I’d gotten home from school, opened the door, put my school bag down. When I went back to close the door, there was this face- asking. Asking to eat! This is one of the two feral cats who were my neighbor’s kittens, one of the two we were able to capture and release after having them neutered and given a rabies shot at Animal Rescue League- four years ago now.
Remember my neighbor Ann P. had a clutter, clowder, pounce of cats. I had to look that up as I was thinking “colony” not herd or gaggle. (click here to see what other animal groups are named under collectives.) Ann P (90+) passed away and we were able to get two of the four young cats taken care of and those two are still coming around. Don’t know what happened to the other two.
This one has a particularly expressive face. (iPhone shot) I call it Long Tail. The other one has no tail and I call it Bunny Boy but granddaughter Anna calls him Bob which works as he was born without a tail.
Whether you’re a dog person, a cat person, or none of the above, you know how painful loss can be. Even when a living thing comes to the end of its life, the inevitable is difficult. There they are, with you. And then they aren’t anymore. Ever. And no matter how old or how sick, you just miss them. They entertain you, cheer you, greet you and provide companionship. You care for them, feed them, talk to them and teach them a trick or two.
First there was Eloise, a cat someone dumped in the park across the street where we live. 1992. We took her in. Laura was in second grade.
Lucy- the last of the litter- the only one with long hair, big green eyes- a pretty cat and sweet.
She was the loudest purrer and a docile cat. She was the most vocal and would talk back as your called her name.
My one friend thinks Steve needs a kitten. NOT! We’re not getting any more cats.
Steve said maybe a hypoallergenic dog? Down the road a bit. A little terrier? No! We just can’t have any more pets. It’s too hard to lose them. The last couple months seemed to be a cat hospice situation around here with Steve so vigilant and trying everything to make her life nice. She really was confined to one room and didn’t climb the stairs anymore.
Her being in the one room allowed the family to come this summer and sleep overnight as they suffer from cat allergies. Oh how the grandkids loved seeing Lucy. Steve would take them in and they were so happy seeing her, asking about her. I know they’ll be sad to hear she’s gone.
Earlier in the summer, Michael gave me his pet rock he’d made in day camp “for when Lucy dies”.
I think about how Mark, Erika and both of her parents and now even Laura all suffer from cat allergies. So do a couple of my good friends and it has impacted their ability to come and enjoy being in my home. Oh dear. But when Laura was growing up, she used to have cute Lucy crawl under the covers. Now she can’t be near cats without an allergic reaction.
Nineteen and a half years is a full life for a cat. Or as Mark says, she had nine wonderful lives thanks to Steve. Steve has been caring for her so tenderly. Sips of Cat Milk, special food for the thyroid. You name it. Steve was practically chewing up shrimp like a penguin mother. Now it’s hard to handle and dispose of her bowl and her drinking fountain, her pan, all the things she used.
Three weeks ago at the vet they said she was doing well for her age.
Hmmm, I thought. She didn’t look too good to me but her eyes had life and she was still using the litter pan and eating a little.
I knew she was coming down the home stretch. We talked about knowing it was time to put her down. But we hadn’t.
And so the night before the first day of school, Steve came in around 1:30 AM and said that he was petting her and she didn’t wake up. That she was gone. Friday he took her to be cremated while I started my new job. I was sorry he had to go alone. It still doesn’t seem real that she passed and isn’t coming back.
We’ll miss you Lucy.
The sign in the window says, BEWARE OF DOG! I’ve driven by this place for almost six years as I go back and forth to school everyday. Sometimes there are balloons tied to the signboard outside. It’s on the corner at Brownsville Road- PLANTS & FLOWERS by Lisa .
Today I pulled over to the curb, ignored the meter, got out and went inside. I was headed to Bridgeville to visit a friend. Einstein used to have two white tufts of hair that stuck out, hence his name. The two women were really helpful to me and I asked if I might photograph him and they agreed. I thought about the flower shop as I left and drove in traffic, finding my way to Bridgeville. I’d heard that photographing animals with a black fur coat is difficult and looking at the shots now (available light) I concur. But those eyes were really checking me out! Einstein was friendly and wanted to communicate. Must be used to new customers off the street.
My grandmother worked in a flower shop in Lincoln, Illinois, and when I was small I would visit her there. I remember the spools of ribbon, the sticky green tape, the wire stands and styrofoam base, that green squishy foam and of course the smell of the place but the thing that sticks with me the most was her can of spinach and a hard boiled egg she kept in the cooler for lunch.
The winter of pet loss. Tommie and Fred were of the same litter, brother and sister. They both suffered from hyperthyroid condition and despite medication couldn’t quite make it to what would have been their 18th birthdays on March 7th. Tommie would rub up against you and your hand and pet herself if you stopped petting her. She was feisty and funny. We will miss her.
Born March 6, 1993. Passed December 22, 2010. He will be sorely missed. Found a site to help cope with pet loss
Monday night Steve and I went to dinner at the Elbow Room (Pittsburgh) to celebrate his birthday. I asked him which of his birthdays was his happiest birthday ever. “Last year!” he said. We were out at Mark and Erika’s and the kids helped blow out the candles, eyeballs for the ophthalmologist. Laura had made the cake with the kids’ help decorating it. James made him a shirt with his favorite cat Fred sniffing the flowers. Mark gave him a book about Where They are Buried and Erika found some really nice summer shirts for him. It was a fun party. His best ever! The children really make life fun! Happy Birthday(2009) Steve.
Yesterday’s flowering pears prompted me to go out in the backyard this evening, see how the Redbud tree is coming along. Maybe continue with a theme. Lots of tiny buds but not quite open. Ginny planted the tree in memory of my parents a couple of years ago. The tree made it through all the snow and is flourishing. And I look over in the raggedy herb garden and see the feral cat from next door, chewing on some catnip, a perennial that returned without tending. Took a shot but too far away to be interesting. Edged over to the backporch steps and caught the green eyes looking right at me, catnip in front. Some of you may remember a post of the cat from the snowstorm(2-16-10).
Braving the snowstorm to look for food. This is one we caught, had fixed and returned to wild.