Nina the cat passed away today after a recent illness. She was about fifteen years old though due to unknown circumstances in her early life and some vanity on her part, we do not have a exact figures.
Like her namesake, the gifted “High Priestess of Soul” Nina Simone, Nina did not suffer fools and was known to be volatile when provoked or otherwise. With a tough exterior, she was especially sensitive to being shown any sort of affection, frequently bringing to an end any expressions of love with a razor-like swipe directed at her “aggressor”.
Though she looked down on work and like many cats perfected the art of a lazy day, she would join in occasional domestic duties, helping out with folding warm laundry or perhaps watering plants, indeed she had a weakness for drink. When inevitably her help was rated as otherwise, these episodes would again terminate with minor bloodshed, often in the ankle region.
Nina was an enthusiastic pugilist often initiating bouts with opponents well out of her modest weight class. She was gifted only with determination and a persistent if less than devastating left hook. Both larger cats, dogs and most enthusiastically humans were fair game - she was not put off in the slightest by being outsized by orders of magnitude. She followed the lead of her hero Rocky Balboa and focused on attacking the body - though with larger opponents this often meant ankles and calves.
Though she remained opaque as well as suspiciously sensitive on the subject, it was widely suspected that Nina had a brief background in ballet. Her stance and gait suggested someone who had been exposed to the appearance, if not the substance, of this classic dance form. During her more Rubenesque years, this cultivated the nickname “The Chunky Ballerina”. She was not fond of this.
Nina eschewed the out of doors - with the exception of a brief and singular trip around the Barker Road house one bone chattering night in February - saying that only animals lived outdoors. Though athletic, she was not a mouser and preferred the ceremony of being fed by her human subjects.
Not exactly a team player, Nina was also known to disparage her siblings in writing given the occasion to do so. Many birthday cards, lovingly procured and prepared for her human subjects by her more demonstrative siblings, were saddled with swipes at those same siblings often claiming that they “smeled” - spelling was never Nina’s strong suit.
Despite these issues, Nina radiated a charm that others - feline, canine and human - found irresistible. Once one understood her boundaries, she was impossible not to love. She remained highly respected - and feared- all here life and she will be missed dreadfully for her attitude and stalwart dedication to exemplifying what it means to be a cat - and in particular a black cat.
She is predeceased by her brother and fellow pugilist Zachary, and sisters Kitty and Spud. She is survived by her feline sister Deva, a practicing Buddhist, as well as her canine sister Brandy from whom Nina had been estranged until a recent and thorough reconciliation. Responsibility for Nina’s human subjects now passes to Deva and Brandy.
No flowers please. Nina hated flowers and was well known through the years for knocking vases over, drinking the water and leaving the flowers to die. In fact today, when she could barely walk, she managed to pull over a plant at least three times her weight so she could a) make a mess and b) get a little water to slurp up. This was Nina.
EB White's Obituary for his dog Daisy inspired me to try to write about Nina which occupied my mind while trying not to be so terribly sad about losing my longtime friend and confidant. Goodbye Nina and give 'em hell on the other side; I know that you will.