Today’s blog post requires the briefest of backstory: when my parents were first married, my mom wanted a kitten. When trying to choose from a litter at a friends house, she couldn’t decide between the sole black kitten and an adorable gray. My dad insisted she do so, and she chose the gray. When it came time for them to be weaned/come home, Dad picked them up. He walked in the door and pulled the gray kitty out of one pocket. Then, he pulled the black kitty from the other.
I told my sweetie this story early in our admittedly whirlwind courtship. The day he proposed, he gave me a beautiful, handcrafted ring and a polaroid of two calico kittens*. “When they can be weaned, they’re ours.”
That was just about nineteen years ago**. Our engagement kitties were with us through moves, through career changes, through losses, through new feline additions.
Today, I’ll tell you a brief bit about Isabeau. Tomorrow belongs to her sister.
Loved curling up in a sunny spot for a serious nap.
In her last months, she would totally faceplant in her fuzzy kitty nest and snooze for hours.
She was a beauty.
Always ready to help change the bed linens, so long as I was willing to ‘attack’ her from above.
Not much of a hunter, though would gladly alert us to the presence of bugs or spiders or mice so that we could take care of them. When she did manage to catch one on her own? So proud.
Several years back, she went deaf. Best. Possible. Thing. She no longer heard Handsome Tom sneaking up on her, which meant she gave him no reaction, which meant he totally lost interest. She was the happiest DeafKitty ever.
She loved her dad, and he her.
Over the past several months, she’d started to lose weight. She was coming up on nineteen years of age; it was no surprise that her body was not functioning with full efficiency. We decided to embrace every day we had with her. So long as she was comfortable and happy, we were good. She would let us know when it was time.
Isabeau still loved being with her people, and as such completely ruled our band’s rehearsals. One February Sunday afternoon she strode through the room, demanding attention, skritches, snuggles. You can hear her on the rehearsal recording.
That evening, she couldn’t even jump onto my lap. It was time. I thought I was ready. I thought I’d been so sensible, so prepared, but the moment I made the call to the vet and they asked the nature of the visit, I burst into tears. It doesn’t matter whether your time is brief or long, saying goodbye is heartbreaking. Still, we grieve those most that we loved best. I’m so honored to have had Isabeau in my life. The heartbreak is worth it.
*grandkittens of cats he’d had in NJ years before. perfection!
**yet somehow I’ve not aged. weird, right?