-something kittens at home, I told her I'd take one for my parents. I picked out a tabby cat and we agreed I could pick him up in a few weeks after he was weaned. When I went to pick up the kitten there was a bit of a misunderstanding on my part, and I took home a different cat--the ankle biter. I named him Napoleon. I think his tiny, sharp claws sprung a leak in my aunt's waterbed. He was small and his eyes were huge and alien-like.
When I took him home the name Napoleon just didn't stick. My mom started calling him Nopalito, and then it was shorted to Nopi or No-no. In the beginning he was allowed outside, but on a leash...dragging a milk jug around. It was laughable. My mom put sand in the jug to keep him from jumping over the wall, and he just bit holes in it and dragged it around the back yard to empty it. The leash and milk jug were abandoned for fear of him choking or hanging himself from the wall. He roamed the neighborhood as he pleased.
Nopi became my dad's best bud. Nopi would always curl up in my dad's lap. My dad is the one who would get up at 4 in the morning to let him out or let him in. He was always going in and out. Ma called him Salientra (sale y entra, which means goes out and comes in.) Funny how if my dad wasn't home Nopi knew not to bother my mom in the middle of the night to be let out. When my dad returned from his trip Nopi would jump up on the back of the chair closest to the door and tell my dad how awful it had been without him.
A few years ago, after one too many fights and infections my mom stopped letting Nopi out. If he ever did go out it was just to roll around in the dirt and then he'd come back in all filthy. He mellowed out so much he would let my mom bathe him without much protest. He would cry in the middle of the night. Ross swore it sounded like a doll saying "I love you." He would cry until you got up, then he'd lay down in the bed and go to sleep. Little stinker! Lately, I took to calling him Old Man. He was walking funny, with his back feet pointing outward.
This past week Nopi passed away. He was 19 years old. He had all his teeth. He was in good shape. My dad is pretty sure he had a stroke.
I start crying every time I think about it. I keep squeezing Bailey and pointing at her and telling her she can't go anywhere.
Farewell my feline friend. We will more than miss you. The house will be so eerily quiet without you.