Ode to Beyonce

My favorite furry friend Beyoncé has passed away. I found her upon my return home from work this past Wednesday. She was a beautiful, gentle, black and white kitty. Her sister, Sage, passed a year ago. The first month without Sage Beyoncé was lost. She bellowed into our long hallway once the lights went out for the night. It was heart wrenching. But, we also had the opportunity to watch her blossom into herself. I say that because Sage pretty much ran the show at our house. With no alpha personality to share space with, Beyoncé changed from an introvert to an extrovert. She suddenly demanded my attention. Demanded when to be fed and even became a picky eater. Expected to be pet in a certain way. She was now the princess of her domain. But, honestly, she just wanted to be loved wholeheartedly.
I loved her as she would allow. We rescued her and her sister at about 2 months old. We were later told Beyonce was the “runt” of the litter. She certainly acquiesced to her domineering sister. Beyoncé was sitting on my lap once, which was rare. I mean neither of these cats enjoyed being picked up. I don’t think they experienced much socialization those first two months. Anyway, I digress. Beyoncé and I were enjoying a moment and Sage jumped up and swatted her away. Just like that B slinked off. Just so you know, I didn’t oblige Sage and swatted her away accordingly. Its not like we weren’t a happy household. We truly were as a foursome. But there seemed to be some unwritten cat rules.
As miss B gained confidence she even went outside. A big deal considering sticking her nose out the back screen door caused anxiety. Slowly, if we kept the escape door (aka backdoor) open she might venture 1-2 feet. She had to know she could go back inside at anytime. In her own time, Beyoncé came to enjoy venturing in the backyard. She sat amongst the plants in our garden. Most recently she flopped in front of the tomato plants and I called her the tomato whisperer. Like into the summer nights she would sit below the stars only coming to my call. I had a special way of calling her name. She wouldn’t come in for my husband.
Funny enough, she started to love mornings outside. Before I had to go to work. I would let her out, but not ten minutes later she wanted in. Then wanted back out. In the span of an hour I probably let her in and out 5-6 times. It was almost a game. I willingly played along. I felt she deserved it.
In the last months of her life she stopped eating much. She was thin. People would jokingly ask if I fed her. Of course I put food out everyday, she just wasn’t all that interested. She seemed okay, though had to work a little harder to breathe. We did take her to the vet and were told she had a small tumor. I hesitate to say we aren’t ones to put a kitty through testing that would only give us a timeframe, not necessarily a solution. So we brought her back home and loved her more.
Our cats have continual flea issues and I have tried to be vigilant. In an effort to relieve Beyoncé of nefarious scratching I opted to put flea medicine on her. I don’t think her system was strong enough for the medicine. This I didn’t know. I wanted her to be free from pain. Perhaps it helped in terms of fleas, but not in terms of her strength to handle the chemicals.
I left for work on Wednesday morning full of worry. I could see she was struggling. I was hoping the medicine was coursing through her system and it was a temporary reaction. I didn’t think she wouldn’t make it through the day but felt her time in my life was dwindling. She had signs and symptoms of her sisters passing. Seeing her sprawled on the floor obviously vying for her last breath was heart breaking. I wish so much I had one more day. Or even knew I had only one more day. I would have spoiled her rotten.
I am without furry friends. Unconditional love buckets. Sometimes a reason to get out of bed. A distraction from my head. Company.  I have cried.  Waves of emotion wash over me. It’s too quiet in the house.  I cleaned her area and removed food bowls, water, litter box.  I miss her only being willing to eat if I pet her at the same time.  I mean, really, I always have 5 minutes To spare. I miss calling her name as I walk through the front door…Beeeeeyonceeeeeeeeee!
We provided Sage and Beyonce a safe loving home. I know they felt that. In return I felt their love. Rest in piece my favorite furry friends.  I will forever miss you.

Thick Skinned & Battle Ready

I want to unzip this thin skinned costume, take my skeletal self and step into a thick skinned, battle ready version of me. Historically the onset of fall brings on deep depression, psychosis and hospitalization. I can’t forget in 2014 I had the most intense manic episode followed by a suicide attempt. I spent Thanksgiving in the psych ward. I woke today with a heavy body. Tears hanging on my eyelashes before I was even awake. I don’t think I slept a wink. I agonized over everything and nothing. All. Night. Long.
In May, one of my two cats (they are sisters) died suddenly. She was my pal. My darling furry friend who often laid on top of me while I cried in bed. I could just look at her and she came a running to spring in my lap. She had a love of boxes. She would sit on top of them, crawl into them, somehow jam her pudgy body into every crook of cardboard. We always seemed to have a new box for Sage. She even liked old ones. Whenever I took out the recycling, and brought back in the “clean” empty box she would make a beeline. So, when she slinked into the dirty box half full of recyclables I knew something was wrong. I knew this was it. I couldn’t get her into the vet fast enough.
I tell this story because I am seeing signs in my other, remaining kitty. She has always been a little more aloof. You have to coax her to come to you. We named her Beyoncé because she seemed to dance around you. Things are very much on her terms. But, she has become my pal. I’m hard pressed to get her to sit on my lap, much less lay with me. She is who she is. So, I’m hyper aware of bizarre behavior now. I watch the way she walks, sits, responds, eats, drinks. I’m nervous.
Last night as I tried to sleep and heard her fussing, I had visions of Sage without breath alone in her box. Sadness filled my being. I got up and tried to comfort Beyoncé, she relaxed and settled a little. Back in my bed, I laid in darkness and listened to make sure my last furry friend was breathing. Morning came and we couldn’t find her in our 1200 sq foot house. She wasn’t coming to the sound of my voice. Finally I shook her bag of food and out from behind the washing machine she appeared. Bizarre behavior noted.
I feel paralyzed. Should I take her to the vet and hear the words I am afraid to hear? Spend money I don’t really have. Should I just anticipate, given her sister’s passing, Beyoncé may soon leave us. She is resting on my lap as I write this. I’m gently petting her, reminding her I love her. I just hope she knows she’s loved!
On the cusp of November, rain is falling hard on this Sunday morning. Its dark and dreary. As is my mood. I don’t feel battle ready. I feel fragile. Vulnerable. When I have the energy I’m going to seek my thick skinned replica.