Still Missing Them

Today’s Ragtag Daily Prompt is Pet. I’ve had pets most of my life. We got our first kitten when I was in early grade school. Jose was his name, an orange tiger, one of several kittens born to a neighbor’s cat. Another from that litter was Seymour, a grey tabby who went to live around the corner with my friend Mary Jane. Albert was the basset hound who came to live with us around the same time, when his original owners moved overseas. He was a good dog and lived to a ripe old age. The photo below is from 1963, and both Jose and Albert joined the crew.

1963 smythe family
Fall 1963. Photo used for the family Christmas card.

Jose was succeeded by Travis, another orange tiger who arrived when I was in high school, and Albert’s successor was Tillie, a not so bright basset hound my mother got from the humane society. That’s the end of the line for pets in my family of origin. My first year out of college, Waldo and Susie were the black and white kittens my apartment mate and I acquired, and I had the two cats for many years, Waldo living to nearly 19. Toto, our neighbor’s cat, transferred to our house for a year or so, before he disappeared, probably a coyote meal. Then came Jules and Lucy, whose adventures you may have read about. Lucy, writing as Lucy One White, made a number of contributions to this blog during her later days.

Jules lived to nearly 19, and Lucy was 20 when she died in August. I’ve written before about how it is to be without the cats, and nearly 5 months later, not much has changed. The house remains quieter, tidier and lonelier. A few weeks ago, when BA had her adventure with vestibular neuritis, we were both grateful that attending to cats did not add to the complexity of that event. We have travel plans next month, and it is indeed a relief to need much simpler care for the house (standby snow shoveling, one water of the indoor plants) while we’re gone.

Small creatures who give so much and leave such holes in our lives when they leave. “Just a pet” is a bizarre devaluation of their significance. I found this odd pillow at Target this fall, and it moves around the house, a stand-in for the real cats, who still channel their input to us at times. Physically they may be gone, and their legacy continues. Thanks, kids.

kitten pillow

8 thoughts on “Still Missing Them

  1. It’s so hard to lose pets. They are truly members of our families. When we lost our yellow lab Angus at age 15, I couldn’t walk down the pet food aisle in the grocery store without tears. When I’m lucky, my treasured pets return to me in dreams.

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  2. Oh, they do get under our skin! George and Gracie are my tag-alongs and the Spouse has Marley the wonder cat. I hope BA is better and is weaving her little heart out!! Peace.

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  3. Lovely blog! I have had several cats also. I cannot remember all of their names, but I remember Lucifer (black cat…;-)), Dustina (she looked like an impressionist painting with several colors of fur), Rascal, Mischief, Spooky, Maui, Chloe and Mahi. We only have Wiki left, so you may come over any time to get a kitty fix. My lovely friend Laura just lost her Stuart. It is lonely without our fur babies…Love to you both and hope BA is feeling much better!!

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