Like most kids her age, Harper is fascinated with animals. And, like most kids her age, she is equally fascinated with the sounds they make. First it was ducks and their ceaseless quacking , followed by rabbits vigorously sniffing, which eventually led to barking dogs, tweeting birds, squeaking mice, mooing cows, hissing snakes and most recently, buzzing bees. But around Christmas time she had a proclivity for owls- Harper spent nearly all of December hooting. So Santa brought her Douglas Owl, with whom she quickly bonded. Other plush animals may come and go but Douglas Owl had better be in the crib by bedtime or else no one is sleeping that night.
But before Douglas Owl there was Tabasco Cat.
Just before Christmas, Tabasco Cat, our 16 year old cat, passed away from complications from renal failure. Tabasco was a gentle cat. She would take a little while to warm up to you but once she did she was very sweet and affectionate, and never pushy. She took a liking to Harper and Harper to her.
In the months before she passed she would cry for Harper who would then manhandle her with wild, toddler-enthusiasm. But Tabasco never minded. Quite the opposite. She would purr and lean into Harper and start to drool. When Harper learned to “make the cat sound” it wasn’t a meow like most kids make. It was a loud “MAW!,” the sound of a geriatric feline looking for her little girl. So it broke my heart when it was time to let Tabasco go. For me but mostly for Harper, who loved her more than anyone.
After Tabasco died Harper stopped walking around the house MAW-ing. You had to ask her what sound the cat made before she would answer. And now, two months later, she “meows” like the other kids on the playground. It made me a little sad to know Harper was forgetting her friend.
Another cat was out of the question but I needed to do something to commemorate Tabasco. So I did the next best thing; I got Harper a plush cat. A sleek, black cat, with big, green eyes, just like our beloved Tabasco Cat.
Snowball II (Yes, Brad named her.)
Harper was SO excited when she saw the little cat for the first time. She immediately started meowing and repeating “cat!” over and over. Harper is even meowing all over the house again. So now she has two favorites: meet Douglas Owl and Snowball II.