Posted by: bourbonmama | 03/03/2009

WBW #10: My Other Children

Today we are going to cover one of the reasons I am going to end up that crazy old lady at the end of the street that all the neighborhood kids are scared of. It’s right up there with the fact that I do not do outdoor maintenance, and like to have conversations with myself. It’s my love of cats.
Since being 17, I have owned 7 cats. Seven cats in 11 years (oh my god, that was over a decade ago?). Not all at once. The first two, Ebony and Anastasia, I only had few months. They were cute, but I never got to know them. Then came Riley, abandoned by his mother behind the dumpster at the restaurant I was working at. He stayed in a cardboard box next to the office during my shift. He was an awesome cat, great personality. He ran away about a year later, right after I moved in with my brother. The next week, I saw this dirty hippie guy (I’m not being insulting, I love dirty hippies), with a litter of bobtails outside the grocery store. I chose the black one with green eyes. Emerald Green, Emmy for short (I told you I was crazy). She feel in love with my brother’s cat, and he persuaded me to let him keep her when I moved a few months later. See, this was all just some insane journey to get to her, the one. The one that I wouldn’t have gotten had I still had any of those othercats. The one I never would have known.
I passed a sign on the side of the road one day: “FREE KITTENS! ALREADY SPAYED AND NEUTERED!” I met her the next day. A fluffy black and white furball. The woman told me how her husband had rescued the litter from the flood waters earlier that month. How she’d made him go back for Josie after he’d gotten all the others. She wanted to keep her, but the husband wouldn’t allow it. Josie curled up in my lap on that sun porch and started to purr. I just knew that this cat was something special.
She grew up, but never lost that soft, fluffy, kitten fur. She would curl up under the covers with us in the winter. She played fetch with a thing (like thing 1 and thing 2) on an elastic string. She would go outside on a leash (again, I am crazy). Philip convinced me that it was wrong to put a cat on a leash, so I stopped. She always came back. Once or twice, she stayed out all night, but she was always home by morning. Until, the last time, she stayed gone for almost a full 48 hours. When she finally came back, she went under the coffee table and went to sleep. I went to work, thought nothing of it. A couple of days later, we noticed that she wasn’t moving from that spot. In a panic, I call my vet, he’s out of town, but the visiting vet would see me. We took her in and they kept her all day, ran a bunch of tests. Thank God I had the day off. When I picked her up, they said that she was severely dehydrated and constipated. They hydrated her and decompacted her, she’ll feel better in the morning. I looked in her eyes, I could see the pain she was in. She was only three. Philip and I took her home.
The next morning, she was not fine, we called and took her back in. The vet hadn’t even made it there yet, something about having to go to her own office or whatever. I was so pissed off at my regular vet for going on vacation. The vet tech said she was on her way, and he would take Josie back to lay on the heating pad. We petted and kissed her good-bye. I started crying. We had to go, we had to leave her there. I told them to treat her as if she were their own. Whatever she needed, give it to her. I was worried. That kind of worry that makes you sick to your stomach. That kind of worry that eats you up inside.
Throughout the day, I was on the phone with the vet. She couldn’t figure it out. Test after test was coming back negative. She was going to have someone come in and do an ultrasound. I went back to work. I had just gotten my second table of the night when our bartender told me that some guy wanted to talk to me. It was Philip. This is where everything turned slow-mo. As soon as my eyes met his, I knew. My heart dropped into my gut. My legs started to shake. “Josie’s dead, Baby.”
“You’re joking,” tears began welling up in my eyes (oh my god, I can’t cry right here in the middle of the bar!), “Tell me you’re joking.”
“I’m not joking, why would I be joking?” I run for the nearest door to the kitchen with tears streaming down my face. Random Girl tries to comfort me, then so does the dishwasher (eww). Someone runs by, “You got sat again, Caroline.”
“Don’t worry,” says Random Girl, “I’ll go greet them and tell the hostess to stop seating you,” and she hurries off. I try to dry my eyes. I can’t, the tears will not stop. Within ten minutes, my section is taken over and I am cashed out and sitting in Philip’s Thunderbird. The tears have finally stopped, and now a numbness is setting in.
That was July 29, 2006. I was going to wait until then to write this post, but she’s been on my mind a lot lately. You know when yo meet someone who you just know is going t change your life? Some people think it’s weird, but Josie was that someone for me. She was only on this earth for three short years, I think that’s what makes it so hard for me, she deserved a long and happy life basking in the afternoon sunlight through the window and rolling around in the grass.
I miss you, sweet Josie. I will never know another soul like you.


  1. I want to tell you I understand. Cats have unique personalities that touch us in ways others often cannot understand. I recently went to a shelter to look for “a” cat to come live with me…and by “a”…I mean 1. I have almost always had orange cats or brown tabbies. I love all cats and would care for them regardless, but I have never found black cats to be my favorites in terms of looks. As soon as I walked in there I saw two black cats in a cage together, and I knew they were going home with me. I looked around at all the others who were much more “right” for what I had gone in there thinking I was going to go out with, but it was useless to try to deny to myself those two black ones were mine. So, I understand you just can’t escape how cats speak to you; and, that is why it is so difficult when you lose that. I am still saddened by the loss of my first cat, and I keep a picture of her on my desk and at home always. She helped me grow up as much as the humans around me.

    By the way, I love your blog and follow it religiously. It makes me love it even more to know we share a love of cats.

    Sorry this comment is so long!!

  2. Ethell, thank you. I have to say, it made me smile to know that you follow my blog “religiously.” I guess I just didn’t realize anyone was paying that much attention. Thanks for giving my ego a boost!

  3. Well…I have to say I have a “problem” with using words like that!…umm, they just kinda come out. How about..I look at it every day and get all excited if you’ve posted. Does that sound better? I wouldn’t want you to think you’re like my “god” or somethin… :-D just kidding!!

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