Cadenza – an improvised or written-out ornamental passage played or sung by a soloist or soloists, usually in a free rhythmic style, and often allowing for virtuosic display.
No extended post about this because, frankly, I don’t really want to be writing it.
It was around 19 years ago that my folks brought home a young calico kitten that couldn’t have been more than eight weeks old. My sister and I had wanted a kitten because we wanted a companion we could keep for awhile. We found a term in one of my sister’s musical dictionaries, Cadenza, which we attached to her because it sounded nifty. The day mom and dad brought her home, Cadenza managed to get herself trapped in their bedroom. And, well, let’s just say a tone was set.
Cadenza became a flying, furry little hellion who slid on the wood floors until she slammed into the walls, attacked every loose item lying around, and always managed to get into places she didn’t belong. On several occasions, she climbed up the awning we had on our balcony and got onto the roof just outside our attic windows – we frequently had to go upstairs and pull her in from the attic. She always seemed to have enough spare energy to run faster than the Mountain Dew-drinking cheetahs from the old Mountain Dew commercials. If there was so much as a pencil on the floor, she would attack it. She attacked phone cords and other forms of wiring and tried to get on the mantle more than once.
While Cadenza managed to get quite fat, she never did fully shed her kitten-sized body. She was a small cat, and that made it even more difficult to keep her out of the places she wasn’t supposed to go. She once tried to climb the Christmas Tree. Yeah, she epitomized the idea of curiosity killing the cat, but she never seemed satisfied. Our minds all boggled wondering how such a small cat could keep getting into such big trouble.
Despite her hellraising, Cadenza may have been the world’s only extrovert cat. If there was one thing she loved more than an insignificant little knickknack to obliterate, it was attention from her humans. Cadenza was a real lap cat who could plunk herself down on someone for literally hours. Her loud purring won her the affectionate nickname Purrball, and she wanted attention which she wasn’t getting, she would find a way to get it. She loved crawling up your lap and onto your chest and rubbing her face against ours if she was receiving insignificant time in our personal spotlights. Later, she resorted to tapping people with her paw. Cadenza was the cat who was able to befriend our dog, an 80-pound behemoth of white hair. If we had guests, Cadenza would be the first one to welcome them into the house. As far as she was concerned, anyone who tapped her on the head once established a permanent bond with her.
Beating herself up resulted in Cadenza developing terrible arthritis late in her life. Her vision and hearing slowly wore out, and she eventually took to prowling the hallway yowling periodically. Also, her small body began thinning out – she looked skeletal, and the family became afraid of picking her up for fear of hurting her. She wasn’t the leaping furball she was in her youth, but her spirit certainly never diminished. Even though it would take her multiple tries to jump up to the couch to sit with us – and alternate from person to person until it got annoying – she still did it. If there wasn’t enough food in her bowl, she would still walk around in the kitchen while everyone else was there, dodging our feet.
With her starving and in obvious pain, it was finally time for her to be removed from the world. She led a very full, comfortable, and by any account happy life with all but her first eight weeks in our company. And for that, my family and I felt a bit more complete. We’ve always been cat people, and Cadenza was the one cat we owned who lived almost her entire life with us. Or at least the one cat who spent her whole life with us in my lifetime.