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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.

Digitnaps

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.

Kits

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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Comments

I'm so sorry about Digit. He seemed like a cool kitty guy. And some cats are just adventure kitties and great mothers know this and let them go on adventures even with the risks.

Take care!

I had a cat like that too, years ago. I've never gotten over him, but now I smile over all of the memories and pictures. For the record, he was an outdoor cat, too. Some cats just can't be confined to four walls, just like some people can't stay still.

Those brothers sure are cute!

i'm so sorry to hear about Digit. my heart goes out to you and Adah and the rest of the furry ones. but i'm glad that there was one shelter that was open that day-- what luck! now 2 cutie-pie kittens have a great new home. i can't wait to read about all the antics they will get into when you get them home! xoxo.

I am so sorry to hear about your kitty - it makes me sick inside when I think of being in your shoes. I believe in letting an animal follow its nature and I've had many a cat that was outdoors and can't fathom restraining their freedom to roam - you want a happy animal. Its the same reason I allow my dog to roll in mud even though it means I'll have to bathe her - she's displaying her dog-ness, just like Digit's cat-ness. ANyway I hope you feel better soon.

I am so sorry for your loss.

No judgement, just sympathy. We lost Our Dear Girl to FIPS two years ago and still aren't over it.

Those two kittens look like a couple of pounds of pure mischief. Bet Digit's spirit teaches them some good tricks.

I haven't read your blog for a long time and I am so sorry about Digit. Before Lala, before the dates with the Dr. and hair color changes there was Digit. I am a little sad now. But I will tell you, litter mates, as some would say are great. I adopted my 2 "bruders" and they will be a hoot !
Love and Blessings

Your new little ones look like a fabulous handful. I will give Horatio (El Panterito Negro Superior) a fierce cuddle tonight in honor of your fallen friend.

I'm so sorry about Digit. With four fur-babies of my own, my heart fell when I read your post and my eyes are teary. I'm so glad you adopted the 2 little boy kitties.

Rachael, I'm so sorry. I hope that your and your family are doing okay. Losing kitties is one of the hardest things to deal with. I lost mine 4 years ago, and am still heartbroken. Your new little ones are incredibly cute! I'm sure that they will bring even more love and happiness into your already wonderful home. Take care.

I'm so sorry. I lived in LA about 25 years ago (up to 1st grade). Shadow, the cat across the street, was killed by a coyote too. To this day, I still think of that neighbor (who must have had her own name! but I was a little kid) as Shadow's mom.

I'm so sorry. I still miss my Big Silly so much, and he died a year ago on the 20th, but the somewhat good news is that the pain eventually fades. I don't have the grieving in my heart anymore, although I still cry if I let myself dwell on what-ifs, and what-we'll-miss. So I try not to.

The DMV will break anyone, I think it's designed to. I had the worst day I've had since the first week or so of my mom being gone a couple weeks ago when I tried to transfer the title of her car and apparently people who have gone to law school and passed the CA bar don't know shit compared to the "lady" I dealt with and I couldn't get it done. And it was the last straw in a very bad day filled with crappy straws. I had myself one of those awful hopeless cries in the car, where you just want to get rid of all that raw emotion but you just can't see an end, no way out of the acid grief.
Maybe we could start an Ugly Criers in the DMV Parking Lot Club.
Anyway, I'm afraid to go back, I'm afraid the tiniest little snag, and I'll have a Ugly Cry at the Counter.

Anyway, WTF is up with the "your what?" Hello, Bay Area, it can't be uncommon to hear.

Good luck with the brothers.

so sorry

Aww, I'm very sorry too. You're right-- one cat never replaces another. But your new guys have found a great home with you.

So sorry to hear about Digit. Some cats are just outside creatures.

The new kittens look so adorable and maybe a little rotten, my favorite kind of cat.

So, SO sorry for Digit's passing. :-( But hooray for new kittens! I got my pair at the local shelter - I only wanted one cat, but they were having a "2 for 1" special, and I'm so glad I did.

Whenever I get the chance, I recommend that people adopt a pair of littermates. It's definitely the way to go.

Oh sweetheart - I have done the rounds at the animal shelters and read the 'death files' too. I understand the not wanting to talk about it. I will always miss Charlie and whenever I see a cat that looks like him, I pause and smile and give him a chin rub because that's what Charlie liked best. It's been seven years and I still miss that damn cat!

Have fun with the new boys!! :)K

I am so, so sorry to hear about Digit, and wish you much joy in the two new furballs.

so sorry to hear of your loss. We've lost our two older cats within the past year, so I know how tough it can be. We have adopted two new cats in the meantime as well, both black kitties and both totally crazy! But I know that nothing will replace the spot that Digit has in your heart. (((HUGS)))

Oh, honey, I am so, so sorry about Digit. We lost our Shiva about three months ago (he was sick, but we think some bad cat food was the coup de gras), and I still can't stop second-guessing myself. I know it hurts. Enjoy your new babies.

I hope the new babies are bringing smiles and laughter to you. They'll never replace Digit, but they'll find their own little corner of your heart to nestle into.

I am so sorry to hear about Digit. He went out the way he wanted to. But I hope you decide to keep the new kitties inside or at least fix the back yard so that they can't get out.

(((Hugs))) *sniff*

I'm so sorry about Digit. :( He sounded like an excellent cat, and so handsome, too!

And those brothers are very lucky to be getting such a loving owner as you, and staying together.

I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. Of course you are the best Cat Mom. I too had a roamer, Kiwi, when I was in HS. He had to go out. My mother, who didn't want him, refused to let me take him when I moved west. She called me one day to say she hadn't seen him for a few days but found him half paralyzed in the woods behind our house. She rushed him to the vet where they discovered he had really bad blood clots and she had to give him blood thinner everyday. With this he could walk again but we knew it would be the begining of the end. The medicine only helped for so long, a few years later she heard a little meow in the middle of the night and got up to check on him. He'd passed away walking through the living room.

Currently I'm second guessing all of my decisions for my 16 year old, Critter. We each do the best we can and give them all the love we have. Good luck with your new loves.

Sorry to hear about digit, when you lose a much loved pet, it can be devastating. When i lost my Choccie Lab, the pain was unbearable, and i vowed never again. But six months on i felt ready, and i ended up rescuing 2 Labradors. That was 4 years ago, and i love them to bits, my boys. They will never replace, but they help to heal, and to give 2 unwanted animals a loving home, has to be a good thing, and they are adorable. Nikki xx

Rachael,
I am so sorry about Digit; I lost the Dog of My Heart 4 years ago in the same way. I thought I locked our gate, but when I got home the gate was wide open, and she was gone, forever. Two months of daily shelter visits and flyers (that our damn homeowners association kept taking down!!)and I still look at every 8-pound white dog I see. I miss her.

You are the best cat momma, and everyone here knows how much you loved Digit. We do what we can to make our little one's happy. No one can fault you for that. Be good to yourself, sweetie.

Oh, hah! A happy ending to a sad, sad story. Makes me miss the cat of my heart all over again.

New kitties and lots of comments. That's got to make at least a partial dent in your healing process. Sorry to hear the sad news, happy to hear the good news. Hugs to you.

Sorry about digit.

I hope you've been treating yourself to bubblebaths and favorite magazines and whatever little things help, even just a little.

Welcome to the new cat kids on the block!

This big hug, is dedicated to you!
::HUG!!!::

I'm so sorry about Digit. I love that little fellow. I hope he's doing well wherever he is.

Oh honey, let me add my condolences to everyone elses.

I understand completely about cats who must go outside. We had one like that, Chmeee (I named the children, my ex named the pets) He used to wait for the kids to go in or out so he could dash outside, until we moved to the country where it was relatively safe. He HATED being an indoor only cat, and turned into one of the best rodent hunters we ever had. We finally lost him at the ripe old age of 17 1/2, and he just walked out the door one day, said goodbye to the dogs, and disappeared. It was how he wanted to go. He had been house-bound for 2 weeks before that day. It's been almost 2 years, and I still tear up when I think about him. He looked a lot like Digit.

Digit knew you loved him, and that you were his person. Lucky new kitties that get to come share your lives. You've done Digit proud by sharing yourself again!!

Some cats won't stay in no matter how much you want them to. I lost The Best Cat Ever that way, long years ago.

Sympathy and hugs...

I'm just so sorry for you Rachael. There's no need to justify, no need to worry about us thinking you're a bad kitty mommy. We know you love your animals, it's obvious in every mention you've ever made of them.

I'm glad you'll give those little boys a chance - they probably need it as much as you do, and they COULDN'T ask for a better kitty mommy.

And Lala gets big points (as usual) for being one terrific wife.

xo,
Elisa

Oh cupcake, I am so sorry. Love on the two new little ones for sure, but I am just so damn sorry.

I'm so so so sorry about Digit.

Blessings on your family and the new additions. They are lucky boys.

Shit, you made me cry! I'm so sorry to hear about Digit, but happy to see the new additions.

Hello, dear sweet Rachael who was, is and always will be a most wonderful kitty mama,
This is Gaynelle here, holding you and Digit and new little felines tenderly in my thoughts and prayers. You are probably right about the knowing...but still, wouldn't it be wonderful if somehow you became a four-cat mama, and Lala (hello to her!) became suddenly unallergic to cats.... My heart hurts with yours. But remember, you are a top cat mama, and you know Digit would meow so, too!

So, so sorry for your loss - every cat mama's nightmare. My two are sleeping in my lap as I type (one-handed while holding the laptop in the other so they can both fit on the lap) and I dread, dread, dread the day we'll part company.

Hugs to you from far away.

I am so, so sorry, Rachael. I send you many hugs...

Rachael,
I am so so so sorry. No lectures here, promise. We can't change anyone's basic nature, cat or human. You will always miss Digit, but your new little ones will help.

Hugs!
Alissa

Dudette, I see you are getting a lot of sympathy, but I was reading your entry this morning and just started crying for you. Had to let you know. Such sweet stories. I am sorry for the big, achey hole in your heart. I know the two brothers will at least make you laugh, because that's what kittens do.

The woman at the DMV can go F herself. I'm not usually so crass, but stuff like that just pisses me off.

And my cat, too, goes bonkers if I don't let him outside... he's 13 years old and we live in coyote territory in the middle of nowhere. I even saw a bobcat once last summer. I wouldn't have doors left if I didn't let him outside. They'd all be scratched to pieces.

Okay... I'm done. Hug yourself and feel the joy in laughing at the new kittens.

Suzanne in Ohio

It's so obvious that you're a fab cat-mom...you let your cat be free and happy instead of confining him when he hated it...the nicest thing you could do. I'm so, so sorry for your loss, he sounded like the awesomest.

Wow. You have so many comments on this that you probably don't need any more. I'm glad that so many cat people understand that some of them Must Go Out. I had a cat like that. She was amazing, she took down rabbits to feed her tiny kittens, who all grew up growling viciously at their food as they ate. And then eventually a coyote got her. It always felt okay to me too because it was the life she loved to live.

Anyway, I'm really sorry for your loss because your love for Digit really came shining through. I loved the comment that he died with his boots on. I hope that is some comfort, because we all have to die, and you made sure that he had the life he wanted.

Your post made me cry. I'm so sorry for your loss.

Your new kitties are beautiful - and lucky, too.

Oh, I am so sorry for your loss. I bet Digit gave that coyote serious indigestion.
I am about to head into the dungeon of bureaucracy known as the DMV myself, and I can't think of a better way to bring my blood pressure back down than two wonderful cats.

Oh R. I'm so sorry sweetie.
XOXO

Rachael,
No one with your sweet heart should have to go through this but we all do at some time, I guess. Peace to you and yours and just know that Digit is fine and will be waiting for you someday. And congrats on your new kitties!

Ooh, jeez, poor you, poor Ada, poor Digit. He's one of my favorite Web Kitties to visit, and I always loved hearing your stories about him.

And I can't wait to hear about your new boys either. Keep it up, you always have and always will have a lot of love to give.

I'm sorry about Digit. I liked reading about him on your blog. The new kitties are adorable. (I like to fondle post-it flags at Target and office supply stores.)

I'm so sorry. I can't say much, because I keep getting all weepy, but I'll be thinking of you. Your new little boys look an awful lot like my boy... you could be in for a whole world of crazy! Take care.

I'm so sorry about Digit. Lots of hugs and congratulations on the new kittens.

Thank you for the beautiful tribute to Digit. And for acknowledging that regardless of the most well meaning of cat guardian intentions, some cats MUST have access to outdoors. I spent $1000 replacing scratched through window screens learning that lesson 10 years ago. Better that I had dontated that money to the local kitty shelter.
Again, thank you for a lovely tribute to your One True Cat, Digit.

Oh Rachael I am so sorry about Digit. It sounds as if he had the perfect cat life. And getting 2 new kitties is the best thing to do. They won't replace Digit but they will bring a lot of joy, laughs and unravelled yarn to your life!

Honey, I know there is nothing I can say to make you feel better. Just love those two little babies as much as you can. Gotta go cry and hug my Sunshine now.

Oh, I'm so sorry to hear about Digit. Eleven action packed years, but still not enough...it's always the way.

The new boys are beautiful and are so lucky to find a loving home with their two mommies.

I'll buy you a memorial drink when next we meet. What is a good Digit drink? Pomegranite martini? Scotch neat? I know, boilermaker! Scrappy drink, that.

oh, god. I lost it when I read "I lost Digit".

Rach, I'm so sorry. He was a great cat. I feel like I know him through your blog, and I'm heartbroken for you.

The boys will be coming to the best cat mom ever.

So sorry about your cat. I had a had-to-be-outside cat, too. He'd go nuts when I'd keep him inside for just 3 days (e.g., after a move). Absolutely freakin nuts. I love the image of yours going down fighting. Mine was a fighter, too. Picked fights with the Labrador almost in his last year (was almost 19 when he died). Take care.

omg. they are adorable. rip digit! and hugs to you.

I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. Nobody can replace Digit but I bet those 2 new guys will be fabulous company and will fill up big spaces in your heart fast.

Sorry to read of your loss. Can't wait to read of the trouble the boys will get into!

You know what? There is no need to justify your feelings, or the circumstances behind his death. Because in the end, all that matters is that your beloved cat is gone. I am so sorry for yur loss.

so sorry, lady. if anything, you were a great mom and let him live the life he was happiest with.

i hope you find fun and happiness with the two new guys. they're a lucky bunch to have you adopt them.

Clearly, Rachel H doesn't sniff paper. In my experience, booksniffing totally leads to paper product fondling.

Ah, Digit. A whole lotta love to you, sweetie. I ache for you on this one. But the boys look like they're going to be a hell of a lot of fun. I don't blame you at all for not wanting to talk about it, though.

Lala totally rocks.

I'll add my voice to the long list of condolences. I had a scrappy guy like that, who adopted US when we already had two cats. He then proceeded to take over our household and cost us a lot of money when we didn't have any. Long story short, when he succumbed to feline asthma (Who knew? Shitty, shitty way to die), we buried him with a can of tuna and a shot of tequila. 'Cause that's the way he would have wanted it.
Aw, now you've got me crying.
xo.

I guess this is just the price we pay for loving something. Unfortunately, our pets don't live as long as we do. The pain of losing them is not as great as the joy of having them with us for a while. I had a wonderful black Katey Kat for 15 years and still miss her. Hugs to all of you.

I didn't read all the comments above mine, but I suspect I'm echoing what others have said. It hurts so, so much to lose a feline friend of such long standing. The li'l buggers just worm their way into our hearts when we aren't watching. I'm a total believer that some cats HAVE to go outside and it's a rare one that can be content (and sane) as a 100% indoors cat. (I happen to have one of the latter. As the weather gets warmer he thinks he should go outside just like his brother and our two dogs, but since -- I kid you not -- he gets lost 6" from the door, we tell him, "You suck at outside" and keep him in.)

Hugs for you and snorkles for your 2 new buddies and hats off! to Lala for how much she loves you (to allow 2 allergy-producing kitties into the household).

I'm sorry to hear about Digit, but I just want to tell you that you sound like you were the IDEAL mother for him. You respected him for who he was as an individual cat, and you accommodated his unique needs. You were both lucky to find each other in this great big world full of people and cats. I'm so sorry it couldn't have lasted forever.

I'm so sorry Rachael. You shouldn't feel guilty about letting the cat out. I've had many cats over the years and most of the ones that had a taste of the outdoors just refuse to be indoor cats. I once made the mistake of letting one of our indoors cats outside when there was a foot of snow on the ground. Here I was being evil thinking it would be funny as hell but afterwards he begged to go back out for years afterwards. Whoops

So sorry to hear about your kitty. As a fellow allergy sufferer, Lala is so awesome to support your cat love like that. I would love to have cats, but my allergies prevent it. I do have two Border Collies, though...I think your two new cats are ultra lucky to have found you and Lala!!!

Rach, add my sorries to all of the ones before. I know what it's like to lose a Cat of Your Heart. You'll never replace him, but you will miss him less someday. And it looks like you'll have your hands full with those two!

This is way late.. but I am so sorry for your loss.

I have known cats who would have lived a life of utter misery had they been kept indoors. They could have dined on steak every day, slept on a heating pad, and been attended by someone hired to do nothing but pet them, yet they would have died from the sheer misery of being housebound. Anyone who truly knows and loves cats knows that is true. Your little guy had the life he would have chosen for himself. You loved him enough to let him have that, knowing full well that you might lose him. I think he was one very lucky cat.

Warm hugs from one who does get it.

I'm so sorry Rachael. Big hugs from me and Craig.

I haven't read your blog for awhile. Gawd DAMN I am sorry about Digit. My Sammie was killed a few years back by a dog, and I thought I would just grieve forever. Two weeks later, I went to PetCo (where the pets go) and there was a cute Tabby kitten. I told the lady I wanted him and she said "you know there are two in there."

sure enough one kitten was sitting right on top of his brother. I was hooked.
That was four years ago. Now they raise hell everywhere!

Dude, I'm sorry to hear about Digit. Those kittens just totally lucked out getting you and Lala for their new family.

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