Tribute to Foulla (Little Girl)

Foulla (Little Girl), Somali Cat, December 21, 1991 to August 16, 2009

She arrived on a cool July evening, 1993, Air Canada Cargo, LAX. Her brother was next to her in another carrier. Upon my approach, she called out a soft meow and rubbed on the bars of her carrier's door in greeting to me. She was the first to make friends with me, jumping up onto my shoulders and sitting there purring. She looked like a dainty little thing - she was small even for a Somali. However, inside she was a tough old gal.

To the Cat Fanciers Association, she is known as Zabania Foulla. After initially trying to call her Foulla, I eventually settled on Little Girl. She was always the alarm clock. In the morning, if the alarm clock didn't wake you, she would. Very often, it would be the other way round. At mealtime, she would be up on the table or counter, vocalizing to let you know it was time to eat! When I would arrive home from work, she would come running up, meowing all the way in greeting, then stop and turn around to make sure her brother was following. One of her favorite places to stay during the day was up on the stove, in the middle, where the warmth of the pilots would be all around her. On getting down from the stove, she was usually toasty warm. At night, she was on top of the bed covers, laying on top of my legs.

Foulla was an acrobat and could do something that resembled a cartwheel. Her favorite toy was two shoe strings tied together with a button. I would drag it around or twirl it and she would grab it. She loved that toy all the time she was with me. Another thing that never changed throughout her life was her purr, a soft purr she did while being petted while at the same time rubbing against another object.

She was diagnosed with Chronic Renal Failure (CRF) in December 2007. The last year of her life her personality changed, mainly in the last three or four months. Her vocalizing became louder, more frequent, and more attention getting (irritating). She didn't act as she had in the past. This was probably due to CRF, age, and most likely the loss of her brother. He was always there throughout her life and she would always defer to him. When he passed away, she thought for some time that he would return. When I opened the front door, she would get as close as she could to the doorway and look out, expecting something or someone to be there. One evening she was panic stricken, vocalizing and jumping up and down on an end table. It had apparently got to her that her brother was not coming back. After this, her personality change became more so.

From January 2009 on, after her second crash from CRF, I took her to the vet two to three times a week for fluids, in addition to a couple of times for IV. All this time at the vets endeared her to the staff at the vets office. Most of them had never seen a cat like her before.

She died on a Sunday evening in August 2009 as I petted her. She had been with me for 16 years. I will never forget her.

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