Saturday, May 29, 2010

Remembering My Girl

“I don’t do plants or pets,” I always said. Pets are too much responsibility for the sake of inevitable grief. Cats, in particular, are just plain irritating. They get their hair into the dark recesses of your sofa, scratch up abstractions all over your skin, and never seem to settle into one mood state. Perhaps they are just a reminder of the female condition, and we women don’t need such reminders. Nor do you men. As for plants, I am greatly skilled at killing them off - even the plastic ones. Thus, I boycott both.
I met Naomi, though, when I first visited him. I’d had a rough day at work, and she instantaneously jumped on me to offer comfort. She’s afraid of people, so this was a good sign. In spite of myself, I let Naomi (aka “Nomezie”) become my girl immediately. Nomezie is quite a beauty. Isn’t she? 

Cats in general challenge us. They do not actually love unconditionally. They require loving treatment, and they have good instincts. If you are worthy, and if you adore them, they will reciprocate. If not, you have made an enemy for life, and you WILL regret it.

The thing about losing a cat, then, is that it can be really tough. Of course, losing a person is highly traumatic, but let me venture to say that losing a pet can actually be worse. I mean, they don’t have the capacity for malice. They don’t entangle us in tense interactions. They don’t leave the toilet seat up, nor do they toss their dirty undies on the couch. Seems I’m on a roll. I’ll save the rest for another post.

Anyway, cats keep us company when they want to, look after us when we need them to, and generally go about their business without asking much of anything in return. Keeping it real, human loss can be incredibly relieving. It’s sometimes uplifting to have all that tension gone in a snap. Pet loss, though, has no relief component. It’s just pure sadness.

Almost three years after meeting her, I had to relay a heartbreaking “goodbye.” Nomezie looked up at me with her big grey eyes that asked, “Why?” I had no answer, and I knew I would never see her again. I said “goodbye,” with all the strength I could muster, during visits to retrieve the last of my possessions. I thanked my girl for teaching me to love a cat. 


My sister, Dawn, lost her Shayna a few days ago. She’d been Dawn’s for almost 19 years. Admittedly, Shayna and I did not like each other very much. I finally realized this in the middle of the night as Shayna pounced on my face aggressively, while I slept on Dawn’s couch. The next day, when I was alone with Shayna in Dawn’s little apartment, I could not find her. I was distraught with fear that she had escaped. Turned out, Shayna was hiding in the closet all day long, until Dawn got home. Dawn was amused. Me, not so much. That’s how loyal Shayna was to Dawn, though. Yeah, that’s it. It wasn’t because of my “I hate cats, and I didn’t appreciate you pouncing on my face last night while I was asleep, because I hate cats” vibe or anything.

Rest in peace, Shayna. Thank you for watching out for Dawn all those years.
 
To My Dear Nomezie, mommy misses you very much. I really hope you are okay. Know that I still love you.
Now, I’m back to boycotting pets and plants, even plastic versions of either.

33 comments:

  1. Our animals are like family and it's a huge loss when they leave us. Sad to hear about the loss.

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  2. I hope when I'm gone that you will blog a touching post like the one you've done for cats...

    Btw, I bet I know how I could wake you up/put you to sleep with a smile on your face, every time!

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  3. this is so beautiful.

    our pets are our family.

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  4. Mike, they are like family. My grief didn't hit until my sister lost her cat this week. Thanks for your support. :)

    Blase, I have no doubts that you do, babe. xo

    Margg, thank you. That's sweet. =-}

    Hugs,
    Robyn

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  5. Your poor sister. Please give her my best.

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  6. I am saddened to hear of your sisters loss.

    While I never did have kids, I have had lots of cats and they have been very much a part of my life and family. Each provided something special to our house and home.

    Losing them is no easy thing. But I will always remember and be able to appreciate that special something they brought to my life. Their memories and influence endure.

    All my best,
    John

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  7. Not a cat person, but I still feel for you.

    You are, however, the coolest Russian-Canadian-Jewish-White-Tennis-Shoe-Wearer that I have ever had the pleasure of blogging with.

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  8. I went through this four days before our wedding. My friend is going through this now. Losing a kitty is pure pain. No way around it :( My heart goes out to your sister and you :(

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  9. I'm sorry to hear that. I love cats and I know how hard is when one dies. My Gary Cooper is middle aged so hopefully she still has some years left.

    My condolences to your sister.

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  10. Pets become part of our family pretty quick. Sorry for the loss. And I agree with Cheeseboy. You are the coooolest!:)

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  11. When I was a kid we had a Siamese cat which insisted on sleeping under the covers with you. No matter how tightly I held the sheets around me, she would find her way in!

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  12. I am totally a cat person. And I admit, my "allergies" starting acting up as I read your post. animals can get to a place in our hearts that humans have no access to. I'm sorry for your sister's loss, and VERY sorry you lost your sweet kitty...

    I don't know if you've ever noticed the cat photo on the right hand side of my blog. Click it...It'll cheer you right up...NOT!
    Anyway, it's about losing my cat a few months ago. He was my buddy...
    It still hits me hard, whenever I think about him...like now....shit!

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  13. Cats are great (apart from the big ones who are bastards). When my purring friend Catkins massaged me with his paws I was totally at peace.

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  14. We have 8 cats and 2 dogs. I think over the years we have lost about 10 pets, 5 cats and 5 dogs. it's tough to lose a pet. I love cats. My favorite cat is always happy to see me and cuddles up next to me all the time.

    I'd send plastic flowers but I don't trust you to take care of them.

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  15. Yes its heartbreaking when they die.. we just lost our rabbit of 5 years..i patted her everynight, so u do get attached..
    "Never say Never... again."

    however, we have one left.. the bitch.. who dosnt like to be touched at all.. and if u do, shell try and bite!

    even with rabbits, the good die young..

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  16. My heartfelt sympathies. I still miss my dog – my loyal, loving great big old black mutt.
    And I managed to kill a cactus. That’s it – I’m done with live plants in my home.

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  17. I know it's hard when you lose a pet.
    Pouncing on your face?
    Talk about loyalty :)

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  18. You have an award on my blog.

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  19. if you want unconditional love, get a dog. but it comes with lots of work. cats are a lot easier, but they're way too independent.

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  20. Back in January, I had to have my elderly cat put to sleep. He had numerous health problems over the years (he had a major urinary tract infection that required major surgery--when my parents heard about that, they were upset with me. Whatever). He always wanted to be near me, and would sleep practically on top of my head. As things got worse, he always wanted to get out of the house. He started moving slower, and my neighborhood was not safe for him. One day I came home and found him curled up in a dark corner of the closet. He smelled awful. Having him put to sleep was something I thought I'd never do, but watching him suffer was horrible.

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  21. Oh man. I can't take these kinds of posts! I love my cats with an intensity that borders on mental illness. I am so sorry for your sister's loss and for yours. You'll be adopted again soon, I hope and I hope you go for it!

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  22. I had a beautiful black cat called Jet - he was with me for thirteen years and it broke my heart when he passed away. I can't bring myself to get another cat - I had never expected to get so attached.

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  23. Wow. You are all so sweet and amazing. Thanks so much for sharing your stories and support. I am passing it all on to my sister too.

    Ms.A., I've passed your msg along. Thanks. xo

    John, thanks for your beautiful words, new friend.xo

    Cheeseboy, ahh, thanks! You are the coolest White-Half-Jewish-Teacher-Cheeseboy (with a really hot wife and adorable kids)I've ever known. xo

    Thanks for understanding, Ally. xo

    Thanks TS. I absolutely love the fact that you have a female cat named Gary Cooper. That is awesome. xo

    Mr. Stupid, you are very cool yourself and not at all stupid. Thank you! xo

    Ca88, yes, they will find a way! xo

    Pat, oh, sorry for triggering your allergies and traumas. Oops. Hugs to you! xo

    GB, your Catkins description is very sweet. I agree, the big ones are bastards. Don't want to get a hand massage from them. xo

    PTM, 8 cats and 2 dogs? WOW! You really are into pets. Thanks for the thought of the plastic flowers. Yep, they're already dead as I visualize them. xo

    Anthony, sorry the bitch is left. Thanks for your kind words, though! xo

    Beth, me too. That is, I'm also a cactus killer. It happens to the best of us. Sorry you lost your special doggy.xo

    DDG, thanks sweetie. xo

    Mike, awesome. I'll be over soon! THANKS! xo

    Sarah, yes, that's an accurate distinction between canines and felines. Thanks. xo

    Dan, your story touches me the most. Thanks for sharing. I'm sorry for you. That's very sad, and it's also hard when you didn't have the opportunity to say goodbye. xo

    BB, thanks. Sorry to depress you. Just think, the weekend provides many opporunities to change the toilet paper rolls, clean the lint filter and load the dishwasher. If only your cats could help out, huh? xo

    Kitty, thanks for sharing that story. Sorry for your loss of Jet. We get so much more attached than we expect to. xo

    Hugs to you all, and thanks again for your compassion and bloggy friendships. It means a lot to me and my sis.
    xoRobyn

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  24. That was beautiful. I don't know what I am going to do if I ever lose Admiral Fluffy. He is definately one of the best things about my life

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  25. I'm highly allergic to cats, but my Parents got one when I was a little kid. I grew to love her, but my Dad went one step further and took her as a psuedo child. When she died (old age) he grieved the most, it was so sad.
    I'm sad for your sister & you.

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  26. Thanks Cal. I love your kitty's name!xo

    Thank you, MasugaMom. That is very sad (and also very sweet). xo
    PS Thanks for dropping by!

    xoRobyn

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  27. We have two pets now.... A cat who hates me (he doesn't really, he sleeps on my chest all night), and a puppy dog who doesn't listen to anything....

    But before getting the puppy dog we got two months ago, we had a big beautiful dog (who was bad, but loved us unconditionally).... He got old and lived a full life.... But I miss him so much, and after getting the new dog, it makes me miss my old dog even more....

    My condolences to you and your sister....

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  28. I am so sorry. I have 2 kids, 2 cats, 2 dogs and 2 fish. Furry animals have a way of getting right to your heart :)

    Also thanks for your kinds words and support for my sister.

    http://bellycharms.blogspot.com

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  29. Thank YOU, Belly Charms. I'm glad we've connected. Blessings and prayers.xo

    Thanks so much, ABAO. My sister really appreciates your comments, because she's had folks tell her to just get a new cat. Were it only so easy to deal with loss that way.
    xo

    Chocolate kisses,
    Robyn

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  30. Growing up I had both a cat and a dog. I loved them both dearly. My dog was the first to be put down. I can tell you that I cried like never before! To this day, if I see a dog that looks like her I get choked up, and it's been almost 20 years. I had the same reaction to my cat too. They are unconditional with their love, and that is why it's so hard.

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  31. I so know what it's like to lose a beloved cat. :( My thoughts to go your sister for the loss of her pet....and to you, for not being able to see Nomezie.

    Time for a kitten?!!

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  32. This is the exact reason I hate having pets. I love my dog, but I hate the thought of the pain that will be left behind when he eventually *gulps* passes on.

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  33. So true, Marnie. Sorry for your losses. Thanks for your support! xo

    Mar, thank you! No, I don't do pets or plants. xo

    Jerry, yes, it's so hard. We get so attached to them. xo

    Chocolate kisses,
    Robyn

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