Baron Figaro de Shannivere
by Janet Deaver-Pack
At the shelter, they called him Figaro. I'm sure it was because the cat in the latest Disney movie was gray. But it didn't fit the stately long-furred kitten who was so big at four months that he was included with the adult cats.
So I incorporated Figaro into a name that fit him. I'd had a dearly-loved cat named Shannonn many years ago. The two shared the same level of grayness, although Shannon's coat had been short and gently striped. They also shared the same level of intelligence.
I put my last name (Deaver) together with Shannon, and voila, Shannivere. And he deserved a noble title, hence Baron.
He was a rare breed: half Russian Blue and half angora equals a Niebelung, or "cat of the mist", which first appeared in the 1980s. It took me three years to discover exactly what he was.
Shannivere appeared completely gray, but the last nth of his guard hairs were colorless: when he sat in the sun, his coat irridesced, giving him an uncommon silver sheen that rippled with his movements. Absolutely gorgeous.
He and I were soul-mates, the same relationship I'd shared with Shannonn. Analytical, wise, and affectionate where three nouns I used most to describe him. Shannivere attained a weight of nearly 17 pounds, all dignified muscle and huge feathery tail.
I called his ears radar dishes, and just one of his paws eclipsed most of the palm of my hand. He was too large to fit on my lap, but he tried, and feigned comfort because he loved being close.
About eight months before his 13th birthday, Shannivere developed health problems. His vet, who prides himself on correct diagnoses, was flummoxed for weeks as test results found nothing.
It wasn't until I noticed that my cat's back feet occasionally didn't track his front feet did the vet get an inkling of the real problem. Brain tumor.
I lost my darling Shannivere just a few weeks later. He told me he was tired of his head hurting, and started refusing food. I couldn't let him suffer any longer.
Now his picture dominates my screen saver. And I have memories of a fine friend who left this earth far too early for both me and his good friend Syrannis Moonstone.