Cordelia (1999-2014)

IMG_2291Cordelia was a starving, stray cat who wandered into my mother’s garage in the early fall of 1999. I was allowed to have cats at graduate student housing at UCSD, so I took her in and she accompanied me through qualifying exams, my marriage to Linda shortly thereafter, the writing of my dissertation, the arduous years of adjunct work, and the slow triumph of a tenure-track job. She has a featured role in a poem that was published in “OR” magazine a few years back and which was one of the poems that Jose Luis Rico and Robin Myers chose to translate as part of their project on their book of my poems.

A few people over the years, such as Zach Mann, has caught the reference to King Lear’s daughter immediately, but I would add that she was equally given that name in honor of P.D. James’s detective, Cordelia Gray. Cordelia should have been dead two years ago, according to the vet. She had a reputation at the vet’s office for being feisty, but “those are the ones that live longer.”

Five years of chronic kidney disease had taken its toll, however, and she was very thin, though still full of a fair amount of energy. She still enjoyed the sunlight in the window and spent time on the windowsill late this morning. In fact, that was the last place in the house she spent time at. She had stopped being able to digest dry food several months ago, and in the past two months ate constantly, but still lost weight. Fluids didn’t seem to help that much. After one such treatment, in fact, she was rather sick for three days, after which she improved temporarily. She still slept with us at night. I am going to miss her terribly.

She went across the country with us. I can see her in my mind’s eye sitting on a windowsill in late December, looking in feline amazement at all the swirling snowflakes of the first heavy snowfall we endured on Long Island.

Today, at noon, Linda and I took her to the vet, and she is now (I hope) frolicking with other cats I have lived with (Miko, Stan, Nanni-zaza) as well Kevin McNamara’s beloved Chairman Meow