Letting go – week eight

I want to tell you about Cleopatra. But first I need to tell you about Snoopy and just so you know I am not turning my blog into All Cats, All The Time. I just need to share this today.

I have had a cat in my life since I was around 12 years old, before that it was just noisy hamsters, escaping rabbits, biting guinea pigs, messy birds and little purse dogs that give you a headache with their yapping and always ended up moving to a farm somewhere.

Our first cat was Kitty which I tricked my parents into keeping, the second was Francois or George the dumpster cat (left) which I also tricked my parents into keeping when I moved to Norway.

So I really wanted a cat when I got settled in Norway and when I saw one that looked like George, well I was so excited that I could hardly wait until he got old enough to take home. Kittens are always rowdy but this one, Snoopy was more than that. He would hop on my face at night and bite my nose. He would sneak up on me in the kitchen and take a bite out of my calf, usually drawing blood.

We rationalized that this was just kitten behavior and would blow over. We boarded the cat with the vet while on an extended trip and when we returned the vet asked us if we wanted the cat put down. Shocked we didn’t know what to say, he told us that his staff was afraid of our cat because of its crazy behavior. We asked if  anything could be done and he gave it some sort of distemper shot and we hoped for the best.

A while later, I overheard a paperboy telling his replacement that he had to watch out for our cat because he might attack, I was horrified but even that was not the last straw. The cat had attacked everyone we knew, we were afraid of the cat, even our vet hated the cat but we just couldn’t bring ourselves to putting the cat down, it seemed too egotistical.

The last straw was when I saw my neighbor bring home a beautiful baby boy. It’s common in Norway for napping babies to be left outside bundled up in their cozy carriages and the thought of this deviant Snoopy jumping into that carriage, sent chills up my spine.

After 2 years with Snoopy we swore off cats. I froze in my tracks when I saw a cat coming along the road. At the time we lived on a little island and there were lots of cats roaming around because lots of rats mean lots of cats. It was torture for me, as a previous cat lover, now being deathly afraid of them.

One afternoon when I was down on my hands and knees digging bishop’s weed out of my beds a cat hopped on my back, kneaded my shoulders and laid down for a nap. I was terrified, stiffened up and tried not to panic. The cat just laid there and purred, after a while I continued digging out the long, invasive roots and when I moved, it just adjusted its position. After about an hour, it hopped down and disappeared. The next day, the same thing happened and this cat became a frequent visitor in our garden. She would crawl on my shoulders and drape herself around my neck. She was to say the least, friendly.

She had been visiting with us for almost two weeks and we couldn’t tell if she had a home anywhere else. She had restored our confidence in cats and weaseled her way into our hearts and we wanted to keep her. She was sitting on my shoulders when a man walked past and gave me a strange look. I thought maybe I was giving myself the reputation of the strange cat lady but when a woman returned with the man a few minutes later I understood that there was more to it. The woman marched over and asked if we were the people who had stolen her cat.

With the cat sitting on my shoulders it was hard to deny that we had something to do with the disappearance of her cat. Apparently she had ditched her litter and left this nice woman in charge of bringing up the babies. Cleopatra or Cleo was a bad mom and needed forgiveness and a quiet place to recuperate after having 3 kittens via Caesarian section.

The name Cleopatra is not overly regal for this cat. She did look down on the rest of us and trained my husband and me to be worthy caretakers of her needs.

It is not that we didn’t get anything in return, she ran to greet us with happy noises when we came home, kept us company when we would sit still long enough, and was my faithful companion acting as a wrist pad when I write.

This is why I needed to work on letting this cat go. She had been suffering from urinary tract problems for the past couple years and most recently kidney failure. She was taking a lot of different medicines and had no chance of getting better.

We have struggled with the decision to put her down for a long time because she was not in pain but that doesn’t mean she had a good quality of life towards the end.


1994 -2012

Emden 23.02.2012

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