This post is going to go way out of my normal topic range, but in a way, this blog is also about family and the life that we've created. I also hope that by writing this and paying tribute, it will help me start to heal.
We lost one of the furry members of our family last night, our sweet, beautiful cat Juliette. It was unexpected and quick, which makes her passing so much more difficult to take. I was with her when she passed at the vet, who did everything he could, and while I'm glad I was with her, those difficult images and moments will never leave my mind. At the moment they, as well as every regret I've ever had as a cat owner, every little thing I can try to beat myself up with, is taking far too much space in my mind. We buried her this morning with bread ties and notes of love, holding hands and telling her of the immeasurable joy she brought into our lives, and telling her how much we love and miss her.
Juliette found us when she was about a year old. We later found out that she had been released into the coldest NY winter night we'd had that year, by college students who had abused her. She miraculously found her way into our warm apartment building, and when I heard a little meow from the vestibule and opened the door to investigate, she ran straight into our apartment and claimed us as her new owners. She somehow must have known the soft hearts my husband and I have for felines, and really, she wasn't taking no for an answer anyhow!
Juliette, or "Baby Girl" as I often called her, was a cat with a big, loving personality. She had a rough time trusting us fully due to the abuses she experienced before us, but with time she opened up and let us hold her, and just recently, would even sit on your lap for a bit. I feel good that we took her from a bad place and allowed her to trust so fully and need to remember that. She was a loyal cat, which seems strange to say about a kitty, but she was. When I became pregnant with Tyler, she suddenly started sleeping in bed with me, purring, and wanted to be around me all of the time. Before he was even born, she enjoyed laying on his piles of clothes, kneading and purring with such joy. When Tyler was born, she would often sit on the bed next to his crib and watch him sleep through the rails. Though the other three cats we have were quite skittish of Tyler and would keep themselves far away, often hiding in the basement (and still do), Juliette was around so much that Tyler started to crawl around and act like a cat, and recently started mimicking her rolling around on her back in the sun. Though she was never a mother, she was maternal through and through, even swatting our other cats when they were out of line.
Juliette was a cat who knew how to find and tear into a package of cat nip with ease, and reacted to it in the craziest ways. She loved the simple things, like playing with bread ties on the kitchen floor and around the table legs. She could often be found basking in a ray of sunlight on the floor, rolled over to expose her soft, spotted belly, exquisitely happy and warm. Juliette was so in love with lying under the Christmas tree that each year we would keep it up extra long just for her, often until half of the needles had fallen off. Playing with her with a shoelace was an enormous amount of fun that seemed could last all day. Juliette was great at "making bread" as we called it, kneading into soft blankets for up to half and hour at a time if not more, especially when those blankets were covering us. She would often sit on the counter and watch us cook and seemed to supervise each move we made in the kitchen. She was a cheese and bread addict. You always knew that if you tore into a package of cheese to expect her to come running into the kitchen from wherever she was, meowing for a taste and pushing her head into your hands until you gave her a bit. I'll never forget her happy little love bites she gave our hands when you would pet her or she was waiting for food. The beautiful, relaxed way she would sleep on the matress in Ty's quiet room during his nap, smiling, and sometimes even hanging out after he woke.When she first entered our lives, she would jump onto the toilet and then way up onto the ledge of the shower stall to watch us shower, and wanted to be pet so badly she didn't care about getting wet.
Though I know she got less attention after Tyler was born, I need to remember that we gave her a good life, even if it was one that ended much too early. She had expensive, yummy wet food to keep her well. A cat tree throne and soft places to call her own. Hands that loved her rather than hurt her. Cats and people she believed she ruled over, and did.
Goodbye my sweet Juliette. I will miss stroking your soft, beautiful fur and am glad I did during lunch on what would be your last day, as you sat in the window watching birds. You nestled into my hand so sweetly and happily, as if you weren't in suffering at all when I drove you to the vet that night and pet you the whole way there, talking to you with soft love and reassurance. You were always so receptive to our touch and attention. You were so playful and cute that just a couple hours before you passed you played with me and a shoestring, jumping up with your front paws to try to catch it. It has only been sixteen hours without you and I can't believe how much I miss seeing you. I never knew how many tears I would cry and the depth of pain I would feel without you. I hope that your suffering was not long, as we know now you hid how badly you felt. I hope that you felt the love we had for you. I hope that you heard me and felt my hands when I was rushed back to see you in your final moments, that you knew you didn't die in the presence of only strangers. We will never forget you baby girl. You will continue to take up a big, soft place in our hearts...forever. I miss you so much. Love, pets and nose kisses, sweetheart... Please may you rest in peace baby girl.