10 Sep. 1983 - 26 Sep. 2001
Boojum was my first venture into multi-catdom. It had been a couple of years since I adopted Taliesin, and I thought maybe the time had come to get him a kitten to play with and raise. A trip to a local shelter produced a likely candidate: a small, grey kitten with an enormous purr. He was so friendly that the folks at the shelter were reluctant to let him go.
Introduction to Taliesin made for a few tense moments, since Taliesin's initial reaction was to throw a screaming tantrum. However, after a couple of days of getting acquainted he decided that having a kitten was pretty neat after all, and the two of them became inseparable. They remained good friends for the rest of Taliesin's life.
Boojum's most notable characteristic was his extreme friendliness. He loved all visitors and greeted them with demands for attention. (I had to lock him up when I had anyone working in the house, as he'd never have left them alone otherwise.) He spent a great deal of time in my lap, and the purr which attracted me to him as a kitten seldom stopped. He wasn't a very intellectual cat, but he had an enormous amount of love to give. The only drawback to his personality was his insistance on being the focus of attention; he got quite jealous if anyone petted another cat in his presence, and either made a pest of himself or whacked the other cat.
He was extremely active in his younger years (and well into middle age), with a talent for orangutan-like acrobatics on the cat-trees and various pieces of furniture. For a few years we lived in a two-story condominium, where the stairs had open risers; Boojum made a hobby of going up the underside of those stairs, hanging on upside-down with his claws, and finally crawling out between a couple of the stairs.
For many years, his very favorite game was "fetch". He loved to play with little sponge balls (about the size of golf balls), and when he found that if he brought one to me, I would throw it so he could chase it, there was no stopping him. I developed a fine throwing technique; from my bed, I could throw one of those sponge balls so it would bounce off the walls and all the way down the stairs, which gave me at least a few seconds respite while he charged down after it and carried it back up again. When he wanted to play, he would often wander around with a ball in his mouth, making that loud "Mrrow" sound cats use when announcing they have prey.
As he grew older, Boojum's athletics gradually declined, but he kept up an active interest in his little world. He was very conscientious about helping me with my daily routine -- he sat on my lap while I read email, investigated my food, and "helped" me read the newspaper (this involved his crawling up my chest and putting his nose in my face, making it a real challenge to see the page.) He also enjoyed watching the birds at my backyard bird feeders in the mornings, when he could bask in the sunshine on the cat tree, and drinking running water from the sink tap (which he regularly insisted I turn on for him.)
Boojum lived to be a very old cat, surviving to just past his 18th birthday. His health stayed generally good, though in his final year he slowed down a good deal and became rather frail. Always a lean cat, his appetite declined toward the end of his life and he got quite thin. He was always his cheerful little self, though, and the purr kept going right up to the end. He finally fell ill with liver failure shortly after turning 18; his condition declined rapidly over a few days, and when it became apparent that he wasn't going to recover, I said good-bye and had him put to sleep. I'd had him longer than any other cat, and for a little fellow, he left an awfully large hole in my life.
"In the midst of the word he was trying to say,
In the midst of his laughter and glee,
He had softly and suddenly vanished away--
For the Snark was a Boojum, you see."