Fort Catankerous

There are two inhabitants of Fort Catankerous - Wensley and Sirbie - with a line drawn down the center of the fort. Each has their own version of what the fort is like.

Click on the picture of Wensley to see more pictures of her
Name: Wensley
Nickname: Pea (because she's the size of a pea)
Birthday: February 28, 1990
Adopted: February 28, 1999
Died: October 12, 2008
Breed: Domestic Long Hair - Calico
Weight: 4.0 pounds
Likes: Peanut butter, howling for no reason, and vomiting in weird places
Dislikes: How much time do ya got? Baths, hugs, being picked up, attempts to play anything other than "string," going outside...
Talents: Being able to wriggle out of any harness
Motto: Life is short. Sleep as much as you can. Bite as often as you can. And always, always, always, barf on their shoes.
Pictures: Go to Wensley's Vineyard
Obituary: And Then There Were...

There's a photo frame that hangs in the "animal" room that contains three photos. It's a relic from my dot com days when it used to hang on my cube wall. The first photo is of Zoe, the guinea pig who died several years ago. The next photo is of Nemo and Elsa the chinchillas, both of whom are deceased. The final photo is a picture of Ogden and Wensley sitting on the couch together. It's been five years since Ogden passed away.

I've often looked at this photo and thought to myself, "And then there was one." It was a bit sad that Wensley was the only living animal displayed in these photos. We call her the matriarch of the pets. She taught the new animals the rules of the house. She's watched animals come and go. Tonight marks the end of an era. When I look at this photo now I will have to think, "And then there were none." We had to put our little (and I do mean little) Wensley to sleep tonight.

I've been telling her for months that she has to make the decision of when to end her life. I told her that I would prefer it if she curled up on my chest, went to sleep, and never woke up again. Sadly, that was not the case.

I surprised Jeff with a trip to Boston this weekend to celebrate his upcoming 40th birthday with his family. We had our usual pet sitter Jen look after the animals. I warned her that Wensley really wasn't doing well and the poor thing fretted over what to do if Wensley should take a turn for the worse. I assured her that it was unlikely that anything would happen.

When we got home, Wensley wasn't in her usual spot on the bed. It took me a minute to find her, and of course, I feared the worst during my hunt. I found her in the dining room by the heat vet in a rather bizarre resting position. I quickly discovered that she couldn't walk. There was something wrong with her back legs. I laid down beside her, crying. Wensley has always been a softy; she likes to comfort those who are crying. I think she summoned all of her energy to lift her head up and sniff my face reassuringly. It was very sweet. And then, for the first time in her life, she let me kiss her head. A week before Ogden died, she licked his head for the first time. She returned the favor to me by granting me the privilege of kissing her head. We took her to the University's Vet Clinic. She didn't say a word the entire car ride. She died about 9:45 tonight.

We were told two years ago that she didn't have a year left to live. Wensley proved them wrong. Wensley will forever be remembered as the feisty calico who loved peanut butter, beer, cigarettes, and mint (but not together) but hated baths - whether it be taking them herself (she didn't see the point) or getting one in the tub. I will miss our morning routine of snuggling under the electric blanket (cranked to high). I will miss her poking me in the middle of the night, telling me she's cold and that she wants to go under the blankets with me. I will miss the sound of her purring in the middle of night, greeting me whenever I would wake up in the middle of the night - and I will actually miss having to pet her until I fall asleep again. I will miss her shoving my laptop off my lap so that she could sit there at 5:00 on the dot every single flippin' evening. I will miss seeing her run to the heat vent when the heat starts blowing. I will miss her.

History: Wensley was adopted as a playmate for Ogden (our Maine Coon who died 7/15/2003). The first few months were rather rocky. The two fought a lot, mostly at 2am on opposite sides of my pillow (read: over my head as I tried to sleep). Eventually, the two stopped fighting and became "friendly." They definitely were not friends but they did tolerate each other. Occasionally they fell asleep together, with only tails touching. Ogden loved to lick her head and a couple of weeks before he died, Wensley licked his head for the first time.

Wensley chose her own name. We wrote down a couple of names that sounded interesting to us on little pieces of paper. We then put the scraps down in front of her and waited for her to step on one. She stepped on Wensley. We shuffled the pieces of paper around and let her choose again. For the second time, she stepped on Wensley.

Wensley is a made up name. Jeff and I are fans of Wallace and Gromit, a claymation series. Wallace (the human) and Gromit (the dog) like to eat cheese. Their favorite is Wensleydale cheese. Since Jeff wouldn't let me name her Gromit, I shorted Wensleydale to Wensley and thus Ogden's girlfriend was named.

Wensley is a good girl... most of the time. She is a loud purrer - but don't let that fool you. As easily as she starts to purr, she is just as quick to strike. She has a little temper and doesn't take !@$*% from anyone. She bit a four year old just for petting her when she didn't want to be petted! She has a lot of quirks. We suspect that she's had many homes in her short life and that uncertainty has left her a little bitter. When we first adopted her, we had to bathe her weekly because she didn't do it herself. Her skin was black. Now that she's been with us, her human-induced bathes aren't as frequent as she's learned that it's better to do it herself. She doesn't play very much. She just doesn't see the point... and a lot of games are a little tough for her to figure out. She does like to play with a piece of dangling string. Her one trick is to sit up and beg for her food. If you don't "make" her do this before you feed her, she gets confused and does it on her own anyway. It's also her "feed me" trick. She knows that if she stands up on her hind legs and begs, we'll feed her.

Wensley is true to her calico nature - talkative and ornery but also very loveable.