This is SO not a typical "kitteh" post. Trust me.

So Annie the Wonder Cat has been in our family for about eighteen years. She's old, and she pees on everything. When I say everything, I mean it. She peed on the tall boy's pal while he was petting her. No shit. No shit, just pee, heh. This peeing cat phenomenon is one I have heard about for years, but had never personally encountered before. It has caused our family to re-arrange our household habits in a way that I never thought we would. But -- she's our cat. I mean, . . . .

tangent: My mom had a friend with a four-year-old cat; the youth-cat clawed the curtains once and the next day made a one-way trip to "the farm." That's just cold, isn't it?

We have addressed our litter box problem by moving Annie the Wonder Cat to our deck for the summer; until this week this has been a great solution. Annie has lounged languidly in the sunshine; no furniture has been ruined, no friendships have ended ("Dude. Your cat peed on me. Not cool.").

But in the past couple of days it has become clear that our beloved Annie is failing; her appetite is gone; the probability that her back legs will obey her orders is chancy. There seems to be a little bit of kitty senile dementia as well. We are all saying our good-byes to Annie today.

In our time of kitty grief, rather than bludgeon you with cute "kitteh" pictures (who created this "kitteh" monster? I would like to poke this person with a stick), I will tell you an absolutely true adventure tale about our Annie the Wonder Cat. I have witnesses for much of this, so if it seems far-fetched, I ask Coleen, Lisa, the urchins to back me up.

Annie was a gift from our next-door neighbor, Miss Tina; she was always beautiful in a cat-like way, but really -- just a classic felis catus (formerly felis domesticus). But we had a neighbor who thought a) Annie was the most beautiful cat in the world; and b) we did not deserve to own her. He did not like the fact that we let her outside; often he would wander back and forth behind our house and call her, so that he could take her into his house and keep her "safe."

[I sound insane, don't I? Think about how insane I sounded at the time: "Honey -- our neighbor is trying to kidnap our cat!" "Sweetheart, do you need to get a little job? Are you OK here by yourself all day?"]

Well -- the neighbor put his house on the market, and I just knew that Annie would vanish when he moved. I did everything I could think of to keep her out of his clutches, but sure enough -- he moved (military, so I assumed he moved far away), and Annie disappeared. You do the kitty kidnapping math.

So fast-forward to a year (a year!) later, when Lisa commented about the alleged kitty kidnapper (her co-worker) in such a way as to make me realize that he moved across the county instead of across the country. People, my head just . . . exploded. This loser had my cat. I just knew it. And I wanted more than anything to tell him that he had not "gotten away" with this ridiculous crime. Seriously. I was less interested in getting the fabulous cat back than I was in just looking this guy in the eye and saying, "I know what you did."

So -- that's what I did. I found his new address; I went to his new house; I knocked on his new door, and I said, "I know what you did. You stole my cat -- and you didn't just steal her from me -- you stole her from my kids. I hope you can live with that."

As far as I was concerned that was the end. I really had no expectation of getting my cat back -- but it sincerely pissed me off that this asshole thought he had gotten away with something.

Well. He followed me home. [Cue scary music.]

He followed me home, and he admitted he had my cat, and he begged me not to call the police. And . . . he begged me to let him keep the cat. "She's my life," he said. Creepy, much?

When I clued the husband in to the goings-on, the first thing he said was, "Are you insane? You went to this idiot's house in the middle of nowhere; you confronted him about a cat; and now he's stalking us, begging us to let him keep the kitty because he loves her so. What have you done?"

And yet . . . the cat-kidnapper called, and the husband confronted him: "we just want our cat back," he declared. My hero.

The kitty freak offered us $1,000.00 to let him keep Annie. $1,000.00, y'all. This is where lots of people say, so you took the cash, right? Because really -- a cat is a cat. But this is also where we (the husband and I) both got totally weirded out by the kitty kidnapper. What on earth could make a house cat so valuable to a sad little middle-aged man? We were creeped out, people. We insisted -- just give us our cat back, and leave us alone. It turns out that the reason the pathetic man offered us $1,000.00 was because he had lied to his wife about receiving Annie as a gift. It was worth large American dollars to him to keep this secret from his wife.

Well, we got her back, and she's been our Wonder Cat ever since. How many cats do you know who have lived through such an adventure?!? She's amazing!

We will miss her.