In Memory of Marmalade

Remembering My Most Wonderful Marmalade

I use to sing a song to Marmalade and although the rhythm is off due to the number of syllables in the name Marmalade (there are three when only one is needed), I’made it work somehow because it seemed to be the best song for him (and me).

Marmalade You are my sunshine,
my only sunshine.
Marmalade makes me happy
when sky’s are gray.
You’ll never know — Marmalade
how much I love you.
Please don’t take my,
Marmalade away from me.

It was 1990 and I had just moved into my first home after graduating for college. I had not even gotten furniture for my apartment on 23rd street (Gramercy Park area) in Manhattan when I went to the ASPCA on 92nd street to find a cat. I knew my apartment would not be a home until there was a cat in it.

When I arrived at the ASPCA there were several cats in cages, but unlike the others who were sitting on top of the cardboard placed in the cages, this orange and white tabby was laying under the cardboard peering out right at me. It looked as if he were under a tent/tepee and was telling me, Hey, I am no ordinary cat. I feel exposed here and I am ingenious enough to find protection and wait for you to come get me.

I met a friend that day at the ASPCA who said he had been thinking of adopting the cat that soon became known as Marmalade until he saw me adopting him. I have always hoped that Marmalade had a better life with me than he would have had with this man. Who knows?

The taxi driver who drove us home must not have been too thrilled about Marmalade because he went to the bathroom in the carrier and the carrier leaked. To make matters worse, I got out of the car quickly with my cat without even letting the cab driver know what had happened. God may hold me accountable for this some day.

The next eighteen years were full of meows, purrs, fur, scratches, and it was as if I had a visible shadow following me everywhere. Marmalade was not a friendly cat when it came to other cats. His step-sister was adopted five years later and Marmalade never paid Minou (French for “kitty”) much mind. They would play fight — every couple of days, but otherwise they never touched or even sat in the same seat, lay on the same bed, etc. Marmalade seemed to tolerate this other cat and that was the best I could hope for.

Marmalade was, however, very friendly to his mother. He took every opportunity to stretch out on my lap/legs that he could avail himself of. he demanded a fair amount of attention, but I was happy to give it. Rubbing his nose was his ultimate favorite (if a cat pushes against your hand when you rub his or her nose that gesture is their way of telling you that he or she LIKES it and wants you to rub his or her nose harder. So, don’t be fooled). Even to his very last days Marmalade was jumping up onto objects, especially when my lap or his bed were involved.

I could never tell you in one short piece of work all the sweet and cute and interesting characteristics about Marmalade (such as he loved maple syrup, cream cheese, tomato sauce, cheerios, and Dulce Le Leche ice cream) but for those of you who know me at all, you probably know that Marmalade has been the most important living creature in my life since 1990 (sorry about that family!). When times were hard and felt as if I was not succeeding in anything, I could always turn to Marmalade and tell myself that at least I succeeded that day in loving a cat who other wise might still be on the streets of Manhattan, alone and hungry.

For me, Marmalade will forever have a big part of my heart and I am hoping both sets of my grandparents who liked cats, and specifically Marmalade, are loving him now until I get to God’s Kingdom to love him for myself.

Below are some pictures of Mr. Handsome Marmalade. — I hope you will enjoy them.