In Fall 2004 we saw a notice about a local family who were giving away kittens at our vet’s office. So we drove to their rural home in West Branch and picked one out (2004-09-13). Blaise picked out Untzag. They also had large dogs who helped care for the kittens so she was never afraid of dogs. On the way home, she rode free in the back seat and seemed to really want to see out the window. Blaise gave her the name Untzag which means little tiger in Armenian. Our list of options were: Zoulal (pure), Ardashes (joy), Zora (small), Giliga (small), Untzag (tiger), Hoky (spirt), Azadouhi (free), and Aghaton (good). Folks always liked her name.
Untzag sitting on a wooden shelf, her first day at 827 Brown.
Untzag outside, her first day at 827 Brown.
Early in her life a twig got in her eye area. Blaise discovered it and we immediately took her to the vet where it was taken care of. Other than that, she physically fit all her life. She could jump up onto Blaise’s sleigh bed, or onto the pile of clean towels in the bathroom open storage area. She also like to get onto the garage roof and come into the house via the deck door. She would sit on the East wall of the deck, which is quite narrow, with seemingly no fear of heights
We tried to keep her in our yard so she wouldn’t bother our neighbor Dorothy and to protect her from traffic on Governor, but she could not be contained. One reason we did not have her wear a collar is because we thought it might be dangerous to her if she got caught on a fence she was climbing on in some unknown place.
Her first Thanksgiving we took her on a walk on the Mormon Trek trail and saw that she was a good little hiker. She wanted to keep up with Vehrzheen. We periodically included her on walks in the woods during which she wore a harness and leash.
At one point we snuck her into the Mercer swim area so Blaise’s swim team members could enjoy her as a kitten.
Sometime after Betty died Nancy inherited the sculpture by Bufano. We took a good photo of her sitting by the cat mold. By her posture she seemed to be telling us that she was more precious than any sculptor’s model.
When she was little she used to like to hide by the day lilies in the front and jump out at by-passers. She would also lie down on the sidewalk and let some strangers pet her on her tummy. She felt free to enjoy the park across the street and the neighbors in 815 Brown. She liked to be on their porch and recently she even felt free to enjoy their nice clean new cars. If a window or door was open she felt free to go inside
In 2006 she went to the shelter because the pound was picking up our neighbor cat (Slim) for being outside without supervision. We think Untzag was trying to protect Slim from being taken. There were several cats which looked like Untzag at the pound but she was the only one with a tail which had a white tip.
At one point when Nancy was sick Untzag put her nose on Nancy's feet as she was retching over the toilet bowl. Once when Nancy made a trip to the Mercy ER in the night for what we thought was a heart attack she was so happy to see that Untzag was waiting (about a 3 hr wait) on the steps of a home on Lucas so that we could walk home together. Sometimes when someone was not feeling well she could just come and share body warmth and closeness. She would also knead your body with her front legs.
Untzag liked to keep David company at the computer by sitting on his lap. Sometimes he played videos of birds for her on the computer. Even though he called her a pest and tired of the fact that she brought in fleas, she knew he has a heart of gold and a nice warm lap.
She was not good about having puzzles laying around in an unfinished state. She liked to mess up the pieces or even take them apart.
Untzag was featured in Blaise's High School graduation photo!
Untzag was always very welcoming of other animals. She played with the Vislas for whom we provided foster care. Recently we rescued a cockatiel from the park, whom she tolerated as well. She also always wanted to be friends with Vehrzheen even though Vehrzheen thought of her as prey. Sometimes Nancy would give Untzag three small treats and she would eat only one or two, leaving the remainder for Vehrzheen. Even while Vehrzheen was failing fast, Untzag spent time with her to comfort her. Our most recent photo of Untzag was taken 2014-10-14, a day when Untzag spent many hours next to Vehrzheen on the bed.
She did hunt birds and baby rabbits. She did not care for rabbit eyeballs as she would lay them by the partially eaten body somewhere where we could admire her hunting success. She also used to bring mice and chipmunks into the house to “play” with. I think she also had some dealings with snakes. Blaise remembers one time when Untzag left a living snake in his backpack.
Untzag was not much for games. However she did enjoy chasing the small item at the end of the child’s fishing pole which David thought of. She cooked up a game of her own to play with me when Nancy was in the bathtub. If Nancy had her comb on the edge of the tub, she would like to bat it into the tub from the outside of the tub. Nancy's task was to replace it on the edge and move it slowly so that she could bat it down again. Neither of us were supposed to see the other.
Untzag travelled with us on many trips – Wisconsin, Maine, the Southern tip of LA, etc. However she did not like not being able to go outside at nights. Once, in WI, we thought we had lost her as she had escaped from the Kozeluh’s home. Since it was our last day of vacation, we thought we would have to leave for IA without her, and asked neighbors to watch for her. However, just before we had to leave, we found her in the surrounding vegetation. On some trips to WI she shopped at Foster and Smith which welcomes pet as well as human shoppers.
Untzag at Bates.
The last time that Blaise saw Untzag was a visit from Graduate School, 2014-09-08. Untzag was kind enough to "say goodbye" as Blaise got in the car.
2014-10-21 21:45, Untzag was struck by car on Governor. Despite efforts by Nancy, we never got to recover her body.
Rest in peace, Untzag.
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