Looking in my date book this morning I noted that this is a very important day.

One shouldn’t need to be reminded of these events, but with 11 cats, half of which came to me as a temporary arrangement, before going to new homes…it gets a bit out of hand.

Lily would have been adopted, I am certain, had I not fallen in love with her. So I am not sure whether today is the day she came as a foster, or the day I brought her upstairs to join my family.

The days were fairly close together, in any case.

The lady that brought Lily to me was heartbroken at having to give her up. A relative living in a nursing home had been happily feeding this stray little waif but the rules said NO, the cat must go.

The rules can be so unkind, but nursing homes are governed by state law. I once come up against them myself, so I was particularly sympathetic.

Lily was barely a year old and she was a cat no one could have taken offense to.

She was playful and funny and sweet. Exactly what the nursing home resident needed, in fact.

It made Lily all the more special to me. I promised to do everything I could to care for this cat that was so beloved by other people. The easiest of promises.

Lily has always been referred to as “tortie” or tortoiseshell, but I consider her to be a tabby-mix, maybe part calico.

My Annie was a tortie. Different altogether,

Annie was adopted from a shelter. She was to be a companion for young Panther who needed a playmate.

Yeti was elderly and not up to coping with the boisterous boy I had taken in. I thought long and hard about it, but one day driving by the shelter, my wheels turned in. I would just look.

Annie was not in fact the cat my eyes had gone to. But she is the one that was brought to sit in my lap. And she was clearly needy. So it was meant.

Unfortunately, Annie did not like other cats. I considered returning her, but I could give her the care she needed. Taking her back to the shelter was no guarantee of anything at all and I would not have been able to live with that.

Compromises were made. We worked it out, but sadly Annie was not with me very long.

It was actually Annie’s passing that opened up a place for Lily. Not that I was concerned with the headcount, exactly. I just could not have subjected Annie to accepting yet another…(oh yes)

Annie had been downright hostile to Panther, so he had still needed a playmate and “fate” provided one in the form of a homeless, tail-less kitten, Cisco.

And Grisabel.

Panther was smitten with Grisabel, but he and Cisco were best buddies.

Looking back, I ask myself, “Were you mad?”

That was a very difficult time for me, the more so because Yeti was old and ailing and I didn’t know how I would cope with her loss.

Annie never suffered in my care but she should have been an only cat. The moment she was placed in my lap she had begun to purr, drooling copiously all over me.

It will seem ridiculous, but it was as if she thought I was her person that had come to take her back.

The other cats, Panther, Cisco and Grisabel played together and didn’t bother Annie. Yeti was the ancient matriarch. I gave Annie as much love as I could and I was very sad when she died not long after Yeti.

After losing Yeti, I was a mess. There is nothing that hurts me worse than losing a pet. If it makes me deficient in some way, so be it. We are what we are.

Some months later, my very caring colleagues gave me a tiny Himalayan kitten that I named Thimphu, after the capital of Bhutan. He deserved a special name.

Thimphu was beloved by everyone, even my old father who didn’t like animals. But Tim was with me only 8 such short years.

When I took this picture of him with Lily, I had no idea that the very next day he would be gone.

It was very hard to take.

Lily is the cat that is my last link to all those others, so she is important to me in that way, but I love her just because she is Lily.

Like all the others, she has a special place in my heart.

Someone told me once I had a heart like a cupboard.

Maybe he was right after all.

13 thoughts on “Anniversaries

  1. Thank you, Carolyn, for the lovely memories of time past, and by the way, judging by the photo, you are almost
    as pretty as the cat you are holding.


  2. Happy … umm, can I say ‘homecoming’? Yes I think so: Happy homecoming anniversary Lily 🐾! That’s true, there was a place for each of my beloved pets in my heart (which, every time, broke into pieces when it was time for them to go). Cherish your time with Lily (and of course all the other ones as well), you are their safe and loving place.

  3. I love the little snippets of information about each one of your “lovelies”. If you don’t mind me saying so, Lily is number one with me but one doesn’t have a favorite child, of course.

  4. Having pets is a joy, losing them is a lifetime of heartbreak. Yet we continue to give them homes, as doing so makes us complete in so many ways.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  5. (There are special cats out there, including a cat named Oscar who’d lay next to palliative-care patients hours before they’d pass away. Some staff tried, but failed, to disprove Oscar’s special ability through trickery.)

    At a fine nursing home for folks with deep

    mental infirmities, they have a cat,

    a pet adopted by staff who say, “At

    which bed has Oscar nestled? We must keep

    an eye on him and where he goes to sleep,”

    for this cat senses imminent death, “stat,”

    amongst the patients and then lays down flat

    right next to them, till their souls God does reap.

    The sweet cat—unlike the kin—does not weep

    for those souls, rather he seeks a smooth pat

    down his back, some kibble then a steep

    bed of another, and there is no ‘scat!’

    for that cat, since he’s as docile as sheep,

    not seeking against Death any combat.

      1. I didn’t know a book was written about Oscar. …

        Have you heard about the endearing and mysterious case of the adorably-willful cat named Quilty? It’s worth reading:

        “A Houston, Texas, animal shelter has a whiskered Houdini on their hands.
        The Friends for Life Animal Rescue houses a certain cat, known as Quilty, who has taken to breaking its feline friends free from their room. After figuring out the jailbreak artist’s tactics, workers at the rescue centre decided to put the cat in kitty solitary confinement.

        The rescue centre took to its official Facebook page late last month to share the story, along with photos of a not-so-happy Quilty staring out the lobby window.

        ‘Quilty will not be contained. And he has no shame,’ the post reads. ‘Quilty loves to let cats out of the senior room. Repeatedly. Several times a day.’ … ”

        The rest is at:

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