Sometimes the best gifts come in the smallest packages.
It seemed that way with Frosty, anyway, when she came into our lives in October of 1991. A tiny, sparkling kitten, apparently abandoned near a bike trail near our home. The vet who examined her thought she was probably about ten days old. It was several days later before her first pictures were taken.
She seemed to be a cross between a bluepoint Siamese and a brown tabby, but the most noticeable thing about her, at first glance, was that she literally sparkled in sunlight. Something about her plushy fur caught the light so it looked as though she'd been frosted.
My older cat, Sinbad, wasn't quite sure what to make of Frosty. She was 5-1/2 years old then, and she'd been quite happy as an only cat. She didn't seem to understand, even as Frosty tried to get close to her and would copy her as much as possible, that Frosty wanted Sinbad to mother her. Sometimes Sinbad seemed to think Frosty was the most interesting cat toy I'd ever brought her.
Much as I enjoyed watching Sinbad watch Frosty, I worried about Frosty not having a momcat to mother her, and littermates to play with.
But then, just as Frosty reached an age when this would have become more and more of a problem for her, since she was sleeping less and playing more, a tabby kitten came into our lives. A feral kitten, maybe a couple of weeks older than Frosty, who was rescued from snowdrifts in the middle of the night, after an early snowstorm Halloween weekend, 1991.
A kitten who was the answer to my prayers, and the big sister and mother substitute Frosty needed so desperately.
It was a huge responsibility for a tiny tabby-furred angel, who had needed rescuing herself.
But Tiger was up to it, and her little sister and playmate seemed to be just whom she needed, too, whether she was watching over Frosty as she slept
or teaching her to play
Frosty and Tiger went through a gawky adolescence
before they both matured into beautiful cats.
Frosty had such unusual markings. She seemed to be half colorpoint and half tabby, with a colorpoint's blue eyes. Her type of coloring is sometimes called lynxpoint, but she had more striking markings than many lynxpoints, with her spotted sides and striped legs.
Frosty was 11 years old when an online friend, seeing photos of her for the first time, asked me in chat if Frosty was a Bengal. I'd heard of the breed but am not sure I'd ever paid any attention to it. I looked at Bengal websites then and discovered that Frosty did indeed look a lot like what's called a snow leopard Bengal. And Bengals, too, often have fur that seems to glitter in certain light.
Her fur was not only beautiful, but exquisitely soft and silky to the touch -- the softest, plushiest fur I'd ever felt on any cat.
Frosty always seemed small to me, because she looked small next to my huge kitty Sinbad. But in fact she was close to average size for a female cat. She was heavier than she looked, at her small size, and it was all muscle. She was a tiny dancer, so graceful -- her highest leaps often looked like effortless floating.
She was amazingly fast. I'll never forget one morning when she was trying unsuccessfully to get me up, while I pretended to be asleep still. Finally she ran from my bedroom through the living room to the dining room, pushed one of the chairs off balance turning around on its back (as she often did), and made it back to my bed before the chair hit the floor. Then she peered into my eyes from a couple of inches away, as if asking if THAT would finally get me up.
She was sweet and mischievous, even a bit wild at times.
She could be incredibly cute. I used to tell her she'd obviously taken advanced lessons in cuteness.
She was never much of a lap cat, until her later years, but she loved to butt her head against people, especially if I leaned over her when she was up on a table or desk, or my bed. She loved to snuggle. When she was tiny, she liked me to lie on the floor, and she'd snuggle against my neck. Once while I was still bottlefeeding her, I fell asleep while sitting on the kitchen floor and woke up to find that she'd crawled up my pajama sleeve and was sound asleep snuggled under my wrist.
Although Sinbad had never mothered Frosty, and didn't play with Frosty and Tiger very often, Frosty had always looked up to her and copied her. I was worried, when Sinbad went to Rainbow Bridge in 2003, that it would hit Frosty especially hard.
Fortunately she still had Tiger. But then Tiger was diagnosed with cancer of the jaw in March of 2005, and went to the Bridge just weeks later.
Bittersweet weeks, during which I gave Tiger as much attention and love as possible, a long goodbye, and took more photos of her and of the two of them together than I ever had...and also worried so much that Frosty would not want to live without the beautiful, loving tabby who'd been her constant companion for more than thirteen years.
It was Tiger who would cross over first, but they were both senior kitties, equivalent in age to humans in their seventies, and I knew both were looking toward a future on the other side that we can't see on this side of the veil.
It was devastating to lose Tiger, and I was praying very hard that Frosty would be able to stay with me a while. I had heard, all too often, of pets pining away and dying too soon after losing a loved one.
But Frosty stayed, though I know she must have been lonely, without Tiger. I was blessed to have her with me another three years and four months. She went to Rainbow Bridge August 9, 2008. Like Sinbad, she was two months away from her 17th birthday when she crossed. It was a good long life -- and I hope a happy one -- for the tiny kitten the first vet who saw her wasn't sure I'd be able to keep alive.
I miss her so much.
Years ago I did a collage setting an image of Frosty, from a photo taken of her sitting in my window, against a photo of a double rainbow from the NOAA website. In the collage, she was looking toward the rainbow.
She's on the other side of that rainbow now.
And as much as I miss her, it makes me happy to know she's reunited with Tiger and Sinbad again, and that they're all healthy and young again, playing happily at the Bridge. And I will see them again, someday.