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Raisin (aka “Bag Eater”) Young

This picture was taken during a (brief) period of her life when she was a fashion model. Here she’s advertising GAP for CATS in Mirabella magazine. A few months later she appeared in Vogue. If you don’t ‘believe me I have the issues. Gratefully, she gave up modeling (the strobes made her shed!) to pursue the activities for which Burmese cats are famous: eating, lying around on a high shelf, catching flies (occasionally), and talking to herself or anyone else who will listen.

Raisin, of all my cats, is probably the best “patient” because she is so…well, patient. She has gone through the basic cat colds, endured blood-taking, vaccinations, nail clippings, flea baths—and the unique indignities of constipation—without a murmur of complaint. Nor did she fuss when she acquired asthma at age eight—and go so fat on prednisone that Dr. Sally wrote “obese” in her chart. (I made her erase that; Raisin has big bones, I protested). Luckily, when she was about 16 the asthma went away as mysteriously as it had come, and Raisin slimmed down to her super model size.

Now, at the grand old age of 18 and because of her chronic kidney disease, Raisin is as skinny as Nancy Reagan, although she is a Liberal. And her personality is as sweet as ever. Every day she placidly lets me give her fluids, purring even, especially when I offer a piece of turkey to chew on while I shoot her up.

No longer an ingénue, Raisin is still beautiful. Her sable coat is glossy, and her big moon pie yellow eyes are as expressive as ever. We call her “The Dowager Empress,” because she rules the household—Mouse, Baby, and Coco—with a velvet paw, nipping at Mouse—the teenage Tonk, when he tries to wrestle with her, and graciously allowing Coco—a young blonde Burmese, to groom her. Even Baby, who is as cantankerous as only an overly bright Siamese can be, minds her manners with Raisin. Maybe the other cats intuit what I know: Raisin is the only sensible one of the bunch.

Oh, yes, Raisin’s secret name is…Aretha.