[cross-posted to my other blog, floatingink]

Both of my dogs are hams. They were born ready for their closeups, they live for the spotlight, and they crave attention. Nemo the cat, too, loves to be where the people are, and has been in more than her share of photos.

Not so Spinner, who shuffled off her (9th) mortal coil late this morning. Spins was a cat of great dignity, poise, and composure. Up until a few days ago, she enjoyed the company of 2-legged creatures, but she seldom actively courted attention,. Even so, we often found that she had crept quietly onto the lap of a family member distracted by what they were reading or watching on television, and long after arthritis had begun to compromise her mobility, she would periodically surprise us by jumping up onto a bed or the couch so she could sleep near her people.

A rusty cinnamon-colored young cat when we adopted her through extremely formal channels (i.e., pulling up to the home of someone displaying a “FREE KITTENS” sign and knocking on the door), Spinner displayed her true colors, a rich deep black (with a tiny patch of white hairs over her breastbone) soon after she came home with us and began eating cat food–it seems that her previous (vegetarian–not that there’s anything wrong with that) owners had been feeding her a meatless diet. Mostly oatmeal.

Spinner came home with us to help us celebrate First Child’s 2nd birthday, and though she has been loving with all of us, she was His Cat, and she (and he) knew it. She earned her name within moments of arriving at our house, by hopping onto the treadle of my spinning wheel and riding up and down for a few turns. Though she never did that again, she was instantly christened Spinner, and the name stuck.

I hadn’t realized until today that Spinner was far too civilized and self-contained to court or even tolerate the paparazzi. In my thousands of photos, there is not one good photo of Spinner. Perhaps it will do to post here three images of this lovely but disappearing cat that I painted last spring as an art assignment.

Spinner died this morning at the ripe old kitty age of 18, having lived her years fully and happily, being completely herself at every moment. In the words of the gatha, let me respectfully remind you that life and death are of supreme importance . . . do not squander your life.