Cats, Grief


Our Puss Puss In a stack of cages at the Animal Refuge League, on the second row from the bottom, which was just about eye level for a five-and-a-half-year-old boy, there was a little cat. She had white legs and a white face and undercarriage, but the top of her head and her back and her tail were brown tiger-colored. Little Snowman, on a hunt for the right cat, picked her out after serious deliberations. We brought her home the next day, along with an older grey cat chosen by Young #1 Son. 

And so we began our lives at the beginning of my single motherhood, a young mom, with three kids and two cats, the grey man cat Nicky and frail little PussPuss, who required several weeks of antibiotics and hand-feeding, deep care from Snowman and his mama. Very Little Light Princess, the same age as the little kitty, somehow got the idea that you made a cat meow by pulling on her tail. As soon as Puss felt better, VLLP learned otherwise.

We've been together for a long time. PussPuss was the pilot cat, the one following us up and down the block when we went for a walk, waiting for us at the corner if we went to the 7-11 or walked the children to elementary school, willing to sit on a neighbor's front steps while we sold Girl Scout cookies or wrapping paper or stopped in for a short visit. 

She loved to be outside, and for many years had a regular route around the neighborhood, one that made her well-known. She left enough collars under neighbors' shrubs that we gave up trying to make her wear one. It was only in the past few winters that she decided snow was too much for her and spent the winter almost entirely inside.

She found the dogs worrisome as a duo, but came to love Sam after Molly's death. 

Puss dirt bath She maintained a meticulous appearance, all that white fur shining, and a big part of that was rolling in the dirt, something we could never understand.

After we got her strong and healthy back in 1996, she was never sick a day in her life, though she clearly grieved for other animals who passed through our household. When she seemed low after Sam's death, I did not immediately suspect physical illness, but a couple of weeks ago at her check-up, the vet found a mass. A couple of days ago, she really sank, and yesterday we had to bid her farewell. 

15-and-a-half is young for a person and oldish for a cat, especially a cat who started life as a sickly stray. It's a hard loss for us because it's one more on top of others, and because Puss had a sort of independent character that gave way to being more affectionate in the last couple of years. She sat in laps and slept with LP. And on her last visit to the vet, even though we didn't realize it would be the last, she came out of the carrier and nuzzled me lovingly. 

My only consolation, after having our last old cat wander off never to be found, is in knowing we gave her a quiet end.

Farewell, PussPuss, faithful pilot cat. We love you.

18 thoughts on “PussPuss”

  1. I am so sorry. Loss piling upon loss, and this one so fluffy. What a good cat life she had — but still, terrible for all of you to lose her right now. Or ever.

  2. What a beautiful girl, and what a good life you made for her. God’s blessings and comfort be with you and your family.

  3. what a lovely eulogy for a loved pet.
    Wow…there have been so many subtractions in your life this year. Sending wishes for a 2011 year of additions if not multiplication in blessings.

  4. This is a lovely tribute to a special animal friend. Thank you for sharing it. Every Blessing

  5. What a lovely remembrance. I’m so sorry for your loss, especially coming as it does at the end of a difficult year. Here’s to a better 2011!

  6. ((Songbird)) I am so sorry for all the losses you have gone through this year! Holding you and your family up in prayer,

  7. I”m so sorry Songbird. I love the picture of her rolling in the dirt.
    For your sake, I am very ready for 2010 to be over. You’ve just had too much loss this year for anyone to handle.

  8. Just catching up Martha… I am so very sorry for your loss my friend. Goodness knows that 2011 has to be a year filled to the brim with all good things as you all have had enough for 2010 to last a lifetime.

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