My Beautiful Boy

nathan_10-15-16

Nathan
Apr. 2003-Oct. 23, 2016

[Photo taken in happier times, AKA one week ago.]

His death was sudden and shocking: both very quick and—in the bleak final hours—excruciatingly slow, brutal, and painful. I went from praying that he would live long enough to make it to the euthanasia appointment the vet and I had scheduled for 10:30 this morning (in case the last-ditch home remedies didn’t work overnight) to pleading with the universe to please let just him go.

At 3:12 this morning, convulsing on the bathroom floor where he always loved to laze, his head cupped in my hands, my baby went.


Oh my dearest, darling Nath.

You stupid, dumbass, beloved little shit, who never found a bit of plastic or lint on the floor (or even random flicker of shadow either, let’s be honest!) that you didn’t feel compelled to eat: I have no idea what you found to scarf up over the last few days that turned your tummy into a graveyard, but I am truly sorry I could not save you from yourself. You got into so many mishaps over the years because you found the whole of your world too fascinating to worry over every little detail, like “is this actually edible?” or “will this set me on fire?”

I’m still relieved, for instance, that you never accomplished worse than a light singeing in those early years with the glasstop stove. Remember? You’d watch the coffee-making process so intently that you kept forgetting the basic equation of ‘Cat Tail + Red-Hot Burner = Scorched Nathan.’ Only when your poppa or I began to sniff the air intently—”do you smell something burning??”—would you begin to sniff with us, your comical little face scrunched up in agreement. “Hey, you’re right! Something DOES smell like it’s burning!”

I don’t think you ever realized the burning thing was you. Which let you be highly fascinated all over again, a minute or two later, when you found the strangely melted spot on the tip of your tail and happily set about licking it to rights.

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Thank you, beloved boy, for 12 years of a friendship that was as often challenging as it was loving.

Thank you for learning to trust me, after all those rough months fending for yourself as a kitten on the mean streets of West Philly in winter after your first family abandoned you, leaving you perennially hungry for affection…and afraid of humans who offered it. (Except children. You adored children, and they adored you.)

Thank you for forgiving me when your beloved poppa, the one who picked you out at the shelter and brought you into our home all those years ago (where he played your favorite roughhouse games and taught you things like how getting brushed was much more fun when you stopped biting and just let it happen), decided that not only did he not want me any longer—he didn’t want to be your person anymore either.

I hope you know I always wanted you.

And thank you for these past ten months since Hildi passed, when for the first time ever it was just you and me, learning new ways to be with one another. I feel like I finally figured out how to love you so you got it…and you finally figured out how to trust me enough to let my love in.

I learned more from loving you than I can put into words. I am so grateful to have been your person.

Thank you, precious beloved, for having been my cat.

Love forever,
mom

7-15-nathan-on-lap
July 2015: the first time Nathan got into my lap of his own volition.

 

43 thoughts on “My Beautiful Boy

  1. Reading through some of your old posts that I missed while I neglected blogging for awhile and found this beautiful tribute. I’m so sorry for your loss! He sounds a lot like my dog that passed away in November. She was slow to love us and ate every food and food-look-alike she could find (seriously, I had no idea my floor would be so dirty after she died! Lol). But she was everything.

    Do you have other pets? Or are you going to get another? We’re pet-less right now because our lives are pretty unstable at the moment (Craig is looking for a job after quitting a terrible one), but I very much miss the companionship.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Trynia, I appreciate that! Nathan was the second cat I lost last year; Hildi, who had been with me for more than two decades, passed away in February. I am staying pet-less for the moment too, in part for similar stability reasons (all my empathy and best wishes to Craig!) and also because, well…my heart is still broken and needs time to heal.

      When I’m ready, tho! Thinking sibling kittens will be on the agenda… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Alice, I’m reaching out to check on you – not as a busybody (which my fosters would say I am), but as a person who cares that you don’t hide away for too long; that you come out into the sun a little, and do the things that affirm you and your life.

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  3. Oh Alice! My heart is breaking for you. Our kitties are so dear to us and when we lose one, it’s unbearable. There is nothing, NOTHING! worse than the passing of a furry companion.
    You have my deepest sympathy.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. My tears are with you, as is my heartbreak; I’m sure he’d like you to remember him and all he taught you in the skills of learning to love and earning the trust of one once battered almost beyond hope (him when he first came) – and to carry that on to the next heart that cries out for even the tiniest bit of hope for love and affection and trust and sharing.
    There is no more pure love than the love of a creature for the human who warmly and fully shares his world.
    Remember the good things, laugh at the naughty things (I hope you taught him some of them) and dream the dreams where you still smell his laughter and joy as he attacks those sneaky toes under the doona. And the smoky aroma of tail . . .
    Still, the tears come, as they should . . .

    Liked by 2 people

  5. That was so very lovely. I love my critters so much…they are my family & best friends. It is absolutely heartbreaking to lose them. Condolences for your loss.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Kate. Was thinking about your Jake ❤ today — and how certain losses hit especially hard. (His end was, unfortunately, very very hard. Lots of pain. I am trying not to remember it much just yet.)

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Dear Alice, my heart is breaking. I couldn’t even finish reading the post after you described the end. I am so very sorry for you and for beautiful Nathan. He was loved beyond measure and I grieve deeply for you and this loss. I am holding you in my heart with love…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh Deb, I know. I’m sorry for putting that horrific image in everyone’s mind right off the bat, but I didn’t know any other way to get myself past it so I could talk about my beauty baby in life.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Nothing to be sorry for. It was important to say the words, because I know how much you loved Nathan and just how hard you’ve been trying to keep him well and happy. I knew, obviously, at the dates that he was gone, and it was my choice to read. It was horrid, and I’m sorry you two were alone for that, but it was really the tears, and the fact that I was sobbing so hard that I couldn’t see, and I feel that stinging coming on again so…just know that you are loved and that I know Nathan knew he was loved beyond any doubt.

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