My beloved cat Tallulah died early this morning. I adopted her at six weeks old and she was my constant companion and beloved friend for nine and a half years.
In 2004, my roommate Andrea and I adopted two kittens, Tallulah and her brother Kristoff, from the rescue agency, Kitty Kind. We later found out that the woman we adopted them from was arrested in 2005 for hoarding cats in her house. The bodies of 200 cats were found in her residence. We were so happy that Tallulah and Kristoff were two of the lucky cats who did not meet their fate in her house.
We lived with the two kitties in Washington Heights until 2006 when I got a job on the National Tour of Monty Python's Spamalot.
From 2006-2009, Tallulah traveled with me all over the United States and Canada to over 100 cities including: Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Naples, Memphis, Atlanta, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Hartford, Rochester, Buffalo, Indianapolis, Louisville, Houston, Dallas, Tulsa, Des Moines, St. Paul, Kansas City, Portland, Salt Lake City, Denver, Seattle, Boise, Omaha, Columbus, Toledo, East Lansing, Washington DC, Schenectady, Boston, Providence, Hershey, Nashville, Jacksonville, Fort Myers, Miami, West Palm Beach, Clearwater, Orlando, Birmingham, Greenville, Raleigh, Dayton, Milwaukee, Appleton, Madison, Grand Rapids, Minneapolis, Oklahoma City, Albuquerque, San Antonio, Fort Worth, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto, Syracuse, Ottawa, Pittsburgh, Sioux City, Cincinnati, South Bend, Peoria, Chicago, Huntsville, Melbourne, Austin, Wilmington, Cleveland, Anchorage, Eugene, Spokane, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Costa Mesa, Tucson and San Jose.
She also came on vacations with me to Alaska, Lake Tahoe and the Grand Canyon.
Tallulah flew on countless airplane flights with no fuss or noise at all. Most seatmates were shocked when I pulled a bag with a cat in it out from under the seat in front of me at the end of a flight. Tallulah was the best traveler. Dozens of bus rides, including overnight tour bus rides, where she would roam about the bus with her buddy, Taza the chihuahua. Through thousands of miles traveled in rental cars, she was my constant road trip buddy. She lived incognito in dozens and dozens of hotels. Her favorite hotel was the Hotel Indigo, which is pet-friendly.
In 2009 we returned to New York. Shortly after arriving home, Tallulah became sick. It was at this point that I discovered she was FIV positive. Kristoff, her brother, died a few years earlier from the same disease. Since they were both indoor cats, we can only guess that they contracted the disease from their mother (not a surprise knowing the household that they came from). I took Tallulah to many, many vets in NYC as she refused to eat for many months. Eventually we met Dr. Jill Elliot, a holistic vet who practices at Heart of Chelsea. She tried many different alternative treatments to try and get Tallulah better. I started a regimen of vitamins and force-feeding that continued for many months.
At one point Dr. Elliot prepared me to say goodbye to Tallulah. However, I was not ready to see this cat go. She was only six. I continued to force feed her and made a deal with T: she couldn't leave me until I had a family of my own. She couldn't leave me alone.
And then Tallulah got better. She recovered. It really was a miracle.
In 2010 we hit the road again with Rock of Ages. We were gone for 10 months - traveling to 26 cities. I met Eric and when we returned to New York in 2011, I was six months pregnant with Lila.
We moved to Long Island in 2011, where Tallulah has enjoyed our bigger house, the companionship of Lila and even tolerated Eric's dog, Riley.
We have taken Tallulah upstate to Copake a number of time, which she loves. We took her there for the last time just last week. She was weak and not eating, but she did venture out on to the porch and curled up with all of us in front of the fire on most nights.
Her health declined rapidly when we came home on Monday. She passed away in her sleep last night. Eric buried her in our backyard under the rose bush.
She waited to go until I had a family of my own. She kept her end of the deal. She was my rock.
Tallulah came into my life when I was having a really hard time in New York. I was lonely and lost. She gave me something to focus on and care about. She was the most gentle, loving cat. Never mean, never fussy (well, except about food!). She prepared me for motherhood. She was my piece of home during all those years on the road. She slept on a pillow above my head almost every night these past nine and a half years.
She was the most extraordinary cat and I will miss her so.
Until we meet again, Lu. I love you always.
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Below is a slideshow of some of the ordinary and extraordinary moments in the life of this most amazing cat.