Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Athena 1997 - 2014

Late last week, my ex-wife Lori made the tough decision to put Athena down. She and I got her, along with her sister Elektra, when we lived in Austin sixteen-and-a-half years ago. Elektra was run over by a car several years ago, but Athena toughed it out to the very end. While it as an agonizing decision for Lori to make, it was simply Athena's time. The old girl had become weak, emaciated, incontinent and uncomfortable.

See how old that laptop is? Athena was even older!
Athena was not the world's friendliest cat. She tolerated humans - most of them, at least - but did not tolerate other cats very well. She hissed and growled at other cats, and sometimes other people, so often that my nickname for her was "Hiss Kitten." My father was especially amused by her irritability. One time, while witnessing Athena in a rather agitated state, he laughed and demanded to know "what in the Hell is wrong with that thing?!" As fearsome as Athena tried to be with all her hisses and growls, however, she was never very good at backing up her words with actions. Whenever Elektra or another cat would attack her, she would quickly run away.

Her tail is being pulled, and she is not amused.
One thing Athena was very good at, especially when she was younger, was hunting. She kept our apartments in Austin and Midtown free of moths - the phrase "get that moth!" would send her in a frenzy as she scoured the apartment for any moth she could dispatch - and when we lived in Denton she even killed a couple of rats in our back yard. Her hunting activities tapered off over the years, but even as recently as a few years ago the word "moth" would still cause her to perk up.

Perhaps Athena's most striking feature was her coat. Athena was a calico-tabby mix with all sorts of interesting patterns and colors running along the top half of her body from her head to her tail. I used to joke that I wanted to take Athena to a taxidermist when she died so I could continue to enjoy looking at her coat. That's not going to happen, of course; although we had discussed burying her under a tree, like we did with Elektra, Athena will be cremated and her ashes might wind up in a garden sometime in the future.

Athena stayed with Lori after the divorce, but I'd still see her regularly when I took Kirby to her house or otherwise came to visit. She'd chirp her hellos to me and find a spot on my lap to rest and purr very time I came to visit. She stayed pretty healthy through the years, too; it wasn't until the last few months that her condition really began to deteriorate.

According to this chart, Athena lived to be 82 cat years old. She was a beautiful cat, and she will be missed.

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