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Nine (2001-2014)

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One of our oldest friends, dear Nine, was welcomed into the hallowed halls of furry saints yesterday. It was a hard day with lots of tears from all but Nine who seemed ready to say good-bye.

When we purchased our little house in Portland, Oregon, there was evidence of rat homes in our dirt basement to which our worry-free realtor chirped, "It'll be fine! Just get a cat!" And so we heeded her advice, and began trolling the Multnomah County Humane Society's site for the perfect cat. A little harlequin-faced orange and black Tortoiseshell cat caught my eye, and soon we were filling out the necessary paperwork and forking over $100 (a hefty sum for such a little thing). The 99,999th cat to be taken in by the Humane Society, the name Nine had been bestowed by the good volunteers, and we kept it.

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She was a beautiful cat, mostly black, "with pumpkin-colored paws" as Joel would say. She kept us company for 13 - nearly 14 - years. She was quite shy around others, but would chirp and sing with her loud "maawoot" meow. She was a ferocious hunter, bagging all sorts of kills, rodents, birds, bunnies, once a squirrel, and leaving her treasures (or pieces of them) on the doorstep for us to admire. She was an adept traveller, having accompanied us on our family adventures from Oregon to South Dakota to Iowa and finally, Minnesota. In Oregon, she would relax under the backyard rosemary bush, and afterwards saunter around the house like a fragrant pomander. She loved the dust of South Dakota and would sit sentinel on a stump next to our driveway. In our verdant Iowa backyard, we had a creek that she would come jogging across each morning, not saying a word about her exploits, but looking proud and smug. And finally, in Minnesota, she found a wetland and forest next door, but most recently found a lot of pleasure camped out in front of the warm fireplace, keeping a cozy autumn and early winter. She was only lost once - for a few days, while being cat-sat in Bemidji with Molly and Doug; we returned to Molly and Doug's to search for her, and within minutes of our arrival, she chirped at the window, wondering where the heck we'd gone without her.

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We were her people. She was ours.

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She was our Sweetie, our Speck of Dust, our Deagle, our Lovely Deagle, our Niney-Chiney.

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She will be missed. She was so loved.

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