June 1997 - March 2011
I got Lucaya (and the boys) when they were about 2 weeks old. I was working for a bull riding company and was living out on a ranch with the couple that owned the company I worked for. A neighbor brought over these three kittens asking if we needed any mousers. He said he had found their mother dead and didn't know if they would even make it.
That was the beginning of our journey together. They were so tiny and I was immediately very protective of them. Feeding them, caring for them, and constantly rescuing them out of the mouths of the dogs that lived on the ranch. In return, they provided me the comfort and companionship I needed in the abusive atmosphere I lived in. I remember many nights sitting out on the back porch with three little kittens curled up in my lap and tears running down my face.
When the chance to leave the ranch presented itself I jumped at the opportunity and took "my babies" with me. I remember my dad saying. "Don't you dare bring those cats home with you." Ha! Ha! What was I supposed to do? I couldn't separate them. Hee! Hee!
I have come to discover that each animal, like each person, has a unique personality. I described Lucaya many times as that girl in high school that was the most popular and only talked to the "cool" people. Some may have said she was a little snooty. But one thing was always sure, she loved me.
My favorite memory of her was when I was still living with my parents. I worked the day shift at Applebee's as a server. She would wait at the front window for me to come home from work and then when I got home would follow me back to my room and cuddle up to me as I took my afternoon nap. My mom said that if I was ever late or did something after work she would start pacing back and forth between the front window and my room like she was afraid she missed me or something.
Dave remembers when he took a step back and accidentally stepped on her tail. He had shoes on and didn't know he had stepped on her tail, he just froze when she started screaming. Looking back it was hilarious because Dave described her scream as 1,000 tea kettles all going at the same time, he just couldn't figure out what was going on.
She had extra toes on each of her feet. In a way she had opposing thumbs. She used to pick up food and eat out of her paw. She would also dip her paw in the water dish and drink the water out of her cupped paw. You could toss a toy to her (that her claws could grip) and she would catch it in one paw. I even witnessed her catch a bee in mid air with one paw. Amazing! :o)
Lucaya proved to be great with kids. She was always very patient with Payton and Lincoln, as well as, all the kids that would come to playdates. She may not have enjoyed all the attention she got from the kids but accepted it graciously. I think the above picture was Dave's doing...He thought it would be funny for her to "nurse" all of Payton's little animal toys. I guess the cow was late to the party. LOL