Category Archives: Larenti

Lion’s lament

I know not when these days began, though I know when they ended.

Larenti lying on the bed (2008_12_17_002472)

I sit on the couch and wait.  I will wait forever for that which is expected: Larenti rushing to my side, leaping atop the cushions to join me.  From anywhere in the house, he always knew when I sat down there, and he would always run to the living room and jump up to take his place on my lap or by my side.

But no more.

The rest of The Kids still share the couch with me at every opportunity, and they vie for my lap and to get somehow in contact with me as Larenti always did, yet the absence remains unbearable, a blade cutting deep with every moment.

Larenti peering over the edge of the bed (2008_12_17_002482)

I lie on the floor next to the bed and look up as I await his usual reaction.  Await is all I can do now, for Larenti’s face will never greet me by peering over the edge of the blankets with a half-questioning, half-delighted visage painted with beautiful earthen hues.  He enjoyed quality time along with the other cats, yet he never seemed sure about this particular game.  I always loved his curiosity in response to my being on the floor beneath him; equally, I loved that he knew it would always lead to blizzards of love between us.

Yet his face will never again peek over the edge of the bed.

The rest of The Kids still engage in Quality Time with the utmost interest and joy, and they try their best to sweep away the loss with kisses, touches, purring, play, and all manner of passion, though the emptiness they seek to fill is not theirs to fill.

Larenti sitting on the edge of the bed (2009_03_01_011699)

I awake and climb from beneath the covers anticipating the morning ritual.  Anticipate is now all that will happen, for Larenti’s voice will not fill the dark room with greetings and requests for affection, his form will not sit on the edge of the bed as I kneel next to it and shower him with soft words and petting, and his formidable purr will no longer bring joy to my heart as he demonstrates his love and contentment.

The morning ritual is forever changed.

The rest of The Kids remain steadfast in taking and receiving adoration in those early morning hours just as they have always done, yet a vacuous chasm now exists that can never be bridged.

Larenti sitting in the hall (2009_03_01_011652)

I grab the cat food or treats, and then I look and listen as the horde descends upon me with much meowing and jockeying for position, although now that one face in the background will never offer up the plaintive cries that always made me remember the skittish one who would stay back, stay out of the fray, but who nonetheless joined the restless herd in pretending they were all starving to death.  While I never let the food bowl grow empty, the sound of the bag meant tripping over cats eager to get something fresher than yesterday’s offerings, and tapping on the top of a can of treats or shaking a bag of treats would bring them all running.  Larenti stayed out of the commotion as much as possible, always lagged behind while still showing the same devotion to goodies—or even just a refill of the bowl.  His eyes wide as he watched me closely, he would offer up his sorrowful yet beguiling voice as part of the feline chorus that defined such times.  Only now his face will be missing, his voice silent, his stunning and wide eyes only a memory of what was.

Food and treat time now bears a fresh scar that will never fully heal.

The rest of The Kids continue creating loud, boisterous obstacles under my feet whenever they hear the food bag or treat containers; however, I keep wishing for that seventh song and hoping for a sighting of the lion, neither of which will ever caress my soul again.

A close-up of Larenti (2009_02_28_011212)

I grab the camera as afternoon sun fills the bedroom with warm light and pools of sunshine where The Kids gather.  I will never have another chance to see how such moments brought out the stunning colors and contrasts in Larenti’s face.  His large green eyes would catch the light like diamonds even has his beige tabby coat glowed like a fire on the beach.  His beauty was undeniable, yet at such moments it became a cause for celebration that the universe itself could not ignore.  I loved to feel his gaze resting upon me, his eyes devouring in great sweeps all that could be seen, his jovial spirit spilling from them when finally they touched me directly.

Only now the camera will never capture his magic again.

The rest of The Kids still offer their magnificence when the light is just right, still congregate in the bedroom where a wall of glass proffers afternoon pools of sunshine where they can bathe and nap and gather the warmth unto their bosoms; the pain of one missing, however, screams like an unhealing wound.

A close-up of Larenti (2009_02_28_011342)

Larenti: November 2002 – March 2009

Too much loss

Too young.

Too soon.

Too horrible to face.

A close-up of Larenti (2009_02_28_011203)

Larenti died tonight.

Maybe a brain tumor.  Maybe something else.

We just don’t know.

What goes without question is this: He began having seizures late in the evening.  Rushed to the emergency vet, his condition worsened—and it did so rapidly.

No matter the treatment offered, he stumbled down the pathway toward end.

And finally he reached his destination.

I haven’t the will or interest in saying more, at least not now.

The most recent photos of him I’ll share soon.

And stories.

And thoughts.

But for now, I plan on weeping my heart upon the altar of time that so readily takes.

Let the sun shine in

Being on call this weekend meant not getting out for more than a cursory run to the store or coffee shop, but it also meant more time with The Kids—along with more time to do chores.

Having my foot chained to a Blackberry and a laptop darkened my mood and butchered all hope of taking walks and doing some writing; it didn’t keep me from enjoying quality time with seven shamefully demanding felines.

Larenti on the edge of the bed staring at open windows with a longing only inside cats understand (2009_02_28_011292)

What irked me most was that I had the camera on the wrong settings.  Having been used most recently for outside telephoto sessions, I hastily changed lenses yesterday but failed to consider anything else before joining in a fur person convention taking place in the bedroom.

Most of the pictures didn’t turn out, but some did.  And since photography is barely a secondary consideration at such times, I wasn’t too bothered by that result.

Besides, I was rather pleased that piles of laundry and perpetual pages failed to dampen spirits.

Kazon sitting amongst piles of laundry and looking at me with that I-love-you-Daddy-now-please-pet-me stare that melts my heart every time (2009_02_28_011611)

We played.  Oh how we played!

And in between the play, we showered in affection.

The characters changed as cats came and went at will.  Time for a bath in the sunshine.  Time for a bite to eat.  Time for a nap.  Time for whatever.

None of them went very far, and every one of them came back again and again.

al-Zill lying in the sun trying to take a nap (2009_02_28_011169)

I feel shamed when work takes from them what they deserve; on the other hand, sometimes it gives them precisely what they need.

I guess it cuts both ways.

— — — — — — — — — —


[1] Larenti on the edge of the bed staring at open windows with a longing only inside cats understand.

[2] Kazon sitting amongst piles of laundry and looking at me with that I-love-you-Daddy-now-please-pet-me stare that melts my heart every time.

[3] al-Zill lying in the sun trying to take a nap.

Quality time

The Kids provide endless entertainment and companionship.  Unfortunately, being cats, they don’t always provide the best photographic opportunities.  I can’t tell them to sit and stay while I setup a prime shot.  I can’t let them run about the yard while I capture some magic moments.  In truth, they keep me on my toes when it comes to photographing them.

When we’re playing, it’s near impossible to snap photos while keeping them engaged.  I try, though.  What I wind up with most often are pictures of empty spaces, unrecognizable blurs, my own feet or hands, a wall or the ceiling, furniture, and anything else except cats.  Such is the curse of holding a toy with one hand as I hold the camera out and snap photos with the other.

When they’re playing on their own, I can sometimes get up and grab the camera for some snapshots.  Usually, however, they react to my movement by stopping what they’re doing and running to me for attention or a bit of personal play.  I try to keep the camera nearby for such moments, but that’s not always possible (busy doing chores or eating dinner are two examples that come to mind).

There is only one time when taking photos is simple: when they’re still (sleeping, grooming, etc.).

The next best opportunity is quality time.

Quality time for us happens as often as possible.  It’s nothing more complicated than me sitting or lying on the floor.  It draws them in like flies to honey.

We play.  We show love toward each other.  We focus on the pleasure of just being with one another.

But that represents another challenge.  It’s our quality time; I’m focused on them and they’re focused on me, so photography is nothing more than a byproduct when possible.

That there are seven of them also means my hands are full with making sure each of them receives their due affection.

Nevertheless, I find the happenstance photos from such moments often capture the wild spirits and loving souls that swim within each of these fur persons.

A close-up of Kazon as he looks at me (2008_12_27_003708)

Kazon.  What can I say?  He’s my baby.  When he realizes I’m occupying him surreptitiously in hopes of getting a picture worth the effort, he stops and looks at me with the adoration of a child.  He needs his love, his affection.  And he is a child, a big tomcat in stature with the mind of a juvenile who is always needy, always demanding of personal attention.

A close-up of Kako as she looks out the window (2008_12_27_003718)

Kako.  As independent as she is wanting of Daddy’s time, she proffers a mix of disdain and greed.  Sometimes I can’t get her off my shoulders long enough to breath; other times she smacks me around and lets me know I’m invading her personal space.  I love the bitch that dwells within this feline.  She is both distant and close all at once, a dichotomy that defines the spirit of all cats.

Larenti lying on the bed looking out the windows (2008_12_27_003720)

Larenti.  He is fear made flesh.  I always knew he was abused, for his fear of hands and sudden movements makes this clear.  Yet as much as he wants to engage the other felines, he fears them as much as he fears humans.  A bit of play quickly turns to panic, and a moment on my lap in purring contentment becomes fleeing apprehension when one of the other kids joins us and gets too close, rests against him, gets too near his personal space.  Ah, but he loves his time with me as much as he loves the rest of The Kids.  For a young cat, he still has time to realize the potential of the life I’ve given him.

A close-up of Vazra as he looks out the window (2008_12_27_003723)

Vazra.  He lives up to his name.  Simultaneously amiable and demanding, he is a true king of felines.  He demands things go his way, he demands no one else do what he does, and he demands everyone acquiesce to his needs and wants.  His physical presence, as beautiful as it is, represents a mere shadow of his personality, a big and bold being who loves with the utmost compassion as much as he expects me to answer his every demand.  He’s a mirror of my own soul…

A close-up of al-Zill as he looks at the camera (2008_12_27_003735)

al-Zill.  The neurological damage he suffered before I rescued him ensures he’s a special case in the xenogere homestead.  Affectionate with a purr that can shake dishes off the table, he’s also a child at heart who remains at odds with the disconnect between his brain and his body.  But how he loves the other cats!  As much as he loves me, I might add.  Watching him lie with Grendel as he grooms his older stepbrother warms my heart as much as it does when he pushes his way under the covers at night, when he races to claim my lap, when he follows me everywhere while continually rubbing against me, and when he gives me kisses—sometimes incessantly to the point of pain.

A close-up of Grendel as he looks at me (2008_12_27_003745)

Grendel.  A lifetime of ailments continues to take a toll on this alpha male.  He is Sponge, the cat who can never get enough petting, who can never spend enough time with me (although Kazon gives him a run for his money in that regard).  And while Grendel remains the chief of the watch, I myself lament seeing him weaken, seeing the tremors that plague him all the time now, seeing a great predator reduced to wisps of what once was.  He looks at me with frustration in this photo because I wanted him to pause long enough for a picture, yet I could only demand so much from him before I wept and held him and spoke to him with the utmost adoration.  His time is limited, something obvious by the continued downhill slide of his body.  So many memories wrapped up in this one cat whose flesh can no longer support the soul that made him master of our domain…

Although I tried also to grab a few pictures of Loki, all of them turned out as so much garbage.  He beat me profusely during this episode of quality time.  He ran about, punched me around, argued with me, and basically left me not one opportunity to immortalize his godliness within the digital confines of a photograph.  There will be other times, sure, but I’m sorely disappointed with myself for not being better prepared for his rambunctious and assaulting interaction with me.  For all the abuse I’ve taken from him over the years, I should have known better.