In some cultures the death of a living thing is a celebration of life. When you can look at loss like that, it really changes your whole outlook. Today I want to share the celebration of the lives, of two wonderful cat’s who passed through our lives. And tell you about the purrfect cat, who shares her life with us now! Warning: Tissues required!
George was our first kitty, found by our son Nathan, discarded in a ditch by the side of the street. My husband had declared early in our marriage, that he did not want any in door cats. Funny how that changes when your son is looking at you with pleading eyes! George got his name from, “The George of The Jungle Movie” that was popular at the time. He would try so hard to jump from the arm of a chair, to an end table, only to fail. He eventually got the hang of it and like a jungle cat, jumping from high spot to high spot with ease.
George was quite a stinker, with his own unique personality. He didn’t care for large crowds, so would remove himself to another room or the upstairs bannister. My nephews being a bit ornery themselves, when they were younger, would pick at him. George could take care of himself and I told them so, “If you get bitten it is your own fault, leave him alone!” When they found my words were true, they left him alone. Oh but George had some really cute quirks, he liked to put a piece of food into his water dish and then chase it around with his paw and eat it. George also loved watermelon! No kidding, watermelon, he was content with just a small piece that he would lick all the juice off of! He loved to play, chasing a laser light, a piece of yarn, but his favorite thing was a wadded up piece of paper. Those he would catch between his paws, standing on his back legs, then bat all over the place. Of course when he was finished batting, he excepted you to toss him the wadded paper again.
George was an excellent mouser, we lived in the country for sometime surrounded by, soybean and corn fields. So the chance of having a mouse in the house, was pretty good. I will never forgot one incident, we had friends over for dinner and were on the dessert course, when George walked in the room with a mouse in his mouth. I said “Oh look, George caught a mouse”, boy was that the wrong thing to do. My lady friend was scared to death of mice, so she let out a huge shriek, scaring George who of course dropped the mouse. Then the chase was on for the mouse, it was like a scene straight out of “The Mouse Hunt”. Meanwhile my friend was standing on her chair, eating her dessert!! George had also had a fetish for ladies handbags, he just had to stick his head in them! Anyone visiting who set their handbag down, there would be George, his head in their handbag!
The night before George passed he came into the bedroom and got up on the bed with me. This was not his usual behavior, so I knew the time was near. George was 18 years old, a pretty long life for a cat. I laid awake with him all night, just stroking him and giving him comfort. He passed the next morning peacefully. I cried my eyes out, it was hard not too, George had been a part of our lives for so long. There still feels like there is a missing presence in our home.
Sasha came to me when she was four weeks old, a Chocolate Himalayan with golden eyes, just a little ball of fur. As fate would have it, I got her the day before I was fired from my job, due to new onset chronic migraine. Oh, they couldn’t use my illness as a reason, that was illegal. They came up with another plan that was legal, but in which they lied to make it work. Did it matter that I had worked for this Health Care Institution since I was sixteen? No it did not! Was it right that I was treated so horribly by Family Practice Clinicians, who you would have thought, would have been more caring? No it was not! Did I crow when I heard that one of the physicians, who had been particularly nasty to me, developed migraine. No I did not! Did I think Karma? Yes I did! I know that I would have had to quit working, it was just the way it done that was so hurtful.
Back to Sasha, she came into my life at just the right moment! I was hurting in more ways than one. Emotionally she gave me a reason to get out of bed in the morning, this little ball of fur helped me to heal inside. She was my salvation during the worst time in my life, I had something to focus on besides just myself and she was so darn cute. A week after I lost my job, I had a Total Vaginal Hysterectomy. I couldn’t climb the stairs to our bedroom, so I slept on the couch. Sasha slept every night with me, curled up under my chin. Her fur was so soft, silky and totally black, when she curled up it was hard to tell, where she started or ended. George took about a month to decide that, yeah this fur ball was okay.
Sasha had a very easy-going personality, except when it came to her food bowl. If there was one spec of white showing, she would let you know. Once you put food in, she was fine, most of the time she didn’t even eat any of it, but she wanted to make sure it was there when she was ready! Sasha didn’t care for treats, like George did, but boy did she love her catnip! We would give her just a pinch and she would eat a little, then roll and roll in the rest! She looked so funny when she was done, all this black fluffy fur covered in catnip! One of her favorite things to do, was follow me around while I made beds(the boys were still home)and get under the sheets and covers and chase my hands. She had this cute little spitting type sound, that she made while doing this. For some reason it took almost a year for her to purr, I don’t know if it was because she was taken from her mother so young, four weeks.
She also liked to follow me into the bathroom, where she would hide the shower curtain and chase my fingers along the outside. As soon as I reached for the toilet paper, she would leave the bathroom, cat’s are no dummies! When I came home from being in the hospital I would wake up in the night and she would be lying across me, as if to say, just try to leave now! Sasha loved my husbands singing, it didn’t matter where she was in the house, if he started singing, she would come running and just sit at his feet looking up at him! It was the darndest thing I ever saw!
I simply adored Sasha, she was my little cuddle bug! When she became ill and I had to make to the decision to have her put to sleep, it was the single hardest thing I’ve ever done. Even though its been three years, I can’t write about without tears coming to my eyes. I cried all the way to the Vet’s office, through the procedure(the Vet’s assistant right along with me)and all the way home. I didn’t stop crying for two days, of course I had a raging migraine. But that was nothing to me, compared to the loss of my Sasha baby, there is and will always be a missing part of me, that belong to her!
It took me six months before I was ready to open my heart to another cat. We’ve had Belle in our lives for three years now. We adopted her from a rescue shelter, she was six years old at the time, had come from a family with four children and two dogs. One of the children had become allergic. When we brought Belle home, she must have felt like she was living in a castle, with just Rick and I. In fact we jokingly call her Queen Belle. She is the most laid back cat we have ever seen. The only things she doesn’t like are the vacuum cleaner and plastic bags. Nothing else startles her, she is a people cat, always glad to welcome guests at the door. She loves her Aunt Brenda, because she will brush her every time she visits. She patiently waits in the morning for her Daddy to put on his coffee, then clean her box, give her fresh water and serve her breakfast. While Rick catches up with the online world, Belle is draped across his lap happy as can be. When I’m in my cave, she’ll come looking for me. Usually she will lay outside the door, looking in, and I will call to her, then she will come and get on the bed with me. What a lady, waiting for an invitation!
Her nighttime ritual consists of her, coming up on the bed to visit both of us for some loving, then she get’s down and goes off to do what cat’s do at night. Sleep! Pretty much what she does all day, sometimes in a sunny spot, most of the time in her Daddy’s chair. To say she is spoiled is an understatement! Belle has brought much joy to our lives and we like to think we’ve brought joy to hers also!
“What greater gift than the love of a cat.” Charles Dickens
Live with hope,
*Dedicated to my good friend Maurice Hogue, animal lover of all kinds!