Today is Meowmorial Day. On this day we honor the memory of the feline friends that we have loved and lost.
The most difficult part of being a cat Guardian is not the challenge of keeping kitties safe, healthy and happy. Certainly, these things are not always easy, but the motivation for Guardians to take good care of their furry companions comes naturally from the love that they feel for them. But no matter how well we kitties are cared for, the simple truth is our lifespans are much shorter than those of our human Guardians, and odds are good that our Guardians will live on long after our years are spent. Living with this knowledge, and ultimately facing the day when we must finally depart is without question the hardest part of being a cat Guardian.
When you truly let us into your heart, the pain of losing us is unlike any other. This pain flows from the sudden break in a chain of affection, joy, shared challenges and genuine love stretching back in time to the point at which you became our Guardian. It hurts, and badly, but at the same time that pain is a testament to just how highly you valued your relationship with us. For a kitty, the greatest thing we can hope for is to share our lives with a Guardian who truly values us as an individual being, and who loves us so much that they feel a profound sense of loss with our passing.
Now, let us honor the memory of some very special kitties. They have departed from this life, but the love and joy they brought to this world lives on in the hearts of the guardians who cherished and protected them.
First we wish to honor Trixie, a gorgeous, black-and-white tripod Kitty who departed this world on December 18, 2012 at the age of 8. Trixie’s Guardian Denise says, “We loved her so much. She gave us so much love!”
Denise, Guardian of Trixie was also the Guardian of Cosmo kitty. Denise adopted Cosmo from the Grand Forks, ND Humane Society in March of 1993. This handsome orange tabby crossed the Rainbow Bridge on May 15, 2011 at the age of 18 1/2 years. Denise says of Cosmo, “We love and miss him…the greatest lap cat ever. He was the epitome of love. ”
Next we honor Ragamuffin, who passed away on January 5, 2011. Ragi, as she was known, was an 8 week old feral kitten when she was rescued by her Guardian, Jenn. According to Jenn, when Ragi was rescued, “She’d already been hit by a car and had a broken pelvis so she sadly experienced first hand one of the many dangers outdoor kitties face. But she had a safe indoor life after that! She was deeply loved and I miss her dearly.”
Our next honoree is Dewey, a cat with a truly resilient spirit. Dewey’s Guardian DeeDee recounts his story:
“This is my Dewey. I rescued him when he was about 5 years old from the Nashville pound (a high kill shelter) with just hours to live on August 19, 2000. That was known as his birthday from then on. We went through a lot together. He had been viciously declawed – I still maintain that someone tore his nails out at home because it was such a horrible shoddy hackjob. He developed into the single most tolerant, sweet cat I have ever had the pleasure to know. Everyone who ever met him fell in love.
In February of 2008, a tornado struck our home, killing my husband and hospitalizing me. Later the next day, they found my Dewey (and his sister Pixel) ALIVE!! It was such a joy! Dewey had a large gash on his side from debris, but it was not serious.
In about 2010, Dewey was diagnosed with sinus cancer. I kept him comfortable for a year or so after the diagnosis, but when he really started suffering, I had to make the heartwrenching decision to euthanize him on December 19, 2011. He will always hold a special place in my heart.”
Joshua is the next of our lost brothers to be honored. He departed on November 1, 2008. Joshua’s Guardian, Stephanie, wrote the following upon Joshua’s passing:
“My beloved feline friend and faithful companion of nearly 15 years departed this world today. Joshua was diagnosed with lymphoma in the spring and went temporarily into remission, but his most recent blood panel revealed that he was not holding steady anymore and it simply wasn’t fair to ask him to keep fighting against such odds. He didn’t suffer, which was my promise to him…and he lived a full and happy life, from beginning to end. He was the benevolent patriarch of our household, accepting of all who came through our door, full of goofy kitten spunk even in his geriatric years, happy prancing door greeter, catnip lover, magnificent and wise, loving and dearly loved.
Our home feels empty and things will not be the same without our Joshua, but he will never be forgotten and he lives on in our hearts and minds.
In loving memory of beautiful Joshua,
Stephanie would also like to remember her feline companion Charlotte, who departed on March 7, 2009. She is still dearly missed after all these years. Stephanie wrote the following about Charlotte on her passing:
“Those who know me best know that my cat family is everything to me, so it is with great sadness I share that I had to say goodbye to my beloved kitty Charlotte on Saturday. She has been fighting a mystery illness since October and, while we had a very good handle on it for nearly 5 months, she suffered a relapse this past week that made a turn-around look unlikely without aggressive intervention that I simply didn’t have the heart to put her through. My promise to each one of my animals is a blissful life and a peaceful, painless departure when the time comes and I did my very best to honor this promise to my beautiful Charls who was deserving of all and only good things in life.
Charlotte is the most clever, loving, and intuitive animal I have ever known and the grief I will feel in her absence can’t be overstated. She knew when strangers were approaching long before their footsteps could be heard outside the door, she would climb up and smell my hair with wide, suspicious eyes whenever I returned from the hair salon with the scent of ‘somebody else’s shampoo’ on my head, and no plant (or pen!) was ever safe in this house from her reach–no matter how high or precarious the location. Charls also embodied everything I love most about felines: her regal, stunning elegance and quick-footed agility; her intense love of sunshine, lounging, and all things cozy; her playfulness and amazing imagination–there was nothing she couldn’t turn into a mesmerizing game; her self-containment and the old world wisdom she imparted in her all-knowing gaze; and her extremely finicky heart–if she chose to love you, you were special indeed (in fact, she preferred to hide from most people–you were fortunate if she allowed you to be gifted with her presence). But those Charls chose and loved, she loved deeply…and her love had a healing, restorative power that on even the worst of days made everything feel like it was going to be OK.
Rest in peace, dear Charlotte, and thank you for gracing my home and life with your perfection. You are loved and deeply missed and will never be forgotten in our hearts.
With love and gratitude,
Next we honor Cutesy, a lovely tabby girl that lives up to her name. Cutesy’s family, including Chris, Buggy, Monster, and Bunk, had this to say about her:
“Cutesy was a stray who wandered up to our house one cold and rainy November day several years ago. She was emaciated due to several health issues requiring a couple of expensive surgeries. After she grew fat and shiny and glowed with health. Cutesy was incredibly affectionate, loved her stinky food, and demanded petting constantly, which we happily obliged. She had the loudest purrs I’ve ever heard. She was very petite also and looked like a little fairy when she’d play. Three months ago she went to that great Stinky Food Buffet in the Sky and we still miss her terribly. She was a wonderful, wonderful little blessing who left to soon.”
We would now like to honor Molly and Max, two Canadian kitties that were well loved by their Guardian, Cat. Cat had these words to say:
“Although I remember every single kitty from childhood onwards who has graced my life and touched my heart I am attaching just two pictures; of Molly and Max who passed on September 23, 2010 and March 4, 2009 respectively. Molly was my calico diva who lived a long and happy life, she died just two months shy of her nineteenth birthday. Sweet Max was my little gray pearl we rescued from death row at high kill shelter, we hoped to give him a safe and pampered life but sadly he had the dreaded FIP and died before his first birthday. I would be very pleased and honoured if you would include my lovely angels in your Meowmorial Day post. Thank you.”
Guardian Linda had three kitties that we would like to honor. The first is Tasha, a tortie girl that departed in September of 2011. Linda says:
“Tasha was a total Tortie with the Tortitude to match! She was 17 when she went OTRB. Only after both brothers passed in the months before at age 16, did we learn, once they were both gone…Tasha had always been a secret blanket cat! She slept under the covers until she passed. And, for her whole life, she loved fetching plastic straws and chasing Da Bird until she was exhausted!”
Linda’s second kitty, Boris, passed in June of 2011. Linda had this to say about Boris:
“Boris was one long tall guy! Orange and White…big guy but lean. He loved any toy that was interactive and that motivated him to be cathletic! He would have put Mama Cat to shame…truly! He could get about 4 feet off the ground to catch Da Bird. He loved being in boxes or shopping bags and having us peeps whirl him around…he would just sit there and wait for more. He was 16 when he went OTRB.”
Linda would also like us to remember her kitty Popcorn. Popcorn departed in October of 2012. Here’s how Linda remembers him:
“Popcorn, part Maine Coon, orange long fur with tufts in his paw and ears. He came with a house we bought in Southern California, in 1995. He was about as young as Tasha and Boris, so we think he was about 1 year old at the time. He loved drinking from our pool..he would walk out on the wall between the whirlpool and pool…letting his gorgeous bushy tail drape onto the whirlpool whilst he drank from the pool…his tail was almost never even damp! He was our bionic boy…two surgeries to repair patella breaks…just accidents…one when he was younger then another when he was about 11. He was 16 when he went OTRB”
We would next like to honor a number of kitties whose Guardian, Diane, misses them very much. First there is Mama, Hugo, Gummi, Hunter, Hammock, Zipper, Kangaroo and Orange Spot. Diane had this to say about them:
“We adopted a pregnant Mama in 1991 and somehow never found suitable homes for her 7 kittens. Mama outlived all her kittens, leaving us in 2009. We don’t know how old she was when we adopted her. Two? Three? Pale Hugo was the biggest of the three orange boys. He was a lovable lug. Gummi was named for her love of fat produce rubber bands, like you get with broccoli. “Gummi” means “rubber” in German. Brilliant Hunter loved cooked mushrooms and corn on the cob, and fishy stuff, of course. And sweet, shy Hammie developed a very strong bond for a new human who joined his family for the last eight years of his feline life. Not shown, sisters Zipper, Kangaroo and Orange Spot. They passed on before I had a digital camera.”
Diane would also like to remember Cooper, and had this to say about her:
“She came to me as a newborn – the only living kitten found in a litter dumped at a roadside rest area off I-10 in Louisiana. I agreed to bottle-feed her until weaning, at which time her finders would adopt her. She took unusually long to wean, and when I called her rescuers, their phone was “no longer in service” – they’d moved. Her name derived from an unfortunate association she developed when I greeted her with, “Hey, little pooper!” Looking back, she was probably sensitive to the feline milk replacer I used (sorry, Cooper) – I was constantly having to bathe her to remove diarrhea. She responded to “Pooper” as if it were her name, so it got changed to “Cooper”. She had litter box avoidance issues and eventually she had to be accompanied to the litter box. She had a schedule and would seek me when it was time. I had to stay while she was “using the box” or she’d jump out and follow me, mission unaccomplished. After she finished, I praised her lavishly. I felt it was worth the sacrifice of my time three times a day to avoid the continued damage of our rugs and clothing and floors, etc.”
Diane would also like to honor Dweeb and Tweed. Although Tweed is a bird, he did eat cat food, so we made an exception and included him in this Meowmorial Day. Diane says this about Dweeb and Tweed:
“Dweeb showed up in our driveway in Texas during a rainstorm and wove her way into our hearts. When younger, Tweed, the cockatiel, knew not to get too close to Dweeb, but as she aged, her interest in prey waned. In this photo, the bowl of cat food was too tempting for Tweed to pass up.”
Diane also wished to remember Tugboat, a long-haired tabby girl that was found, along with her sister who did not survive, in an industrial parking lot.
Diane would also like to honor Wafer. She had this to say about him:
“[Wafer was] Named because he was such a thin boy when he appeared in our yard in Texas. He fit easily into the family, he was so mild-mannered and friendly.”
We would also like to honor Brindle and Misha, two cats who were rescued from the shadows of a feral existence by their Guardian Batya. Misha had lived with humans in the past, which was evidenced by the fact that she had been declawed. She was about 1.5 years old and had reverted to feral behavior when she found Batya. When she was about six weeks old, Brindle got under the hood of Batya’s car on a cold, desert night. She was drawn in by the warmth of the engine and had singed whiskers when Batya discovered her. Both kitties found their forever home with Batya and lived out their lives in a protected, indoor-only environment. They are both sorely missed.
Batya would also like to remember a number of other cats that she has taken care of or has known that have passed. The Cult of Otis honors all of these kitties: Ricky, Shadow, Charlie, Emily, Cookie, Tess, Tigger, Louis, Bob, JoJo, Raison d’etre, Maddy, Elijah, Rabble, Billy, Scooter, Earl, Bit, Missy, Max, Marco, Gracie, and Oreo, Omar, Callie, and Chinle. All were much loved, and all are sorely missed.
We would also like to honor Bailey, who passed away on March 24, 2006. Bailey’s Guardian Lisa had this to say:
“Bailey came to me in the spring of 1988. I was working at the King County animal shelter and a young couple literally pushed an approximately 4-month-old kitten across the counter and proclaimed that they no longer wanted him because he had fleas. He did indeed have fleas. A moving layer of black was visible beneath his long white hair. He spent one night in the shelter and I took him home the next day. He went from the carrier straight into the bath and was a gem about having baths his entire life.
Bailey was an old soul who ruled my life and taught me much. I think of him often, still speak to him often, and miss him a lot.”
Next we honor Austin Danger Powers, who departed on March 21, 2010. Austin’s Guardian Tanya had this to say:
“We would like to honor our kitty Austin Danger Powers for Meowmorial Day this year. Austin died March 21, 2010 at the age of 12. Austin was the most laid back cat and loved everyone (he even converted a few non cat lovers into cat lovers in his time). He is to this day missed by all who knew him.”
We next honor the only kitty I know of to have given her Guardian a black eye. This feisty girl named Cricket must have really packed a punch. This is what Cricket’s Guardian Penny had to say about her:
“Cricket lived until May of 2007. She shared 21 years with me. Adopted from the animal shelter in the winter this 4 pound ‘kitten’ turned out to be a fiery little adult. So it’s a mystery how old she actually was…..but her feisty spirit more than made up for the diminutive size.
She didn’t care for anything or anyone….everyone was treated with disdain or threatened with growls, I was the exception to the rule. Cuddled like a teddy bear every night and followed me everywhere I went during the day. Except that one black eye she gave me……miss her”
Last but not least, we would like to honor Ping, a handsome, long-haired boy that lived from May 15, 1995 to February 4, 2012. Ping’s Guardian Nancy had this to say about him:
“Ping and I were together for 15 1/2 years, a one-to-one relationship. I am very thankful to Isaac, who had a litter of kittens, from a pregnant cat who wandered on to his property to give birth. I have always loved cats, but had only one cat of my own, Mandy, as a child – a cat who lived well into her 20s! I said to Isaac, I cannot have a cat, I live in an apartment – it wouldn’t be fair to the cat. Well, I was convinced otherwise! It took quite some time to choose Ping, the first pick of the litter. Ping was a great boy, up until his death. I learned that he had cancer less than a week before he died. It was quick. Up until the end, he made his way from the closet (where he chose to be towards the end) to the kitty litter, to pee. We comforted each other at the end.”
Although I feel sadness for the passing of each and every one of My feline brothers and sisters, the outpouring of love for them from their Guardians tempers that sadness with joy. It is clear that every kitty honored here today was appreciated for the remarkable beings that they were. They found Guardians that could truly see them, and who valued and cherished the relationship they had with them. Every cat should be so lucky.
So today, remember all of the felines that you have loved and lost. Find happiness in their memory, and don’t be afraid to embrace the pain of their loss. Your pain really means that your kitty was well loved, and it should serve as a reminder of the amazing gift that you gave them by becoming their protector and friend. For that, The Brothers and I honor each and every one of you.
So Sayeth Otis