Sorry to say, Mr. Eliot, but you’re an idiot. February is the cruelest month, by far.

Fern was my first dependent, my college cat. I got her for my twenty-first birthday from Knoxville’s Adopt-a-pet. The index card taped to the wall read:

name: Candace

quote: “I don’t like these other cats. Take me home!”

And I did take her home (and changed her name). She was a beautiful cat with a lot of personality (and Candace was an entirely improper name for her). Gray with black stripes and spots, two “rust spots” around her neck, and small black dot on her lip. She quickly took over my life.

Fern was not a good cat. In fact, she was downright evil. She demanded undivided attention, and when she didn’t get it, bad things would happen. I often speculated that if she had an opposable digit, we’d be screwed. Certainly, she left an impression. Especially on our Rottweiler, Ava.

Ava loved her kitty. She would follow her all over the house in a very “Spy vs. Spy” manner (earning Fern the nickname “Secret Agent Kitty”). The kitty just confounded her and when Fern fell ill and we had to confine her to the bathroom, Ava just sat outside the bathroom door for a month, staring at the door, waiting for her.

She left a large impression on my love life, as well. She gave Selena cat-scratch fever. She would always sit in between me and any girl I was dating on my couch. She would rattle the hell out of my bedroom door at 6:00 in the morning. Her presence inspired me to write a song about her (“All the women I’ve ever loved have been allergic to my cat”). She was good for things like that.

Most would remember Fern as the cat that lived in a wine crate over the refrigerator, scaring the unsuspecting person going for a beer. Others might remember her for being the cat the brought home a bird in the middle of a party I was having.
Fern died last night at around 7PM of renal failure (she had been battling kidney problems for over a year) She was in my lap and purring (oh how she would purr). When we laid her out in her wine crate for the dogs to see, Ava licked her nose.

We buried her in the backyard in the Hello Kitty bed my mother made for her for Christmas.

Fern, may be the birds be plentiful.