Tika the Greeter
What a winning personality Tika had. She certainly knew how to ingratiate herself. The first time our family met her she was in a cage at the SPCA. Richard and Misha had gone down to the Vancouver branch in answer to a call, saying the cat we were looking for was there. This was because Daisy, our three year old Seal Point Siamese had gone missing. We were just about to give up the advertisement in the Sun and Province missing classified section. All calls had been dead ends. We once had gone all the way out to the Langley S.P.C.A. on a wild goose chase and we were pretty much burnt out, but not quite ready to let Daisy go. So down to the S.P.C.A. went Richard and Misha leaving me at home, as I was getting too upset by the visits to the shelters. Richard came home and said. "Well it certainly wasn't Daisy , but she sure was cute. She grabbed me by the sleeve as I stood looking at her, and if we could accept the fact that Daisy is gone for good, this one would make a lovely companion." I was eager to get the details. Misha filled me in by telling me that the cat was certainly a Seal Point Siamese but still a kitten. Maybe 7 months or so. Also that she had been found on East Pender street and was in the "waiting to be claimed" section. This usually lasted for four days and then the animal if left unclaimed, was put up for adoption. We decided that adopting this kitten would salve our sadness a bit . We had been very attached to Daisy and had been grieving for quite a while. A kitten would be accepted by the big boys Junior and Shadow, as Daisy had been, and hopefully all would go back to normal.
So it was early on the morning that the kitten would go up for adoption that I headed out for the shelter. I arrived right as it was opening and dashed down to the cats and quickly found Tika still in the same area. Richard and Misha were right, she was very cute and she put out her paw and called and drew my attention . I opened the cage and held her. Tika as a kitten was very pretty with big blue eyes and the start of her seal point markings. When fully grown she was a handsome cat who drew admiration where ever she went. I then went down to the desk and put in a request to adopt this little unclaimed stray. In no time at all we were heading back to Burnaby with hardly any yowling. Most cats hate travel, but Tika was never too bad. Miso is the very worst, with constant howling for however long it takes.
As I had hoped Tika, as we later named her settled in and soon became the ruler of the roost. The boys took her arrival very well and harmony reigned. As with all my Siamese, apart from Miso she became very much my cat. She slept on our bed and would not share it with anyone else. This was fine as Shadow was quite happy to sleep with Misha, and Junior with Dana. God help us if we got another cat with no more bodies and beds to go around. Of course in the future we found out that the cats can share. Miso and Nori tucked right up with us and absolutely no quarreling.
Tika spent that winter with us and eventually summer came and it was holiday time. We had bought a lot on Savary and were renting a house for the summer while we decided whether to build a vacation cottage on the lot. The day we arrived weary and frazzled was as seemed always on Savary, a sunny one. The cats were kept in the first day just to make sure they knew where the food bowl was. Night time came and we all got ourselves to bed. That is everybody but Tika. She was very excited by the enticing smells of the country. Up and down. Purr Purr. She kept jumping on me and waking me up with little chirps and pats. Wearily I acknowledged that if I was to get any sleep at all I would have to take her for a little walk. The moon was out and it was quite warm, so donning a sweater over my nightie we crept forth. Not that there was any danger of waking any of the family up. All were dead to the world. Well what fun Tika had. We walked out to the big meadow that adjoined the back of the property and explored it in the moonlight. She just had to check it all out. I think we stayed out for a good hour before I finally put my foot down and carried a protesting Tika into the house. She finally settled down for the night and we both got some sleep.
How Tika loved Savary. At first she had to figure out the deer before she felt quite comfortable. Every evening the deer came out to the meadow to graze. Tika was quite perturbed by these creatures that did not seem to fit into any category. She would come running into the house all freaked out and puffed up, and I would dash out to see what scary thing it was that had spooked her, only to find that a harmless deer was out there. So for the next few evenings I sat out in the meadow as twilight crept over the grass and a deer came out from the forest. The first day the deer seemed just as curious as Tika and would cautiously come over to check us out. The deer was really interested in the cat. I was just another of those harmless humans. Once the deer got too close Tika, unable to stand it any longer would bolt away. Sometimes the deer also, until one night it happened. The deer got closer and closer head down , Tika sat still and their noses touched. A moment passed and the deer just wandered calmly away. After that the deer and Tika were quite accepting of each other. Of course there were many deer and only one Tika but it seemed ok with them all. I found that little scene so charming. Tika's other name became "Dances with Deer."
Back in Burnaby, Tika found herself an important job. When the schoolchildren were coming home at around 3 p.m., Tika would sit in the middle of the road and greet each child as he or she came by. She was very careful never to let any of them pick her up, so I was not worried about her being abducted. I also found out that she was pretty well known to some of our neighbors. It seemed she had a habit of visiting with other houses while we were out at work and school. But best of all she kept me company. In the garden and around the house she was a great companion. I have a photo of me sitting meditating on the sand dune out front of the Savary cottage, with Tika right alongside. She would get impatient if I stayed put too long, the walks were what she really loved. We walked all over the neighborhood in Burnaby and of course on Savary. Now I would be more cautious, especially in Burnaby where the Coyote population was growing. But at the time all seemed pretty safe apart from dogs coming upon us.
Tika was very fond of Misha my eldest son and when she got turfed out of prime sleeping position by Basil who we adopted when Tika was around 4, she moved in with Misha. By then Shadow was no longer with us so that spot was vacant. When Misha left home she was very upset and had to move in with Junior and Dana. I will talk more about the shenanigans that occurred with Basil's tenancy in his story, as the background on Basil is important to the tale.
Tika along with Junior and Shadow would usually be waiting on the lawn under the willow tree to greet us on our return home. My bicycle noise and Richard's car were noises easily detected by their keen ears.
All in all my time spent with Tika was a very pleasant and harmonious one. I found myself all alone apart from her, one summer on Savary. It was quite pleasant to be together and have no distractions. We slept and napped and walked and of course she sat on a log and kept keen watch when I was having a swim. What a girl. One couldn't ask for a more loyal companion. The Siamese cat is usually a one person cat and when bonded with that person, nothing could come between them.
Writing about my dear companion Tika, makes me realize how precious she was to me. As all of my furry cat companions have been. It has been at least five years since we parted but I still miss her.