I named her Ophelia, after Hamlet's girlfriend, English Literature major that I was. I thought - still think actually - that this was very clever and pretty funny and the name made me smile back then when she first got it and makes me smile still.
However, she became a member of our home and was so named around the same time that Natalie Merchant came out with her famous album Ophelia, and so most everyone, when told my sweet cat's name, assumed that she was named after the album. Not the girlfriend and so the humor and cleverness and basic genius of her being named was lost on most everyone. It bummed me out. But it is a good story. I am happy that I got to tell it here twice.
She will be seventeen years old on July 4th of this year. It's pretty cool that she was born on the 4th of July. Almost as cool as her being named after Hamlet's girlfriend.
We wanted to have her have kittens. That was the plan. When we got her from the pet store down the street from where we lived at the time. Newton, Massachusetts. West Newton Hill, to be exact. And we - as in me and my kids - would head down the hill, a lot, and hang out at this awesome pet store. Debbie's Petland. It's not there anymore. But when it was, it was great.
We were there at least once a week. We bought and sold gerbils there. And got a really cool snake. And hung out with puppies that would run around the store so that the customers could play with them. We got fish there. And an aquatic frog. And bunnies. And we got Ophelia.
The woman who sold the kitten's to the store was a breeder from Sherborn who also had a farm school for home schoolers. We were homeschooling at the time and so my two older kids would go to this school at this woman's home and hang out with animals. A goat that thought it was a dog and an alpaca and chickens and a rescued squirrel and horses and cats and I'm sure there were other animals there, too, but I don't remember them all.
So, back to Ophelia, we got her from the pet store and that is how we found out about the farm school. And got to know the breeder/farm school person and this is how we got to talking about Ophelia having kittens. We thought this would be so cool.
We were breeding other animals at the times. Our gerbils were having lots - and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots - of babies that we would sell back to the pet store in exchange for more gerbil food. And our bunny, her name was Clover - though we first named her Whore Bunny because we bought her for our bunny named Calm because he hit puberty and needed a girlfriend - had a litter of bunnies. So we thought having kittens would be kinda cool, too. But alas, it turned out that Ophelia had a tipped uterus and there were no kittens to be had.
We took this in stride. It was actually to be expected. It seemed that most of our pets had something a bit off about them.
Our first dog, a massive Standard Poodle named Ruckus - so named because we got him when my son was just one years old and just learning to talk and we knew he could say Ruck because he could say truck, though often he would say fuck. I thought this was very cute. Anyway, Ruckus had a problem with his tongue.
At first we thought it was diabetes because he was drinking water, constantly. And we were told that this could be an early symptom of puppy diabetes. So we brought him to the vet. The vet called with good news - he was not diabetic, he was inefficient. His tongue was not attached correctly in his mouth and so he could not lap. He bit the water instead and so was not getting as much. Hence the constant drinking. And also the mess around his bowl.
The vet suggested we let him drink from the toilet. Which I thought was a great idea because then I would never have to remember to fill the water bowl. And so he did. As did all our dogs that came after him. And our cats, too.
Including Ophelia. Except now. Now she is old and jumping up the toilet seat could prove dangerous so she drinks from a bowl on the floor.
Our cat, Phoenix, however, still balances the bowl like a pro.