Mazarine

The breeder brought Mazarine and Mignonette to our home in early November of 2011.  They were sisters out of the same litter of kittens: two so-called “tortie” point siamese kittens.  Mazarine (which in French means “blue”) soon morphed into Mazzie or Maz-Maz, and Mignonette became Minnie or Min-Min.

Photo on 2011-11-06 at 11.29 #2

Mazzie on November 6, 2011 shortly after coming to live with us.

Mazzie was what cat fanciers know as a “blue point” siamese.  She and her sister were called torties which is short for tortoise shell because the points are not strictly the dominant color variant for which they are named (seal, flame, blue, lilac or chocolate are the recognized colors).  Instead Mazzie and Minnie are those special kinds of fur pattern that you can get when you cross two different color points with one another and sometimes the female offspring (because the alleles are located on the same gene as the gender) will give a mixture of both parents in the color points instead of resulting in a pure color point.

I will admit that I didn’t care about the colors so much as their personalities, and within five minutes at the breeder’s house I knew that we wanted Mazzie for sure.  But then we were told that the breeder was reluctant to sell her without her sister, and instead of getting only one cat we came away with both sisters.

The reason I knew that Mazzie was the cat we wanted was the sweetness of her temper even as a kitten.  She’d never met us and yet she came willingly and without trembling into my arms.  She purred and was loving from the get-go.  I knew we wanted a kitten as social and sweet as this.

And sweet she remained through the four short years we were lucky enough to be her companions in life.

When one speaks of biological or even adopted kin in the animal world it is recognized that they often establish a hierarchy within the household.  It became evident to both of us that Mazzie (for all her gentleness and loveable nature) was the dominant cat in the house.  She could choose from the two of us (usually choosing Bart’s) which lap she preferred while Minnie had to go with the lap that was available after Mazzie had selected whom she would sit on.  She was the cat who ate and drank first.  She was the cat who would play if the other initiated only.

Mazzie was, in many ways, the perfect cat.  She loved to be held, but was tolerant if you did not want a cat in your lap.  Instead she would happily sit nearby.  She had an incredibly quiet presence.  Whereas all siamese cats tend towards “talkativeness,” Mazzie would talk in a sweet sounding, trilling voice.  Over the years I would often remark wonderingly to Bart whether or not Mazzie had been a bird in a previous life because her vocalizations sounded more like a song-bird than a house cat, especially the way she would trill at you as if to ask, “Where are you going now?”

During the day, before Teddy was born, she would mostly snuggle in my lap while I read articles or typed papers.  In the evening she would sit with Bart.  In fact, whenever Bart was home, his was the lap she always preferred, but I was an acceptable substitute when he was away.  When the girls were younger they used to both fit in my lap, though by 2012 that was no longer true.

Photo on 2012-04-25 at 17.28 #2

My girls helping me study.  Mazzie is on the right.

As they grew older, they grew out of wanting to be permanently in a lap and so I would often find them sleeping together somewhere in the house. As is so often the case with cats that usually meant there was a blanket lying somewhere they had decided to colonize.

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The red blanket was a special favorite.

Mazzie was the cat who came to greet visitors and even sit in their laps right away.  She was the one who was curious and adventurous.

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Exploring the new house and under AJ’s bunk bed.

Sometimes the outdoors would call her and on one particular occasion she sprang out of the door and half way down the block with me in hot pursuit of her when she must have realized that she didn’t like being outside in the rain and so she turned tail and ran right back to the house, streaking past me back into the warmth of home.

She was also the cat who I worried I’d find creeping into bed with Theo because from the day he was born she was almost always in the same room with him.

When AJ was with us in the Netherlands over the summers he gave her a nickname too because she liked to be near AJ during the day.  One day I heard him playing in his room with his knights and I peered round the corner because I heard that he’d included Mazzie in the game.  He was saying, “Queen Mazziefur! Do you pardon this evil person who has brought such misery to our kingdom or shall he be put to DEATH?!”  I peeked in and sure enough, Mazzie was sitting next to AJ facing the knights.  She had learned the night routine too.  I’d run AJ’s bath and as soon as she heard him getting out of the water, she’d run to his bed where she’d snuggle with him while I read him stories.  She would lie there with him often until he’d fall asleep and then after some time had elapsed she’d return to Bart’s lap.

Bart and I laughed and laughed together that once Theo had grown to be about AJ’s age Mazzie would have her pick of male laps and Bart would be the “Alpha” in the family, AJ would be the “Beta” lap, Theo would be the “Gamma” lap, and I’d wind up with no kitties.  I’d just be the “Omega” lap— a place cats would stop to sleep only if there were no male laps in the vicinity.

It was a nice dream.

Queen Mazziefur never got a pardon from the infection she’d contracted that damaged both her liver and pancreas.  I had gone with Theo to the United States for Thanksgiving and when I got back I remarked to Bart that she was looking thinner.  Six days after I had returned she stopped eating all together.  Five days later she passed away despite our efforts to save her.

Yet to the end she remained the same quiet, gentle, sweet and loving creature I met those 4 years ago.  She allowed Bart to force feed her through a syringe these last horrible days we watched our friend dying so slowly and yet so quickly too.  I never heard a hiss or growl from her.  Sunday morning I came downstairs with Theo before Bart, and went into the study to check on her.  I looked in Bart’s chair (where she preferred to sleep), she wasn’t there, I glanced at the sofa and when I didn’t see her there I knew something was wrong.  Then I noticed the bile near the cat box and inside it was our dear friend, curled up for all the world as if she’d fallen asleep there, but I knew she was gone.  Her ears did not stir.  No blue eyes met mine when I called her name.  Sometime in the night or early morning her spirit went on.

And I miss my friend for whom I was the Omega lap.  I miss her soft voice and her beautiful personality.

Sleep well, dear Mazzie.  We love you very much, and we’ll take good care of your sister whom we also treasure.  Thank you so much for having been part of our lives.

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~ by Rebecca Erickson on December 21, 2015.

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