March 12, 2000 – December 30, 2015
On December 30, 2015, Ms. Electra West, of Berlin, Germany (formerly of Fairfax and Vienna, VA) slipped the mortal coils of earth after a prolonged illness. She joined her feline siblings in those Great Catnip Fields in the Sky, where she will be greeted by her predecessors – Nigel, Cecil, Lisa, Schwartz, Max, and Tsali. (Unless his 5 years in the Fields has softened his feelings for Electra, however, Tsali may not greet her with enthusiasm, since she was the bane of his existence for the last 10 years of his life.) She leaves to mourn her passing her feline sibling, William, who (as she most certainly will inform Tsali, was the bane of her own existence). She also leaves behind her family in Berlin: parents, Jaton’ and Harvey West; brother, Steve West; sister-in-law Steffi West; two nephews – Noe and Levi West; one niece, Milla West; and one gerbil, Flitz (official relationship as yet undetermined–perhaps great-nephew). Although there are far too many friends and relatives in the US to list, she would undoubtedly want to acknowledge her aunt, Shirley Birch, who spent many weeks with Electra while her parents went to Germany to prepare a place for her there.
Although genetically a Devon Rex (a breed with thick, curly hair), Ms. Electra apparently didn’t get the memo regarding the physical expectations of this breed. For most of her almost 16 years, she managed to achieve curly hair on her legs and around her neck, but failed to manage to grow fur on her mid-parts or tail. This led the casual observer to infer that perhaps, for unfathomable reasons, her humans had given her a poodle cut. The net result of this was that her bosom, which in most cats is modestly covered by fur, was displayed in all its glory, and even the most modest of observers couldn’t fail to notice her little pink nipples. When viewed from certain angles, she gave the appearance of having an udder that would be the envy of any bovine creature of similarly diminutive proportions. The hair on her tail was conspicuous in its absence, resembling nothing so much as a rat’s tail. Her ears could best be compared to those of a bat and, given her small size, would have been of serious concern had she been allowed outside in heavy winds. After moving to Berlin at the age of 10, she finally realized that she ought to have fur on her mid-parts, and periodically would pursue this endeavor. Alas, the presence of her fur tended to be cyclical in nature. Logic may have dictated that, if she were to be fully furred only intermittently, the furred periods would be in the winter. Never one to bow to the expectations of others, Ms. Electra managed to have a full coat in the summer and to lose fur on her mid-parts in the winter. That remained the cycle until this year, when she managed to coordinate her fur-growing with the cooler months. At least there is some satisfaction in the fact that she went to her eternal rest looking like a proper Devon Rex. And regardless of the quantity of her fur, the softness of her fur was unequaled.
Electra in her winter attire, without fur
Electra with her seasonal fur
A close-up of Electra’s fur
One of her most cherished hobbies was eating. She typically rousted her parents from bed at 6 am for breakfast. This was followed by second breakfast at 9 am, lunch at noon, mid-afternoon snack at 3 pm, dinner at 6 pm, and bedtime snack at 11 pm. Unless, of course, her insistent yowling managed to persuade either of her parents to give her a little something between those 7 regularly scheduled meals. It was not uncommon for her to successfully convince one parent of her pending death by starvation moments after having been fed by the other parent.
Electra maintaining her vigil at the food bowls
In 2010, she won the silver medal in the Feline Olympics for her unparalleled skill as a world-class napper. As an accomplished multi-tasker, she could often be found in her maroon blankie throughout the day, resting up from a meal while simultaneously training for napping. It was a constant challenge for her to get the right combination of food and rest to give her the strength to yowl for additional food. She managed to achieve this objective, however, almost until the very end.
In 2012, Ms. Electra won the gold medal in the yowling event in the Feline Olympics. When not participating in a yowling competition, she kept in shape by practicing her skills on her parents, who were expected to determine whether a particular yowling episode was a demand to be fed immediately or whether it meant that one of them must stop doing whatever petty human thing they were doing at the time and lie down so she could snuggle up and steal some body heat. The latter was generally the case as bedtime approached, and she often lost patience with the humans when they persisted in spending time on Facebook when it was long past time to get in bed and provide her with the armpit she so desperately needed to snuggle into so she could get a good night’s sleep.
In addition to her many Olympic feats, Ms. Electra was also an accomplished actress, best know for her starring role in the move, Gremlins. This role required, of course, her magnificent ears to be concealed.
Electra in her role in “Gremlins”
At the time of her death, she was still working on her memoir, with a working title of “The Many Moods of Me.” Alas, she had committed it to memory, so we will never know how many moods of Electra she documented.
She leaves a gaping 7-pound hole in the hearts of many, and, in the case of her parents, in their bed as well.
She is interred at Tierbestattung im Rosengarten, Brandenburg, Germany.
For a moment, there was a chance that this obituary could have been much shorter:
As Jaton’ and Harvey West were taking their beloved Ms. Electra for her very last visit to the vet, distracted by their sorrow, they walked in front of a truck, at which time the three of them left this earth together, sparing the vet the time and trouble of dispatching Ms. Electra and sparing Jaton’ and Harvey their grief over her loss.
Fortunately, “almost” only counts in horse-shoes and hand grenades.