Suna died today. Around 3:45 pm. She was 21, but was still a teetotaler. She never even had a drink in Danny's bar, alcoholic or otherwise.

Suna had some problems over the weekend, but we thought she had hooked a claw in a sheet jumping down from our bed. June called me at work this afternoon to say that something was seriously wrong and that I should come home. I did.

Suna was finding dark areas to hide in. When she moved from place to place she just dragged her rear half. We made an appointment to see the vet at 3:40. Suna died peacefully with her family at her side.

Her sister and littermate Mariko predeceased her by 3 years. In addition to her humans, Suna is survived by her adopted niece Paisley, 15.

Because her mother had abandoned Suna and Mariko, we adopted them early before they were weaned. It was an interesting experience to wean two kittens. Feeding them with eye droppers, constantly sticking their face into a dish of milk after which they would lick off their noses until they finally caught on and started licking directly out of the dish.

Avid hunters early on, they were disciplined if they caught birds and learned relatively early that if they didn't want to be grounded, they couldn't hunt birds. Neither of them learned to hunt deer, or even to chase the deer out of the yards. Later on, they wouldn't hunt, even when locked in the bathroom with an errant mouse. Paisley has been in charge of keeping the house safe from Republicans (with dispensations, of course, from time to time), but Republicans weren't for eating, they were just kept at bay.

Suna was a decent traveler, but Mariko was terrible. Ordinary travel pills made Mariko worse so I had to get a cat prescription for valium which had to be picked up at the drug store. The vet could not dispense it. I dropped off the prescription before dinner and said I would pick it up later. I hadn't looked at the prescription. It turns out the prescription was issued in Suna's name and not Mariko's or any human's name. Of course when I returned to pick up the prescription, a different crew was in the pharmacy. While they were searching for the prescription the line grew in back of me. Of course the directions on the label didn't say how long before traveling to dose Mariko with the valium so I asked the pharmacist. This was before the days of setbacks and privacy laws. The whole line had suggestions; indeed, they had more suggestions than the pharmacist.

Suna was an avid garden supervisor and years ago disappeared while supervising the weeding of the front flower garden. We had the key to Ted's house, a neighbor, and the code for his burglar alarm. Ted was overseas. Somebody had been working in the house while I worked in the front garden. During the course of the afternoon, the police showed up because the burglar alarm had gone off at Ted's house. We let the police in, but nothing was disturbed and they and we couldn't find the cause. Later, when we realized Suna had been gone long past her curfew, we went looking for her and ultimately found her wedged between a heavy couch and the wall. She could only squeak she was wedged in so tightly. Fortunately I was able to move the couch enough so that she could back out. Although Suna never gave us the full story, we assume that when the burglar alarm went off she tried to find a place to hide and got stuck. From then on Ted called her "Suna, the cat burglar". Her book has never been written.

The last few years, Suna has been totally deaf. But her eyes were good and she was still agile up until today. In fact she was more agile than Paisley who was 6 years her junior.

Starting 2 or 3 days after Mariko died, Suna started roaming the house in the middle of the night giving off these horrendous cries. The frequency of the cries decreased over time. I think Suna was calling to her sister. Perhaps, now, Suna and Mariko are together in cat heaven.

We gave Paisley some time with Suna before we took Suna to the vets today. I don't know if it registered with Paisley what has happened, but I have left my slobbered blue jacket by Paisley's nest for Paisley to smell.

For 2 years before Marmaduke died June had been saying that when Marmaduke died, there would be no new cats. June lasted 6 months before she said we have to talk. We have to get 2 cats. I reminded her of what she had been saying. She said the house was empty when she came home from school. I said to her then you realize that we can't retire until the last cat dies. We'd never had a cat live longer than 12 years. June has now been retired for 12 years. Paisley has slowed down considerably. I doubt she'll make it to 21, but who knows.

Pets become family. We miss them when they die, but hopefully we keep their memories with us to keep them (and all their predecessors) alive in another way so long as we live. Now I am saying we will have no new cats unless and until our traveling days are done.

So long Suna. We loved you and we love you still, and we always will.