When I was 16 years old, my Siamese cat, Tashi, had five kittens. My mom let me stay home from school to watch the birth, and it is one of my best pet memories. I was studying Greek tragedies at the time, so I named all the kittens after different figures from Greek mythology. I guess I wasn’t studying too hard, because I got it wrong: I named one kitten Peresius, and it’s actually Perseus, but oh well. We gave four of the kittens away but we kept Peresius. When I told my somewhat ornery grandmother what we had named him, she said, “What are you going to call him for short? Uuuss?” And from then on, we referred to him as Li’l Ussie.
That was 17 years ago, and Li’l Ussie had to be put to sleep last night. As an older cat, he had a lot of health problems towards the end, but he was always really loving, really patient and so incredibly sweet. I loved him so much, and my parents, who have had him at their house in Berkeley, Calif., all these years, are so sad.
I took the photo above the last time I was in Berkeley—I was there for the Western Regional Barista Competition, and Ussie slept with me every night and purred and purred and purred. They were to be my last days hanging out with him.
Ussie had a totally indulgent, happy life, and my mom said he went very peacefully in her arms.
That’s all I wanted to say. He brought so much happiness to my family over the last 17 years. He will be terribly missed.