Wednesday, June 2, 2010

In Memory of Hattie LaRue Thornton, age 14: She was a good cat

by Terry Thornton

Hattie LaRue Thornton died June 2, 2010, at age 14. She was a good cat and will be missed tremendously.

Hattie LaRue was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. She and her half-brother Lewis Thornton lived there with her first master James G. Thornton. When she was about 8 - 10 months old, illness, perhaps poisoning from the apartment complex's monthly extermination man, caused the veterinarian to recommend she be destroyed.

Instead, she came to Rinnie, Tennessee, to live with Terry and Betty Thornton. She was nursed back to health by hand-feeding her human baby food, a nibble at a time. Eventually she learned to eat tuna fish (the more expensive, the better) and slowly learned to eat regular cat food. She never flourished but stayed lean and somewhat aloof in her eating habits. Always an inside cat she was afraid of the outdoors except when the ground was snow-covered. Once she stayed outside in a howling blizzard for three hours walking around and around the outside of the house.

Her favorite past-time was watching the birds and squirrels at the feeders just outside her favorite window. She was especially fond of "Chippy" the chipmunk who fed regularly just outside the glass door.

Hattie's first regular "sleep in the bed with a human being" came when I was confined to a hospital bed for several months following an automobile accident in Tennessee that left me with only one limb, my left arm, unbroken. She moved in on me and every night we snuggled in that hospital bed. She purred and I recovered.

After that, Hattie regularly slept in the bed with Sweetie and me --- in cold weather she would migrate under the covers to the foot of the bed where she would snore loudly the night away. In more recent years, she "put us to bed" each evening, spending a few minutes between our heads alternating the grooming of her human companions to then disappear to sleep where ever she wished in the house --- some of her favorite places to snooze were on the piano bench cushion, beneath the dining table on any one of the eight chairs pulled up to the table, on the upstairs landing, or beneath the artificial Christmas tree in the attic storage room. She also enjoyed, in hot weather, sleeping in any one of the three bathtubs in the house, especially if she could find one dripping water in which she loved to play.

Hattie was featured in photographs in The Rinnie News, The Hattiesburg Hardcopy, and more recently in Hill Country of Monroe County Mississippi.

Hattie was a former resident of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, of Rinnie, Tennessee, and most currently lived in Fulton, Mississippi. A frequent visitor to New Orleans, she enjoyed her last visit there over Christmas and New Years 2009-2010.

Hattie was buried this afternoon on Thornton Farm in Monroe County, Mississippi, beneath a large natural rock which once formed part of the foundation of the house where my grandparents and then later my parents lived. Today that site is marked with old mature cedar and cherry trees, by quince trees tended my by grandparents, and the area is grazed clean by the deer which nestle nightly beneath the canopy of cedar boughs.

Hattie is survived by a half-brother, Lewis Thornton, cousins Magnolia Thornton and PeachPie Thornton all of New Orleans, and she will be sadly missed by a host of human beings who had come to know and love her over the past fourteen years.


Anonymous said...

Ooooooh no, I'm so sorry. I know just how you can get attached to a cat like her. Our Precious looked just like her.
If you want a new kitten we have one that looks a lot like her that Roy rescued from a baby food jar. It is so sweet and it deserves a special home. Rita

Dorene from Ohio said...

Well it is good to know that she was so well loved and cared for by her humans!!

Katherine said...


Thinking of you and Miss Hattie.