The young Albert
This is the lady cat
She was my first cat and, no matter how much I love those who have followed in her paw prints, she will always be first in my heart.
-- Gabrielle David

I took this picture just before Christmas when I was eleven or twelve years old, so Albert would have been a mere ten or eleven.

I put a cushion under the tree and tried to get her to pose as my favorite present.  The pose lasted about five seconds; the bow at her neck survived for about five more.

In this picture, Albert is about twenty years old. The year is probably 1968.

She was no longer an only cat, and she ruled the clowder with an iron claw. 

Though her grey fur grew a bit tatty, her expressive eyes were beautiful until the day they dimmed forever.

Her life story appears below.

The geriatric Albert

  As my mother told it, my father did not want a cat but she did.  A friend of theirs in Kerkhoven, Minnesota, had a purebred Persian who escaped to celebrate a full moon with the butcher's yellow tomcat, with a litter of very mixed kittens as the result.
    My wily mother took me to see the kittens and came home to tell my father, "Gabrielle wants a kitten."  There was no way he was going to refuse to make his darling daughter happy and Albert entered our lives.
    Her name was supposed to be Silverheels, for her elegant silver feet.   I had a hard time remembering that name and, one day when I was playing with Albert in my mother's office, a gentleman asked me what my kitten's name was.   I tugged at my mother's skirt, asking insistently what my kitten's name was.   My irritated mother, trying to type a bill to a farmer named Albert, said, "Oh. . . Albert!" to keep me quiet.   Now THAT was a name I could remember and I refused to call her anything else.

    Albert raised me.  She saw me through childhood, playing games and teaching me that love and respect go hand in paw.  As I became teenager, she listened patiently to giggling confidences and endured torrents of tears.

    Through the years Albert lived in Minnesota, Missouri, Iowa, and Arizona because there was never a thought entertained that she might be left behind when we moved - - - until the day I married and had my own home.  By then she was getting old, nearly twenty, and we all agreed that it was best she remained.  I don't think my mother would have let her go, anyway, because Albert was my mother's cat as much as mine.

    Albert was 22 when the phone call came.  She had been getting ever more frail.  One morning she tried to get up from her accustomed place on the back of the couch, and she couldn't.  A shot helped ease her path across the Rainbow Bridge and my father, who didn't want her, cried as he dug the hole to bury her.

    I will never stop missing her.

Rainbow Bridge
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Copyright 1999 by 
Gabrielle David