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RIP, and a SurpriseApril 23, 2007

I was blue today. Been fighting the blues for weeks now, and I guess I'll tell you why, even though I don't want to.

I lost Digit about six weeks ago. I think a coyote got him, and I hope that's true, because thinking of him dying by way of a car or a kid with a .22, that's no way for a fighter like Digit to go. Before anyone lectures me on the merits and morals of keeping your cats indoors, know this: That cat HAD to go outside -- he almost died when I kept him inside, he grieved so much. He came to me eleven years ago as a four-week old rambler who had to suck milk from a rag, and he was a son-of-a-bitch every minute of the day, and he loved me more than anything, and I loved him more than I ever knew was possible. Dammit. He had eleventeen lives, and he used the last one, I guess. My little polydactyl transgendered guy (crystals, you know) grumpy tough guy who still sucked on my clothes and held my hand as we slept (he always slept in front of my face as I slept on my side, one paw curled into mine). He kept the dogs in line, and Lala and my mother shared second-place in his affections.


He was the cat of my heart. and yes, before you ask (please don't), I did everything, put up the fliers, visited the shelters, kept visiting them, went through the death files (good times). My sister Christy did the nicest thing you can do for someone who's lost their beloved -- she went to some of the shelters FOR me. I knew it was hopeless, though. I've known since day one of his being gone. He's been gone for more than a week before, and I always knew he was fine. This time, I just knew he wasn't. (Once, he had been gone a day or two, and I knew he was hurt, so I went hunting for him in the hills, and after calling a long time, I heard him crying for me -- he was lying on a hillside, unable to move after a major catfight. I carried him home and he slept a day and then was fine.) I've always just known with him. Adah knew too -- since that first night when he didn't come home (a not-uncommon occurrence -- sometimes he just didn't want to sleep indoors), she's been clingy and needy. Lonely. Yeah, me too, Adah-pie.

I didn't want to write about it. Didn't want someone to ask had I had him micro-chipped, didn't want someone to think I was a bad cat mother for letting him go outside. We live above a creek, on a culdesac dead-end. In terms of cat country, this is as good as Oakland gets, safer than other places he's lived. But there I go, justifying again, and that makes me feel like a bad mom again, so I won't do that.

Lala's been great -- letting me cry, and letting me Not Talk about it, because really, I can't talk about it. Do. Not. Want. To. Talk. About. It. She told me I could get another cat whenever I wanted to, which, from a cat-allergic person, is a nice thing to say. Of course, I couldn't do that.

But today, dude. Last night we saw a coyote near our house, and I started thinking that was the way I'm going to think about Digit passing. A hell of a fight, that's what he would have wanted. And then today, still feeling horribly down, DMV pissed me off by throwing me attitude when I wanted to update my wife's registration (your what? My wife. Your WHAT? My WIFE.) I swear, I wanted to hit that lady. I left without hitting anyone and without what I came for, and only made it out to the car before I started crying. I told Lala I was near the SPCA, and she said maybe I wanted a kitten.

The SPCA was closed. As was the Oakland Shelter, the Alameda Shelter, and the Milo Foundation. So I took that as a sign and went and fondled paper products at Target. That always helps. I bought Ultra-Fine Sharpies for me, and a squirrel for Clara. Then I remembered that the Fairmont Shelter was right around the corner. And it was open.


I'm bringing those two 11-week old brothers home tomorrow. In honor of our fallen comrade. No one, nothing, can ever replace my One True Cat. But it'll be fun for these guys to try.


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I'm so sorry for your loss.

What lucky kittens to have been at the only open shelter around the day that such a great lady wandered in.

Oh, I'm super sorry Rachael. Some cats are born roamers that's for sure. I bet he gave that Coyote a run for his money.
Every pet is so unique-- there is never any "replacing," is there. But these two new guys look like they are going to be Krazy kats!

I send you a hug, and my love. I understand, and I am so sorry for your loss. Really, really sorry.

Oh, I'm so, so sorry for your loss. I'm feeling sad today too - I got the reminder card for my two cats to get their rabies shot, only one of my cats was killed by a car last fall. I still miss him terribly much, as I know you will continue to miss Digit. I told my little girl that she would always miss Max, but each day it would hurt a little bit less. In general that's true, but once in a while it comes back in a wave.
Good luck with the kittens and the rest of the menagerie - it will be exciting times chez Rachael & Lala!

Oh, Rach, I'm so sorry... Makes me want to squeeze my guys for so long that they claw me to get away. I'm sorry I never got to meet him. I remember when Wilbur was so sick with his bladder stones, and you told me what Digit went through and how he was still OK (though not as well-endowed as before). My Mom always tells me it's not the quantity, it's the quality as far as animals are concerned--they don't have the same sense of time that we do, but they sure know whether they're loved & happy. I look forward to seeing the antics of the little boys--whatever will you name them?

You are the best kind of cat mom. One who understands the needs of her kittens and lets them be who they need to be. Cats are still wild animals, I believe it. You grieve as long as you need to. I hope those boys replace some of those tears with smiles.


I'm so sorry Rachael--I'll miss hearing about his escapades. His presence on your blog will be missed. :(

Rachael, I'm so sorry about Digit. I will give my Lola (who looks a little bit like Digit) some extra love tonight.

I hope the little guys are as fun as they look!

aw, that's so heartbreaking. but the new ones always love you so much, too, so it gets easier.

Ouch. I lost a sweet boycat the same way, a few years ago, and your story makes me ache all over again. The only good part in losing my cat was the flood of concerned phone calls in response to my fliers -- people care about the loss of a pet. I hope you're getting some comfort from that, too.

I'm so sorry. Sounds like he lived a great life and was exactly who he needed to be. I bet you taught each other well.

From Digit:

"When you think of me, please remember that I was almost always
a very good cat, and that we loved each other very much."

Congratulations on your two black beauties. They're lucky kitties!

I am really sorry for your loss. Your new babies are gorgeous. I think adopting some pound kitties is a wonderful way to honor Digit.

There aren't enough "I'm so sorry"-s and "I understand"-s to make it all better. But I'm so sorry. And I understand. And I'll think of Digit whenever I see a limping coyote.

I am so sorry about Digit. We have three indoor cats but our 4th cat refuses to stay inside for long -- he will destroy things in the house until we let him outside. Anyone who has a cat like that won't pass judgement on you for letting Digit be the cat he wanted to be, on his terms. He appreciated it.

Your two boys look precious, what lucky kitties!

Digit is waiting for you on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge. You have one of those unbreakable bonds and as sad as it is to have lost him, he isn't really gone. Those two little brothers will benefit from him and praise him name for their lives.

Awww...Rachel, so sorry to hear about Digit. I totally hear where you're coming from. We had a scrappy kitty like Digit who disappeared in a similar manner. She was so friendly that we'd like to think that someone couldn't resist her and took her home. I wasn't planning to get another cat either, but love happened as I was at the shelter inquiring about our lost kitty. It's actually funny, but our new cat has the same personality as our lost kitty, so it helps remind me of all the great times we shared. Here's hoping the love of those new guys helps heal the sting of your loss.

Ohhhhh...... I want to be happy for the new kitties but GULP.....
When I pointed out it was Minou's birthday this weekend the dictator was KIND (in boldface due to the sarcasm in this sentence) enough to mention 'only 10 more years' (she is turning 4) I almost cried!!!!

I send you love and peace...
those two boys will have a great home! they are lucky that you found them!

That's so sad. But I'm sure Digit gave that coyote what-for.

I am so sorry to hear about Digit...but I totally understand about the outside cat thing. I've never had outside cats until now. When we got Max we found that he HAD to outside. And now I own an indoor/outdoor cat.

That's so great that you have adopted more though...such cute little boys!!!

May Digit rest in peace...

I am so sorry, dear Rachael.

14 years? I have a 17.5-yr-old cat who is in excellent health, aside from a little arthritis. You tell that dictator to shutupa tha face.

I'm sorry, Rachel. And scritichies to the new boys.

So sorry to hear of your loss. You don't need to justify anything to anyone. Having never owned a cat, I can only equate parenthood to my human son, and know that being the best parent means adapting to what he needs to blossom and support him in whatever way is required. It sounds like that is what you provided for Digit. And will for the new boyz as well!

I'm so sorry to hear this. May your new kitties privude oyu with comfort.

I'm so sorry, petal. I have a 'let me outside or I may kill you in your sleep except I really like the cuddles too much' cats too.

Your two new boys are damned lucky you found them though. And your wife rocks.

I gotta tell you though - I just don't get the paper product fondling thing. Yarn fondling, absolutely. Power tool browsing? Hey, I'm the girl for that as a happy place too. But paper products?

You truly shouldn't justify yourself. I'm sure you are a great kitty mom. I'm sorry for your loss. Good luck with the babies, though! They are adorable.

I'm so sorry to hear about Digit. But I am warmed by the picture of your two new babies - so lucky to have been rescued, and while it may be true or not (I like to think it is - thus why we have black cats), a shelter employee once told me that black kitties are the hardest to get adopted, for superstitious reasons, I suppose. Welcome to the black cat family!

I am so sorry to hear of your loss...I will always remember Digit through the stories and pictures that you have shared...I hope that your new boys will provide you with comfort though they cannot take his place...

so, so sorry.

Hi Rachael, I'm very sorry for your loss. You poor thing, you must have been at your wits end for quite a while. Thanks for sharing--although you didn't want to write about it, I hope that sharing with your blog friends has helped somewhat. And that so-called woman at the DMV? She doesn't deserve a second thought.

Oh honey. I am so, so, so sorry.

And yes, some cats just NEED to go out, and you weigh the risks and make the best decision you can. Oscar goes outside too. He just isn't happy otherwise. And what's the point in a safe, miserable, unfulfilling life for cat or human?

Digit died with his boots on, as he would have wanted. And probably took a serious chunk of coyote with him. I bet it was glorious.

You are a wonderful Cat Mom. The best in the world. You knew all about what Digit needed to be happy, and you had the guts to let him have it. We never have them long enough, that's for sure.

I'm so very sorry...and no, you're not a bad Cat Mom for letting your beastie outside. I can't imagine keeping ours inside; it would break their hearts. I lost my lovely Puck cat last fall, who'd been with me for 13 years and 13 days exactly, and I still miss him tons, and I wouldn't trade a minute of my time with him. The new laddies are very, very lucky to be going home with such a large-hearted human.

Oh, Sweetheart! I am so sorry that you lost the cat of your heart. He was so fabulous. You are stoic to have kept it all to yourself, (and La,) for so long. You were good to yourself, to keep it private til you felt ready to share with people.

Grief is so hard. I won't say, "I know just how you feel," because no one knows just how you feel. However, as someone who recently lost the cat of my own heart, I can empathize. Nothing will exactly fill that hole, probably ever. With time, though, some of those grief feelings will slowly shift into wonderful memories- you will see something someday that makes you think of him and smile. That part feels good. The grief part is just hard, but necessary. Sit with it for as long as you need to, and don't let anyone give you crap about that. You lost a close, dear friend...a family member. That is big. You grieve as long as you feel like it. There is no time limit on that.

I know a few months back, when I lost my Layla, a certain Rachael took me out for a smuggled beer and a chic flick matinee. She listened to me, even though I was blithering and nearly incoherent with sadness and sleep deprivation. It didn't fix everything, but it really helped. If I can return the favor, let me know.

I love you. Keep Mr. Digit in your heart, where he has always held a big place.

Let me know if I can do ANYTHING, anything at all, to ease your sadness.


And the lady at the DMV can suck my butt. Just sayin...

Oh, honey. Sending lots of love from both me and my boy and our arms are around you from afar. Snuggle those new guys and we'll send blessings to dear Digit.

Oh sweetie, I'm so sorry for your loss. My kitties are my daughters, and I can't even imagine how you must feel. Much love to you and yours.

Rachel, my heart breaks for you.
All our best wishes to you, Lala and the much loved critters from Leslie, Jim, Meechat and Annie-banana.

Ah Rachel. I'm so sorry. I lost my One True Cat five years ago and still well up thinking about her, and what if I had gone looking for her sooner, what if I had called for her instead of assuming she'd come home. what if what if what if. It sounds like Digit was lucky to have you, and you to have him. Rest well, Digit.

Warmest hugs Rachel...I'm so sorry x

I'm sorry, that's miserable.

I totally get the paper products thing though. Am trying to find a decent stationery shop near work for the occasional lunchtime need. (The yarn shop mostly stocks acrylic...)

I have 10 cats. Some would never care if they ever stepped another foot on grass. Others are just as you describe dear Digit. My rambler, Emmitt and I say bless your sweet heart.

Oh, Rach. Everything I want to say is too much for this little comment box. Digit was a fine cat. Truly one of the greats. I'm honored to have met him. And I am so unbelievably sorry, and I ache for you.

I'm sorry to hear about Digit. No one ever seeks to totally replace a loved one, but to fill in the empty space left behind. The Brothers Fuzzymazov there are lucky to have you.

I just don't know what to say. It's so difficult losing a pet and sometimes nothing can be said. My thoughts are with you and good luck with the new babies. They are adorable!

I'm so sorry for you...as a child we had a cat that was an outdoor one (all our cats were and I totally understand that decision) and he disappeared for 2 weeks. He needed special medicine and we were frantic. He did come back and we never knew what happened or where he went but he was quite beaten up. I'm not suggesting you keep hoping he'll come back because when you love an animal that much you know. I'm so glad you are rescuing those adorable brothers and look forward to hearing their names and how they will work their way into your heart. Again, I'm so sorry for your loss.

I feel for you. It's so sad. And I sure know the feelings - in this year I have lost 2 cats.
But it sounds as if he had a wonderful life.
Lot of warm thoughts from little Denmark...
Gitte B

I'm so sorry.

I know the two little ones will never, could never, be the same, but they'll likely provide bouncy distraction and lots of kittenish energy to the Hehu household.

Thinking about you today.

oh sweetie... sending hugs and love your way. i am so so sorry. i understand this feeling... lost a cat several years ago... and e still grieves for his two little ones lost many years back. it is a hole in the heart. i hope that these two new little fluffballs bring joy to your life, though they can't replace digit... xoxo

Goodbye, sweet Digit. Welcome, new kittens. (Hugs) to you, La, and the other pets on your loss.

Oh, sweetie, I'm sooooo sorry . . . I couldn't even read the other comments because I knew I'd start sobbing (and I'm at work, so, you know).

I'm very sorry about Digit - it sounds like he had a great time while he was with you.

No wonder you've been feeling blue. Hopefully you'll feel better soon, & that the new little guys will bring some smiles to your face again.

I'm so sorry for your loss.

I know exactly what you mean by the cat MUST be outside. I had one like that you see, and even my vet agreed, some animals are just like that. You did what was right for you and your pet.

So here's some validation from me to you. Don't feel bad about it. Anyone who judges you just doesn't know any better and it says more about their ignorance than your abilities as a cat mom.

I'm so sorry... it is never, ever easy to lose a pet. It's even harder to lose THE pet. Big hugs to you and the whole family. And have fun with those kitties!


I'm so, so sorry. You gave Digit the life he deserved and the life he loved, rather than the life that would have been safer for him. You are a cat hero.

Dude, I am so sorry. That really, really sucks. He had an amazing, happy life because you understood him. You were his One True Cat Mom.

Hugs to you and your whole fam, including the new schmoos.

Rachael, I am so sorry for your loss. The way you described Digit sleeping with you, up by your head, reminded me of the way my cat, Alex, who died of cancer two years ago, used to sleep...on top of my head, almost, curled right up by my face. I'll be thinking of you and Digit.

I'm so sorry!! Those two kitties look beautiful, I hope they bring you happiness like Digit did. *hugs*

Aw, Rach. A virtual hug for now and a real one soon. I'm so sorry about Digit, but it's clear the new little guys will have the mom they were meant to come home to.

I'm so sorry to hear your kitty's gone missing. I want to tell you a story, though. In October 2005, our indoor kitty escaped as we handed of candy to trick 'o treaters. We looked and posted signs and went to the shelters for weeks. Around six weeks, we gave up, too. We live in an area with plenty of coyote and large birds of prey. We adopted two new kittens.

Then, after ten weeks, this happened: http://www.strangelittlemama.com/?p=5

I don't want to give you false hope, I just want you to know that sometimes strange and surprising things occur.

Sorry to hear about the loss of your kitty. I have a wild cat that must be outside as well. In Calgary we have to lisence (sp?) cats(I'm fine with that) and they're supposed to be on a leash if they're outside. Well, I don't even like my cat much and I'm allergic to her but the kids and the pup love her. She especially likes to go out after dark. When I let her out she stops biting kids and she's rather pleasant and lets us stroke her even. Plus she plays with the dog (she's twice the size of the dog) and lets the little mutt chew her ears and nose and butt even. If I didn't let the cat go, I'm pretty sure the dog would be dead. But what I wanted to say is my cat went missing for 5 days in our first blast of 40 below this year. I was certain she had been a coyote's supper but on the 5th day she knocked on the back door. How do you spell TUNA? The kids were delighted and to tell you a little secret I might love the cat now....

Oh, Rachael.

I am so sorry about Digit. Like Lala, I'm allergic to cats, but I'll give my schnauzer a little extra love tonight in Digit's honor.

And, boy, are your two new new little ones lucky kittens, to have such a great catmom.

aww girlie. you know i'm grieving for digit too. funny, how he looked just like my napoleon. and you've adopted two little black kitties (i have 2 bigger black kitties still at home). napoleon could hold his own against a dog, but i know that digit was tougher. i hope they've found eachother and like we said before, are pointing and laughing at all of the dogs.

by the way, i think/thought i was a bad cat mom. that i should have taken him to the vet earlier, etc.

So sorry. Sending you hugs and healing vibes.

Awww, honey, I am so sad for you (and Adah). What a kittyboy! Such a special interspecies relationship is a rare thing indeed. I hope the kittens ease your grief ~ XXO

If this comment gets through (as they so rarely do) I hope you will accept my deepest condolences and, after that, my congratulations on your 2 new fine fellows. Digit would be proud. Please try to keep them inside though, OK? I've had many cats and they've all been indoors and happy.

So sorry about Digit. I've lost cats the same way.

Don't apologize for letting out your pets. They need the fresh air and grass just like we do, if not more. Digit lived a good life and that's not anything to apologize for.


I am so sorry. It's a terrible loss. You are not a bad cat mommy. You are the bestest cat mommy there ever was. I hope the new kittens bring you much joy.

Also, God bless Lala for telling you that you should go get a kitten.

I'm so sorry. I don't know what I'd do without my fluffy companion -- I have dreams about losing her. The kittens are lovely; I hope they help a bit.

Rachael, I am so sorry for your loss. We just lost our eldest (a cranky Siamese lady) a few weeks ago and it still hurts. Of course, we had to go to the shelter to see if anyone called us, and a little long-hair dilute calico girl found us. It's not the same, but it does help. Honor the past, and welcome the present. And, yar boo sucks to the DMV - idiotic bureaucrats!!

So sorry to hear about your fur person. It sounds like you helped him to have an exceptional life, even if it wasn't long enough.

Enjoy your new friends. They may surprise you and become a very special pair in their own right. Since college, I've had 6 cats, and they were all diffrent and all have had their own places in my heart.

Oh, darling lady. I am so very sorry to hear of your loss. I know that pain very well, and all of the couldawouldashouldas that might run through your brain. It sounds to me like you are a marvelous cat mom, and I hope your two new boys start raising hell the minute you bring them home. :)
I lost my Dorian after 15 years together, and I grieved for more than a year before it started to hurt just a tiny bit less. Sometimes one of the furry friends manages to become even more special than is usual. You know Digit's in Kitty Heaven someplace, talking to the other cats, "Yeah? Well you should see the coyote!"

i'm so sorry, Rachael. you certainly don't need to second guess yourself or justify anything. you gave digit the best home possible, and gave him the outdoor life he wanted. you're the best kind of kitty mom and those two kittens are very lucky.

I'm sorry -- I hope Digit is in a happy place.

So sorry for your loss. If it makes you feel better, Digit could easily be the reincarnation of my old tabby tough bitch, Yummers. Maybe that little spirit will turn up again someday and bring that kind of joy to someone else who needs it.
Beautiful little brothers.
I hope you reported that smarmy chick at the DMV to her supervisor.

as one grieving cat mom to another..

I feel ya. In a big, big way.

Oh, sweetie, I'm so sorry.

I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend Digit!

Those two new kitties are luckier than they know to have you open your heart and home to them.

oh my god. I am now teary eyed, in a public coffee shop. I'm so sorry. That photo of your Digit breaks my heart. If I ever lost my feline furball I'd be so distraught. Hugs, even though I've never met you.


I know what it's like to lose a furry member of your family. I hope those two little guys will help to heal your heart.

Oh, I'm so sorry. What you're going through is awful, but I'm glad you found room in your heart and home for those two little guys.

I'm so sorry for your loss. 2 of my cats back home were outdoor cats - I know how it is when they really want to go outside. My furbabies and I extend our deepest sympathies to you on your loss.

Perhaps the cat of your heart guided you to the shelter at just the right time to be a mommy to the twins? No one can ever replace him, but the guys can help to fill the hold in your heard.

Deepest sympathy and hugs, Kate

sorry - last sentence should read ' . . . . fill the hole in your heart.' hard to type with teary eyes.

What a life you provided for Digit, it sounds like cat paradise.

I'm sorry for your loss, thanks for sharing him with us.

I'm so sorry. Thanks for sharing some of Digit's story. He was a hall-of-famer.

I'm so sorry. I'm glad that you are giving yourself permission to do what you need to do to feel your way through this tough time. My thoughts are with you and everyone at your home.

Oh sweetie! My heart goes out to you. I know how much love you gave to Digit and I know he loved you for that. Now for the happier news, I'm SOOOO excited about the kittens! Kittens love yarn.

My heart hurts for you. Poor Digit, and poor you.

I'm so sorry. You are a wonderful kitty-mom, and the two new little guys are lucky to get you.

Dear Rachael,
"All Love is sweet. Given or returned."
-Percy Bysshe Shelley

I'm very sorry to hear your sad news. I've shed a few tears for you and Digit.

I'm so sorry to hear about Digit. It's hard to lose a friend like that.

Rachael, I am so sorry to hear about Digit. I feel like I should know what to say, but I really don't. Just sending love.

I'm so sorry Digit's gone.

Dude, I feel like I know Digit as well as I know you, so a little piece of my heart is breaking along with yours. I'm so sorry.

Aww, I'm so sorry to hear about Digit. When I was living in the Santa Cruz mountains, we lost two cats to coyotes and it just about killed me. The first was an adopted stray who also really, really needed to be outside. She would come to bed with us every night and make sure we were tucked in, then go out on the prowl. The second was only allowed to go outside when we were out too, but she just didn't come back one day when we called her. I still cry over her sometimes, and it has been years.

New kitties never replace a lost familiar, but they do help ease the emptiness. You are good to open up your home to some needy kittens. I hope they are a comfort (or at least a distraction!) to Adah too.

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