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Digit, Actually Dead This TimeNovember 8, 2013

Digit was the worst cat ever. He arrived as a tiny little jerk. 


Even in that picture, he’s probably about to scratch me.  

He fell in love with me, though, instantly. I was mama, since he was too young to leave his own who’d abandoned him under a house in San Francisco, but he was never my “fur baby.” I didn’t call him my son. No offense to those who call their pets that—it’s lovely. It just wasn’t the way we rolled. We were bachelors together in that little mother-in-law hovel that clung to the hill in east Oakland. We both went out at night and came back tore up. I’d have careless cigarette burns in my clothing, and he’d have foxtails and other cats’ claws stuck in his. 


We bunked together. Happily. He nuzzled under my chin and shoved his paw in mine, using his claws to get closer if he needed to. He attacked visitors with creativity and enthusiasm, clawing his way up their jeans and over their shoulders to the sound of their curses. He drew blood first and often. I told visitors, “Don’t touch the cat, I mean it.” Then if they did that silly, “Oh, all cats love me, watch,” I never felt sorry for them and handed out bandages. 

My neighbors, when we moved to a tonier section of Oakland, hated my emeffing cat. They demanded recompense for Digit chasing their cat into their house and beating the hell out of her—and I was about to pay their vet bill until I saw their cat beat the hell out of Digit in my yard, so we agreed to pay our own bills.  

Digit saw me through six relationships. He didn’t care for most of the people I dated, but he loved Lala. Hated her dogs, though. Hated. He spent years thinking about ways to decapitate Harriet in her sleep, but Harriet could hold her own. He also hated me for a while, for introducing such low-bred animals into my life. He forgave all, however, when we got Clementine, a pit bull of his very own. For at least the first year that Clementine lived with us, all Digit had to do was breathe to make Clementine cower. Digit loved it. Nothing was better than punching Clementine and making her cry. It was fucking Disneyland. 


He cost me at least fifteen thousand dollars over the years, and that’s not including the five thousand the knitters raised for his care after he returned from the dead (first, he died. Then, three months later, I got schmittens. Then he came back from the dead. After that, there was a raffle that put him back together again. If you haven't read that story here or in my memoir, I'll let you have a minute). 

Fourteen years ago, I had him de-manned entirely, removing his penis because of a life-threatening disease. Last year, a vet told me soberly that, in fact, the cat I thought was male was actually female. I laughed my way out and I remain impressed with the remarkable job the first vet did. 


Because that cat was all male. He stood up to pee, his beer farts were terrible, and when he lost at poker we had to eat ramen for weeks. And he was my guy. I was his girl. We were each other's. We’ve been each other's since the very first moment. It was love at first sight for both of us, and tonight, as I held his paw as he drifted off, there was no one else in the whole world but him. 

Today's decision to let him go was the right decision. It was a terrible day, deciding. Lala called me at work this morning, and I was able to take vacation for the rest of the day.

I spent almost seven hours in bed today holding him as he slept like this.


By the time we got to the vet, he was almost all the way checked out, not even able to purr. Strangely, it was a relief to let him go.  

He was a jerk. A real, complete asshole. And he was MINE. 

My face hurts and my head aches. My eyes are almost swollen shut. I miss the hell out of that beast already and it’s gonna get worse, I bet, before it gets better. We have a lot of animals, yes. We still have three dogs and two cats left. And you know what? I like them all. I even love them.  

But I loved no one and nothing like I loved Digit. We came as a package deal, and for the first time in seventeen years, he’s not yelling at me, and I’m not yelling back.  

Lala has said for a while that his first name is Fuck Off. This is because of how many times a day one or the other of us said, “Fuck off, Digit.” Because he was a ridiculous, demanding jerk who tried to eat the food off our plates constantly. But he’s dying, I’d joke. 

Not a joke, I guess. 

Tonight, after we said our goodbyes, before the vet pushed the needle, I said, “Fuck off, Digit.” 

Lala said, “Fuck right off.” 

As we left, we saw the vet petting his body. 


Some cat. Fucking love of my life. 


Omg - am so very very sorry - I remember when digit went on walk about. For what it's worth sending love and hugs. Blessings.

Oh Rachael, I am so so sorry for your loss. I am crying for Digit too.

I'm raising a god damn glass of something eyewatering to him tonight, because damn. That was one hell of a cat.

I was doing okay until I got to the "fuck off" part. Then I lost it. Completely. #kleenex

I am so so sorry. :( Sounds like he lived the heck out of his life. He was a boss.

I'm so very sorry. I know that there isn't much anyone can say that will help with the hurt. Just know that I care, and am thinking about you and Digit.

Oh…so sorry Rachael. Much love to you.

Oh, wow, I'm soooo sorry! I know how hard that is to do. We're gonna have to do that soon also, with one of our dogs. I just haven't grown the balls to do it yet. Cherish the memories. Jerks need love, too :)

I'm so sorry, Rachael. I've told you before that I loved Digit, too, even without ever meeting him -- I love grouchy old man cats, and he seemed to be the ultimate one. I can't tell you how many times I've re-read the story of his return. And I know it's hard to let them go, even when you know it's the right thing to do. Hugs to you....

oh no. so, so sorry.

Tears fell. We lost our Bryn on Valentine's. I never dreamed I could cry so much. Be gentle together, you will need it in the days to come. Love.

Oh dear. I'm so sorry for your loss. Now missing my own old gal that I never really liked but loved like the dickens. Thank you for sharing your boy with us, every little bit of him.

I'm crying with you over here. I get it. Completely get it. And I'm so, so sorry for the loss of your fucking cat.
Hugs from afar, my friend. xo

Good night little buddy. Give my Horatio your regards.

Rachael I wish I could find any words that lessen your pain at losing Digit. By sharing Digit's escapades you made him ours too. He was loved and he knew it. I'm so sorry.

RIP, Digit. You made a big impression on this life.

My condolences to you and Lala, and hugs to help you in your time of mourning.

I've just read your blog entry and I'm bawling. So sorry to hear about Digit. I lost my two boys a few years ago - both went into kidney failure. Maybe Digit can terrorize my Tom and Jerry.

So much love to you and all those left in his wake. Thanks for sharing him with us over the years.

Love always hurts. Sweet dreams, Digit.

Oh, my goodness. I am so sorry. I'm all teared up.

Rachael, what a smart guy Digit was to pick such a loving Mama! He moved in, captured your hearts and that was it. My heart breaks for you and Lala tonight. Sending you both hugs to help ease the pain.

Hugs, hugs, and more hugs. The hardest and kindest thing in the world is to let the ones we love go. Dec 2011, we made the decision for Jack who had rectal cancer for 9 months; April 2012 we made the decision for Althea who was sick for 2 days when we discovered she had metastasized lung cancer. And now my son is facing this with his best friend of the past 11 years. I know how it feels. I do. And all I can say is let it out - and do not be surprised if you still hear/feel him for months and years to come because he will always be a part of you.
Hugs.....and oh by the way - FO!

There are no words, but there is love. All for you. He was something.

Rachael, I never thought I could love a cat thousands of miles away from me, but with your stories and pictures you brought that mo-fo cat to life for your readers. I have been dreading this day and I'm crying as I write this. He was one hell of a cat and I am so glad you shared him with us.

I have my own cranky feline - Winnie, who has been with me for 10 years (ever since she was a kitten ). She wasn't a neighborhood traveller like Digit - she's a chicken in fact - but like Digit she's a one-person cat. And like Digit, she's the type of cat you warn people about (including "cats love me" people). Sending you lots of hugs from Vancouver.

My heart aches. I remember so well when Digit came back ♡

Thanks for sharing Digit's life with all of us.

I said it over on bookface and I'll say it here, too. oh god. crying here, too. I hate this. hate it. love to you all.

I am so sorry Rachel. He sounds like he was Some Cat.

I'm so sorry for your loss. Digit was special, and a house full of animals doesn't lessen the pain of losing him. Yes, he was an ass, but he was YOUR ass (that sounds wrong, but you know what I mean). Making me miss my lost ones even more than normal now. Hugs to both of you.

I'm sure he went content in the knowledge that he is totally irreplaceable, because who would deliberately invite an asshole like that into their home? So sorry for your loss xx

My cats are wondering why I'm hugging them tightly and smothering them with tear-filled kisses - more than usual at least. So sorry Digit is gone. What a cat!

I think everyone who's ever read about Digit loves him, I know I'm sitting here crying that he's gone. I am sure I wasn't the only one with him on my mind yesterday when you were tweeting about him, those assholes get all the attention.

Thinking of you.

My heart is breaking for you. Just a week ago I was telling a co-worker about Digit's absence and return. Please know that even though many of us didn't know him, we knew him through you. Sending comforting hugs.

Ugh, I am so, so sorry for your loss. I'm amazed he held on for so long, and I'm glad you two had many years together after his resurrection.

I always think of him as your animagus husband. :) Much love to you and your family.

Awww crap. I'm so sorry. And, as the owner of an aging cat myself, I get it.

Oh I am SO sorry. When I say I know how you feel, I do. I STILL miss my Zachary Clarence Mr. Crabbypants. Hugs from freezing Northeast Ohio!!

So sorry for the loss of your grumpy old man.

I'm sorry. I understand.

Rachael, I'm so so so very sorry about Digit. I always loved how much you loved him. Digit was the best cat I never met. GC and I are both crying.

I'm sorry for you loss. I remember reading when he left and when he came back. What a cat!

Rachel I am so incredibly sorry this has happened. My thoughts are with you and Digit today.

The loss of our dearest little ones is the hardest thing we go through, especially when they have worked their way into our hearts the way Digit worked into yours. You had the gift of true love and you gave the gift of true love. To lose that love is a heart-breaker and my heart goes out to you.

This is beautiful. xo

I'm very sorry. He was lucky to spend his life with you.

I also was good til I got to "fuck off, fuck right off" and now am bawling my eyes out. I hope Digit is kicking some ass in cat heaven - I'm pretty sure he is. Hugs to you and Lala.

Hail Digit.

I'm so sorry for your loss. I've followed you for years now and Digit was one helluva cat. Peace to you and yours.

They take over your heart and it breaks when the have to go. RiP Digit.

Oh Rachel. This pain is some of the worst there is; our pets, and I think particularly cats, are such huge parts of our every day living that we cannot help seeing them around every corner, hearing their voices in our minds long after they've gone ahead of us. In our house is still a gaping Brutus-shaped hole where our own grumpy old man cat left us bereft. The other animals in the house are beloved, but I believe in every life, we are privileged to have The Special One, the Anam Cara; a soul friend. Clearly Digit was yours. All our love to you and LaLa.

Good night, Digit. Swift journey. Kick a little ass with Brutus for me, would ya?

So very, very sorry for your loss. There's nothing quite like the loss of our furry life partners...I'm remembering Digit and sending you love today.

Hail and Farewell, Digit! He was so badass, he used up two lives in one. My thoughts are with you all.

So sorry to read this ... Digit was a special, lucky guy. His was a life well lived which makes his departure so much harder and creates a void that no other cat can ever fill for you or for Lala.

O)h, Rach, I am so sorry. It will get better just not anytime soon. I love my animals almost more than I love my children, only becasue when I come home, I get the Barbara Streisand welcome form them "She's here! she's here1 She'shereshe'shereshe'shere!" and I get "Did you get milk from the humans I live with.

He's on a sunny hillside, with lots of cats and dogs to terrify until you join him. If I get there first, I'll take care of him.

Sigh, I'm crying too. I went through this earlier this year. It's amazing how much writing it all out helps.

oh Rachael! I am so sorry for your loss. I have been reading your blog since forever and I remember whe Digit vanished and came back ( eventually)
He was your cat and you were his person and you knew when it was time to say goodbye even though it hurts. We went through this with our elderly dog this time last year and it still hurts sometimes, but the "good" memories are slowly replacing the sad ones. Hugs xxx

So sorry. I know what it's liker to lose a pet. They leave a big hole in your heart and life. Take good care.😞

Dear Rachael I am sorry for your loss, sending best wishes from downunder.

Oh, darlings, I'm so sorry for your loss. I know it's a big one and he will leave a hole in your family. Big big hugs.

so so sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry.

I'm so sorry for your loss. The special ones are especially difficult to lose. Take care of yourself. Sending hugs.

I"m so, so sorry, Rachael. I know the grief is searing. It will get worse, then it will ever so slowly get better. He was an amazing cat. Take care of yourself and Lala. xoxo ~~Teri

He was a miracle pet! So sorry for your loss.

I'm so, so sorry.

I'm going to miss him, too. Hugs all around.

I gasped when I read the title of your blog. I'm so sorry, Rachael. I know you'll miss him terribly. We'll also miss hearing stories about his latest antics. May he rest in peace, and may you find comfort in remembering what a special guy he was.

Oh, Digit, I say, as my heart breaks for Rachael (and LaLa, too, but mostly for Rachael, because he was Her Cat).

Because of your amazing return, I discovered this blog, Rachael's writing, and a wonderful inspiring tale to tell when others had cats that went missing. Digit's Amazing Journey gave hope that maybe their beloved pets would find their way home, too. Never, ever, ever give up hope.

Digit, you proved that, even if the proof came in a growly, snarly, grumpy package. I'm crying for your loss. You were one of the special ones. You were so special, your human had to find you and lose you twice in one lifetime.

Rest, Digit, in "peace" as it is defined by your unique and surly self. I'm already missing the stories.

Enormous hugs to Rachael, LaLa, and those you've left behind. I have to go hug my 19-year-old granny cat and dry my eyes on the fur of my other four now.

You made me cry - me, the tough old dyke! Take your time, sweetheart, and mourn. He was an original. XXXXX

Love to you all.

I'm so sorry, babe. Peace to both of you.

OMG, Rachael! I am so, so sorry about Digit. All of us - your Blog family for many, many years - are going to miss your loving stories of that "effing Digit". I know how you feel but somehow it was magnified many times by Digit! Famous as "the cat who kept coming back" and loved by all of us as if he were our own. Hope you and Lala will be okay and explain to the other four-footeds where digit is now. Sending hugs!

Blast, now I am crying! RIP Digit!

I am so sorry. He had a great life with you.

So sorry. Love all around.

I sit here crying for a cat I don't know. And for the humans who miss him. God bless.

That was possibly the best obituary that I have ever read. You captured both his personality and your relationship so well. And it made me cry. And laugh a little. He was lucky that he had you, and you're lucky that you had each other.
I'm so sorry that you lost your friend, but so glad that you had him with you as long as you did. Take care

I'm so, so sorry for your loss. :( I'm glad he came back that time. I'm sorry he's gone for good this time.

We love them so much. And it's so hard when the end comes.


So, so sorry. I know it hurts so bad. I cried a little with you, reading this. We love them so, and it sucks ASS to say goodbye.

Thinking of you.

My sincere condolences. As I scroll through, reading these posts, I'm amazed at how many lives you have touched, Rachael. I shouldn't be. . . you are an amazing person. Thank you for sharing all your stories. . . the highs and the lows. Wishing you a quiet day . . . memories of a scrappy kitten who became your guy.

I still remember having to explain that I made a donation because I met this cat on the internet; I like to think that Digit spent that money on gambling and women instead of a ninth life. XOXOX

I remember when Digit came back - he was truly yours.

I am so sorry. I know how hard it is to lose a cat that is always there no matter how much of a pain in the ass they are. Big hugs.

I'm so sorry. {{{hugs}}}

Cannot add to the comments above, all said perfectly. Fuck off Digit, and hugs for Rachael and Lala.........

Oh, Rachael, I am so sorry to hear this. I'll give my Morgen an extra hugs (sans scratches) in Digit's honor tonight.

I'm so sorry, Rachel. You gave that asshole a great life and home.

Rachael, I can only add to the chorus and say I'm sorry, and I'm crying for a cat I never met and probably wouldn't have liked anyway.

I had a pain in the butt fat cat named Sid He was the "orson wells of cats" I saw the photo of Digit and remember my poor little guy looked so much the same before we took him to the vets to say goodbye. I still have the same hole from that amazing love of your life pain in the butt you describe from when we lost Sid. My 5 year old son had a book then called "6 is so much less than 7" about an animal lover who had many animals in his life but lost one. The story books I read him about losing a pet (there are quite a few out these dyas) were solace for me when I was supposed to be strong and not fall apart. We have now lost 3 animals in my son's lifetime (14 years) but have added 3 more and for a time fostered one to make 4. Minh says he wanted to be a vet when he was little but now he says he could never tell a child his pet was dying. Tears and love to you on this loss. I will remember Digt as immortal in your stories.

Oh, sweetie! I'm so, so sorry! I remember sobbing at work when he came back, and I cried again this time when I read that he won't be coming back again.

What a great life and love the two of you had for all these years!

Big hugs and smooches,


Sweet Rachael and Dear Digit...your stories made my cry in that sadhappy kind of way. I am reminded of my own beloved Kitty Grrrl, a cranky Siamese who chose to love me for 15 years. Many feline blessings to both of you.

I am so sorry. I have loved your Digit stories and he sounds like a fantastic, awesome cat. I'm crying as I read this, and hoping that Digit is enjoying beating the crap out of some other cats in the kitty afterlife.

I have a similar cat named Fuck Off Hershel... don"t know what I'll do when he's gone.. hope Im as eloquent as you are. And Fuck Off Digit...

Shit. Now I'm crying too. I sort of thought he'd live forever. My heart goes out to you both.

oh, no. not Digit. I've followed his story (and yours) for YEARS. I thought he'd live forever - espeically after he came BACK. My heart is with you and Lala.

Oh Rachael, so shitty. I am not a cat person AT ALL but there was something about your love of your jerk cat that was truly special. (I think this is at least the third time I have cried over your cat!). Sending virtual hugs :(

Oh honey. I'm so sorry. You know it has to happen some day but that doesn't ever make us ready.

Digit WAS special. I fell in love with him the first time you told a story about him. I had one like him too. A Siamese. Tough old bird that left a lot of scars on a lot of people. I still miss him.

I'm not going to say anything about it getting better because I still get that ache in my throat when I think of Kit. But I wouldn't change having him in my life for anything. I'm sure you feel the same about Digit.

Hugs love. Hugs and hugs and I'll snuggle with my kitty tonight and think of Digit. He of the peppery personality.

De-lurking to say I'm so, so, so very sorry.

Oh Rachael, I'm so very sorry. When they're as tough and resilient as Digit, it's hard to imagine them ever reaching that moment when you know it's time to let them go. My heart goes out to you, Lala, and the whole furry family. Will hold you all close in my heart and thoughts.

I'm so sorry! You accepted this cat despite his temperament and saw him through his illnesses. This says something about your character. Many people would have ditched a cat like this. You stuck it out. Big hugs!

I'm sorry for your loss.

Now I'm crying. At work. I'm so, so sorry. The love of your life doesn't always come in the package that everyone supposes that it will. (that actually applies to a lot of life...)

Be Well.

Some of them just take over our hearts like that, don't they? We had a Queenie (and she was!) who had the most presumptuous attitude...and I loved her beyond measure for it. Letting her go was so hard but I'd never swap it for the alternative of not having had her in my life at all.

So very sorry for your loss.

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