S: Grandcat Comes to Visit Mary V. Marchi
BC: IT TAKES A MINUTE TO FIND A SPECIAL PERSON, AN HOUR TO APPRECIATE THEM, A DAY TO LOVE THEM, BUT THEN, AN ENTIRE LIFE TO FORGET THEM.
FC: Grandcat Comes to Visit by Mary V. Marchi
1: Grandcat Comes to Visit by Mary V. Marchi
2: Photographs from collections of Mary and Maria Marchi
3: This book is dedicated to all the cats I ever loved and who loved me. It is also dedicated to my family, Jack, Maria and Gina, who always said I should write a book. My best friends. Thank you! Mary
4: Friends Grandcat’s real name was Lucia and she really belonged to Maria. She was really, really Maria's cat in every way you could think of. She loved Maria. She purred for Maria. She played with Maria. She followed Maria. She even slept with Maria. She was Maria's cat from the very first time that she was introduced to Maria as a little lost kitten that had just been found. Lucia was found by Maria's uncle and if Maria didn't take her Lucia was going to have to go to an animal shelter. It was the first time Maria had ever had a cat of her own to care for and from the very first night Maria realized that she now had a real living creature that needed lots of love and attention and care. Lucia knew that the hands that held her would do just that for her.
5: Lucia loved Maria so much that it was hard for her to share Maria. When people went to Maria's house, Lucia didn't want to be petted by anyone. She only wanted Maria to pet her. When someone wanted to hold Lucia, she growled a cat growl. She only wanted to be held by Maria. When someone wanted to play with Lucia, she thought a long, long time before she would play and then it was only for a few seconds. She only wanted to play with Maria. When Maria came home from teaching school all day, Lucia purred, rubbed against Maria's legs, and cried a happy, “look at me” cry until Maria had to finally pick her up to love her and to play with her.
6: Lucia didn't like to go visiting. She didn't like going anywhere and she especially didn't like going anywhere without Maria. She really didn't like being put in her soft cat carrier. The carrier was cozy and comfortable, but she preferred to just stay at home. Sometimes Maria would pack up Lucia, whether she liked it or not, and take her with her when she went home for a weekend to visit her Mom and Dad who lived in Carmel Valley.
7: Lucia and Maria became very, very good friends----maybe even BEST friends. One day Maria decided she would take a summer trip to Paris and London. It was a good idea but there was one problem. She couldn't take Lucia with her. What would she do with Lucia? Who would take care of Lucia? Maria knew Lucia would never be happy in a cat kennel and she knew she wouldn't be happy with a stranger just coming by to check on her. Then Maria decided that Lucia could go to Carmel Valley to stay with Maria's Mom and Dad. They really liked Lucia and she could be their “Grandcat.” From here on out Maria's Mom and Dad would be known as Mary and Jack and Lucia would be known as their Grandcat. So it was decided and plans were made. Lucia knew something was happening just as soon as she saw Maria's suitcases come out of the closet. When her cat carrier and all her toys, food, and litter box supplies were being packed, Lucia knew for sure she was going to be going somewhere.
9: The Visit Maria's Mom and Dad picked up their Grandcat, Lucia, and drove her back with them to Carmel Valley. Lucia usually did a lot of meowing when she got in a car. This time she did indeed do a lot of meowing and by the time they got to Carmel Valley she was NOT happy. When Mary tried to let Lucia out of her carrying case, Lucia growled and hissed and scratched at her. Finally she calmed down enough to let Mary and Jack unzip her case. Out she came—still growling. Lucia walked off to find her food bowl, her water, and her litter box and then she just walked into the living room and sat down. Pretty soon she noticed that the sliding door to the back deck was open. She slowly made her way to the door and stepped out onto the deck. This is pretty nice, she thought. I don't have a deck at my house and I don't get to go outside just to sit around very often. Then she noticed the flowers. She went over to sniff them—not bad. Then she spied the garden watering can and curiosity really got the best of her. She cautiously approached the can, looked in, and to her surprise there was some fresh cool water in it. She took a lick or two and Lucia and the watering can were friends. Everyday Lucia made trips to the watering can on the deck for licks of that cool water.
11: The water in the watering can went down slowly. One day Mary and Jack noticed that Lucia had to stand on the tip of her toes and drop her head down into the can to reach the water. Later that day, Mary refilled the can for Lucia so it would be easier for her to reach the water. Mary and Jack just laughed. As the days went on Lucia became more and more comfortable in her Grandcat home. Little by little she let Jack or Mary pet her a little bit. When she heard noise in the kitchen, where her pet food bowl was, she would go to see what was going on.
13: One day Lucia heard the whirring of the electric can opener. Then she heard Mary call the words, “tuna, tuna.” Lucia wasn't sure what that meant so she went into the kitchen to see about it. A little bowl with something that smelled wonderful was put in front of her—tuna fish. Maybe that's what “tuna, tuna” meant. She sniffed and then decided to take a little bite. Oh, my goodness, it tasted so good! She was never given tuna fish at her house. Lucia continued to eat the tuna and when she was finished she licked her chops and then sat down to wash her face. She was also getting every bit of that last good taste, just like when we lick our lips. The next time Lucia heard the electric can opener she ran to the kitchen. But that noise didn't always mean she was going to get tuna. Sometimes it was just Mary or Jack opening a can of something for their lunch or dinner. Only when Lucia heard the can opener whirring AND the words, “tuna, tuna,” did she know she was in for a treat. She came to like that treat so much that she would even let them pick her up and hold her for a little bit.
15: Little by little and day by day Lucia became very comfortable at her Grandcat house. She chose a favorite chair for her naps. She sat in the afternoon sun in the living room. She climbed the stairs and explored the upstairs rooms. More and more she even let Jack and Mary hold her--- even without a tuna treat. And best of all for Jack and Mary, she began to purr for them. Mary and Jack loved having Lucia at their home. They were so pleased to see Lucia so happy with them. But then they began to worry. What if Lucia got so happy at their house that she would not want to go back to Maria? What if Maria came home and Lucia growled at her? What if Lucia wouldn't purr for Maria? What if when she went home with Maria she wouldn't eat? What if she stopped playing with Maria? What if ...? What would happen?
17: Best Friends Then one day the phone rang. It was Maria from far away letting her Mom and Dad know that she was coming home from her trip. She said she really missed her Lucia. Did Lucia miss Maria? What would she do when she saw Maria? On the day Maria arrived to pick up Lucia, she was snuggled up in her warm and cozy bed in the living room. Maria came in and called Lucia's name. Lucia woke up. She lifted her head and looked over the top of her bed. She yawned. She stretched. Then she stood up and got out of her bed. She sat. She looked at Maria. Then she walked over to Maria, rubbed against Maria's legs, and meowed a welcome home meow. Maria picked her up. Lucia purred and the two of them were instantly best friends again—just as if Maria had never gone away. Lucia proved that best friends are forever. They are always there for you, even when you can't see them. Best friends are forever—even when you are a cat—and even if you have to be a Grandcat for a while.
19: Goodbye This is a true story. Lucia was a real cat. She died in August 2010. She was 15 years old. Her ashes were scattered in the Santa Lucia Mountains and a little box filled with a few of her special things was buried near a cabin in Carmel Valley--- a favorite place Lucia and Maria liked to visit.