R.I.P. Miss Nadia, our spark plug gourmand comedian and longtime feline companion.

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Our cherished friend Miss Nadia cashed out her ninth and final life on December 20, while we were in Bamberg during the Munich trip. Our human friends and diligent cat-sitters Karen and Jeff were with Nadia at the end, for which we’re extremely grateful.

People don’t come any better than those two.

Nadia was 16, around 80 in human years. She’d suddenly lost her appetite in early November, and for a cat whose life revolved around food, this was a warning sign. After a couple of visits to the vet, the collective decision was bad teeth, which implied extensive oral surgery. We knew there were risks. Although weakened, Nadia seemed to make it through this ordeal fairly well. She was getting better, but there came a sudden turn, and she was gone.

We were asked to consider a necropsy (an autopsy for animals), and agreed. It showed the blood work lab results to have been errant, somehow missing a metastatic cancer stemming from Nadia’s thyroid issues — a phenomenon rarely triggered, but fast-moving and deadly. Of course, had we known this, there’d have been only one sad course of action. As it stands, Nadia died peacefully at home. We can only hope she wasn’t in too much pain.

In 2018, we said goodbye to both our elderly cats, as Hugo’s death preceded Nadia’s by 10 months (he also was 16). Ironically, Hugo passed away just prior to our return from Portugal in February. What are the odds?

At any rate, let’s not regret Nadia’s passing. After all, we’ll be eternally thankful for having experienced her amazingly out-sized personality.

Nadia didn’t walk into a room, but sashayed, exaggeratedly shaking her butt and announcing her presence — and the imminent need for a tasty morsel. She was an epic chatterbox with a startling array of sounds and noises that might have led the untutored to believe a duck or squirrel had wandered past. I’m unembarrassed to concede that Nadia and I had daily conversations, during which I’d harangue her and she’d answer, or sometimes vice versa.

I’ll miss those. She was a receptive sounding board for my writing ideas, and never once advised me to tone it down. 

With Nadia and Hugo both gone, there no longer exists any need to separate them, which we’d done for behavioral reasons seven or eight years ago. The interior doors have been thrown open, and our second-floor-only feral refugee Mila (circa seven years old) has the run of the whole house.

Following Hugo’s loss, Mila abruptly executed a quantum leap in terms of opting for a degree of domestication, and now that Nadia is gone, she’s done it yet again.

Mila sometimes spends the bulk of the night on the bed with us, which is amazing given that she essentially refused to be touched by human hands prior to March of 2018. She’ll never be a lap cat, and that’s fine. We’re just beginning to witness the range of her distinctive personality, and it’s fascinating. 

Uncharacteristically for me, it’s taken all this time to gird up for the task of reporting Nadia’s passing and eulogizing this wonderful creature, who brought so much mirth and joy into our household. It’s been a month, and maybe I’m still a tad numb. Life’s about death, and speaking candidly, there’s been too damn much death in my life these past couple of years.

However, when we sign on to be adults, we accept the conditions of mourning. As noted, lamentations for the departed are another way to celebrate their lives, and make no mistake: Nadia had one hell of a rollicking, exuberant life. We probably won’t see the likes of her again.

And yet … yesterday we heard about a injured kitten in need of a home. After all, serendipity forever lurks beyond the shady corners of our conscious lives, and kismet inevitably awaits. 

I’ll keep you posted.

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