Lovey was a sweet, affectionate girl in spite of having a rough early start in Florida: the poster child for kittens having kittens, she gave birth to three litters in her first 15 months of life. Her care of her kittens was scrupulous, including the ones that she brought to us before a hurricane. She'd come to me while I was walking as she was wont to do, lured me back to a neighbor's boat, and meowed her head off. I could hear her babies but couldn't find them, so I told her to bring them to me . . . and she did! She brought her kittens to the armadillo hole that went under our house just before the storm got going, and we brought in all of them we could find. As the eye of the storm passed over us, I went back out to the hole and, however stupidly, thrust my entire arm down it to find Hurricane—who was the spitting image of his father, The Evil White Foot. White Foot and Lovey's babies survived the storm, and Lovey stayed with us until her babies were adopted, whereupon she escaped to be with White Foot. Eventually, she brought The Little, who was quite ill, to us, and while saving him, we had her spayed. After that, she wanted nothing to do with White Foot, who mourned his loss—but eventually, they came to an understanding and would often take the sun with one another in the back yard.
The thing I'll never forget about Lovey was that none of her kittens had fleas or dirt or poo on them, and they were all fat from proper feeding. It was clear that Lovey had given them everything she had; no matter how well we fed her, she remained small. Her life with us, however, was peaceful and warm and good, and I'm glad that she went when she finally decided she'd had enough of the lymphoma. The first morning that she was visibly in pain (and after heroic efforts to keep her comfortable), Mom and my brother paid her the final kindness. It will never make up for all the love that she gave all of us, but we did everything we could to make her happy, and I believe that she was grateful.