I have no idea why they called her The Pook. Her name was Chelsey and she was a feisty little tortoise-shell cat. Not sure just how you pull “The Pook” from that but, somehow, it suited her. An odd name for an odd cat.
It’s Remembrance Day today, and the fourth anniversary of Chelsey’s death. We’re pretty sure she planned it that way so she’d be remembered every November 11, since other less significant dates might have been forgotten over time. She was certainly not above co-opting an important holiday for her own purposes. So, on November 11, along with all of those who bravely served our country, we remember Chelsey, the cat who defiantly served no one.
She was already thirteen by the time I arrived at the farm and had been with Teresa since she was a 9-month old kitten. She even pre-dated Nollind in Teresa’s life. I think this gave her a greater sense of superiority than your average cat and, if you’ve ever lived with a cat, you know that the species already has this attribute in spades.
We got on quite well, Chelsey and I, much better than she and Nat, the other cat who lived here when I arrived and still does. They’d been living together and fighting about it for six years when I first met them. The funniest Chelsey and Nat story has got to be the chair-fight story. Chelsey was sitting on a chair, sort of like Nat is in the photo below, when Nat decided to walk up and give her a swat, just cuz. A walk-by swatting was a great idea, until Nat’s claw got stuck in the chair’s fabric and she couldn’t get away. Chelsey just stared for awhile and then slowly stood and stretched. When Chelsey’s claws came flying at her face, Nat very quickly figured out how to free herself from the chair. I wish I’d been there for that one.
I think Chelsey actually preferred dogs to her own kind, which is maybe why she liked King. He died the fall before I came on the scene but, from what I’ve been told, he was a gentle old cat, and sometimes rather dog-ish in his behaviour, like growling when someone knocked on the door. Chelsey got on with him quite well most of the time. I say most because one of the favourite Chelsey and King stories told by the humans is how she used to clean his ears for him. Sweet, right? Well, it was until she decided she was tired of grooming him and went in for the attack. I’m sure she thought it was a fun game, a bit like Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown. Apparently, King got less and less keen to have his ears cleaned over time.
Chelsey came from the Calgary Humane Society, adopted by Teresa when she lived in an apartment building named Chelsey Place. It was just the two of them for a few years until Nollind came along, and Chelsey and Nollind got along like a house on fire. Maybe it was one of the reasons Teresa married him—the cat approved. And she was that kind of cat, queen of the house, voicing her pleasure or displeasure with anything and everything.
Chelsey lived to be twenty and wasn’t so healthy or happy in her final couple of years, at least not in the winter. In summer she’d bathe in the sun, wander the yard, put on a pound or two. Life was good. But her last couple of winters were tough and she’d spend all of her time in the little nest they made for her near the main heat vent in the house. I was glad she didn’t have to go through one more winter when she opted to check out in November before it got too cold.
She’s buried under the caragana in the front yard next to King, a big sandstone rock marking the place. The house got a little quieter without Chelsey here to tell us all what to do and when, and we sometimes miss her clever, cranky little self. So today, on Remembrance Day, we remember The Pook, and we smile.