She was my sister, my twin, I felt, and grew up with me.
She was not conventionally the most beautiful cat, and she was neither engaging nor what one would call "sweet", but she tolerated the company of a rambunctious baby, toddler, and child, pre-teen, and teenaged human - me.
She was an everyday sort, a down-to-Earth kind of gal. There was not much remarkable or flashy about her. Home-spun, she was dutiful and earnest.
She had a meek demeanor, and yet was known to face the most fierce predators, be involved in harsh battles, and she was extremely protective.
Cutie Pie was beloved by my Father, especially, and she adored him.
She once, in a legendary flight, ran away many miles, through countryside and city traffic, in order to be reunited with him.
After that, I allowed Cutie Pie to stay where her heart was - with him.
Her last litter and her death battle...
Veggies every day.
Shelter, safety, and happiness.
Mutual respect, and her last moments...
Cutie Pie lived to be seventeen.
And, had she been an indoor cat, would have lived much, much longer, of course.
She, with her white hair and being in the sun a lot had developed skin cancer.
When it was noticed, it still had not penetrated her skull, so when she was kindly put down, it was before she felt anything.
I'll never forget the look on my Daddy's face when I returned that day from the vet - without Cutie Pie.
He was stricken.
I, in my teen-aged self-pre-occupation and my, I suppose, shock when the vet had told me her condition was fatal - and that she would only have a future of pain - had decided without even calling my Daddy to allow the vet to put her down immediately.
I can't understand now why - unless I thought at the time I was sparing my Father pain - unless it was being in shock, that I had her put down without even a call home, or without letting Daddy say good-bye to her.
After all, it had been he who'd brought her to his then baby girl, me, and who'd tenderly taken care of Cutie Pie always.
Why hadn't I thought then of how close he was to my cat?
I'll never really understand why I had not understood then how much Cutie Pie had meant to him - and he to her.
Life and - then - death - were still only concepts - alien ones - to me at that time of my teens, and life was so fast...