by David McElroy
I lost my friend Charlotte Thursday evening. She was only 7 years old.
When a young feral cat gave birth to four tiny kittens seven years ago, Charlotte looked different from the beginning. It was hard to decide what color to call her. But however you described her, one thing was clear. Among the four little sisters, she was the alpha girl.
Charlotte was tiny but she was fearless. When the other cats would run or hide from unfamiliar things, she would stand her ground, typically looking on with a bored indifference that seemed to be her way of indicating lack of fear. Her only real enemy was the vacuum cleaner.
Before we knew she was a girl, an ex-girlfriend decided this kitten’s facial markings made the eyebrows look like those of a Vulcan from Star Trek, so she was initially known as Mr. Spock.
One of her sisters died very early. In the picture at the bottom of this article, they were about 6 weeks old. The gray one which was second from the left in that photo died shortly after the picture was taken. There was never any warning and I never knew the reason. The vet said it sometimes happens that there is something genetic wrong and it just catches up with them shortly after birth.
The remaining three girls seemed to love books — mostly for sleeping — so they were named for the writing Brontë sisters. As the alpha, the former Mr. Spock became Charlotte, the oldest Brontë sister. The gray one on the right in the photo was named Emily. The black one became Anne. Read the rest of this entry »