Celebrating Susie: A Cat’s Eulogy.
We’re so sad around here, crying still, although the time in between the tears grows each day. We are missing our cuddly, snuggly, soft, smart, kind girl. Trying to turn grief into celebration. A celebration of Susie…
Susie was born at home. I wasn’t there, but I got an email from my startled husband who was surprised that the sound he heard coming from our closet was a newborn kitten. The video of that day shows my parents and Mr. Thought enjoying the magic of the new kittens, and you can faintly hear me on the phone saying “Okay! I have to go, my math class is about to start!”
Susie’s mom was named “Mama Mia.” Her siblings were Ernie and Billy (the kid-ten). Susie was the first kitten out of the box, and we knew she had to be named for a woman change-maker, so Susie B. Cat it was!
We were just fostering Mama Mia and her babies, and when they were old enough, I would pack them in their carriers and drive them to the shelter on Saturdays. Mia and Ernie were adopted on the first weekend, but I had several weekends of driving Billy & Susie to the shelter, sobbing the whole way there. One Sunday, we got the call that we didn’t need to come to get the kittens — they had been adopted!
This was very upsetting “good news.”
Two days later, the shelter called us back. Susie and Billy had been returned.
We never knew why, but I thought it was fate: There was no way we would take these kittens back to the shelter! Of course, Mr. Thought had to agree. (Or, maybe he was just tired of all of my weekend sobbing!)
Billy and Susie were our first babies. They were snuggly, playful, social, curious, adventurous cats. Billy was white with grey spots, and Susie was black and white. When they were young they used to curl up together like a big fluffy yin yang symbol. Later as they got older, they each took a side of the couch for the naps.
I’ve met a lot of cats, and I admit to loving almost all of them. But Susie was a special one. Once we fostered some kittens during the holidays. Susie took care of them, and we called her “Aunt Susie.” When our children were little, they would chase, hold, snuggle and play with both very tolerant cats. Susie loved to play with the stick/feather toy. She could jump so high, that sometimes she’d actually do a backflip in the air!
It seemed as though Susie truly had 9 lives. Once a friend of one of the kids was over, and days later we found Susie hiding under the bed with a rubber band tied around her tail. Thankfully we caught it before any serious damage. Another friend brought Lilies over as a party gift, and when the kids at the sleepover noticed that Susie jumped off the dining room table and threw up, I took a midnight ride to the emergency vet. She scared us, and cost us over a thousand dollars… but thankfully, she came home healthy! One winter, we thought Susie was missing. My dad and I roamed the cold streets shaking cat food. 2 days later, we found Susie tangled in a blanket and stuck between our bed and the wall.
When Billy died 2 years ago, and we got a dog a couple months later, Susie just took a mature outlook on life. Every so often she’d come downstairs, or stare at the dog through the gate, but mostly she just hung out and snuggled in my daughter’s room.
In June the vet told us that Susie was a healthy cat, and not even just for being almost 16. “She’s a very healthy cat!”
Susie died at the vet last week. I wasn’t there to say goodbye. But my mom and dad were. They were close enough to drop everything and run to be by her side. I wish I could have been there, but I didn’t want her to be alone. My parents were there when she was born, and when she left. What an honor.
They said she looked up at them to say goodbye.