Matzi (Albanian for cat) came into our lives when our cat “Smite” died.  Our husky dog, Merlin, went into mourning, with a keening howl that would not stop.  We went to the shelter to find a “rescue cat.”  We asked which cat would be the next one put down.  They pointed us to Matzi and we took him.  Matzi was not in the best of health, he had bladder problems.  Also he was a white long haired cat.  At the time we did not understand the full implications of that.

His papers listed him as “stray cat.”  He was captured in the dumpster at the Tastee Freeze near the gate of Kulis Airforce Base in Anchorage.  We took him in.

He nearly died those first months and required quite a lot of medical attention, expense and love.  But despite the long white hair he was the cat for us.  First of all he liked dogs.  He was a good companion for Merlin.  Merlin would chase Matzi around the chair.  When Matzi was tired he would jump up on the chair and watch Merlin running around and around.  When rested he would jump in again.  

Matzi also would get someplace high and pounce on Merlin, who was six times his size.  When Kevin got married and took Merlin with him we got Matzi a companion cat, Kossa.

Matzi and Kossa accompanied us on our posting to Belgrade and, for a while had their own passports.  When we declared the cats at Serbian Customs “we have two cats.” The officer waived us through saying “That’s your problem.”

Matzi knew when it was time for me to go to work and when I was not on the way out the door at 8:30 he reminded me.  He was a good cuddle cat with Suzi and me, very comfortable on laps.  He was a good friend and companion.

One Christmas we didn’t have time to get a real tree so we got an inflatable at True Value.  Big mistake.  We have a picture of him standing on the deflated tree.  Unfortunately it is on a drive at home so I can’t share it one more time (I do every Christmas.)

We got an email this morning that Matzi had died.  He was 17 and this was not unexpected, but still I will miss him.  But he will remind me of his presence, probably for as long as I live.  When I put on my fleece this morning there was white hair on it.  There was also some stuck to the inside of my sock.  Matzi will remind me of himself, probably for the rest of my life.

Goodbye Matzi, you are a good friend.

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