When I looked at adopting a cat, I found a local cat rescue organization. They had bios and pictures on their website and miss Phoebe stood out to me.
She was identified as a cuddler and a chatterbox- a cat that wanted to be around you and would sleep next to you. And she liked to play and chase the laser pointer.
I went to an adoption event with Kyle to meet her to see if it was a match. She was comfortable in my arms and one look at her expressive, big green eyes and I was smitten. Soon Phoebe was on the way home with me.
Once at my apartment, she tentatively explored her new space and then crept under my couch. To make her feel welcome, I lay down on the couch so I could be near her. Within five minutes she came out, jumped up onto me, and we took a nap together with her laying on my chest.
That was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. And who could’ve predicted that 8 pounds of fur and purr would so dramatically alter the course of my life.
That nap was the first of many we took together. And the first of many many cuddle sessions where she’d just lay on my chest and purr. Or she’d curl up in the crook of my left arm.
I loved her so very much, and the unconditional love she gave in return was beautiful and enriched my life beyond measure.
My darling little girl left my life on Thursday. I’m not going to write about that. Instead I’m going to write about how she was the most awesome cat and how perfect she was as a companion.
She greeted me at the door every time I came home, without fail. Even if she had been napping somewhere, she would come running and hit me with a barrage of meows and headbutts until I picked her up.
She would also groom me after my day– trying to lick my beard and hair. Occasionally she’d try to pull my beard hair out too, with her sharp little teeth!
At least she had the decency to pretend to be sorry when I’d shout “Ouch!”
We’d play hide and seek under the covers in bed. I’d duck under and she’d meow and work to find a way to get to me.
She’d go into “hunter mode” if I made scritching sounds on the bed with my nails. Her pupils would get SO BIG, and she’d get this adorable look of concentration on her face. Then she’d pounce!
She played with shoe strings and other strings like a kitten. Always. And with bread ties. She’d bat those everywhere until they ended up under my piano.
On weekend mornings she liked to keep me company by jumping up onto my shoulders and laying there. Like this:
And when I was sick with a sore throat or chest congestion, she would sense it and lay across the offending area and purr for me.
Phoebe would come when I called her, too. I’d chant her name in a sing-song voice and she’d usually trot up really fast while meowing so her meow would come out all “mee-oww-wow-wow-owwwww”.
She slept with me every night without fail. We had a ritual: she’d wait for me to get in bed. Then she’d jump up and usually walk on me a bit. Then she’d knead my right shoulder with her paws before eventually curling up in the crook of my left arm.
She’d stay there purring while I read my book. Then at lights out she’d wait for me to turn onto my left side. I’d make a loop with my two arms, and she’d curl up in the middle of them and put her chin on my right hand. More often than not she’d also put her right paw into my right hand and that’s how we’d drift off to sleep.
My little girl was an explorer kitty. Any open drawer, closet, door, or cupboard she’d want to go in there and nose around a bit. At my old St Paul apartment, she even learned how to open my bifold closet doors! And sometimes when I got home she’d dash into the hallway to see the world. She’d only go out a few feet then wait for me to walk along with her.
She was pretty fearless. Thunderstorms and loud noises really didn’t phase her. Only the loudest, closest sounds would make her jump. She was ok with dogs too- more curious than anything. And people. My god she loved people! Any new folk who came over she’d always greet and want them to pet her.
And I adored how trusting she was. She never shied away from me, ever. She ran to me rather than from me- unless I played the trombone or vacuumed, then all bets were off. She let me pick her up and carry her around, and was quite comfy to be in my arms. She would completely sack out on me and nap. And she was always close by- almost dangerously under foot.
Phoebe had such a loud purr, and an even louder meow! Man was she vocal! I think she had like 15 different meows, and I knew what each of them meant. There was the sleepy meow, the “where you been!” Meow, the “I was busy today” meow, the “where are you?” Meow, the “I’m hungry” meow, the “oops hairball” meow, the contented chatter meow, the disgruntled “don’t wake me up” meow, etc.
I already miss her voice.
Things are going to be so very different without her in my life. I’m devastated and inconsolable and the loss is physically hurting my heart. But I’m deeply grateful she was part of my world for as long as she was.
Goodbye, my sweet Phoebe girl. My Little Girl. Queen of Phoeba. Phoebalicious. Phoebe Catz. Phoebe-monster. Phoebs.
I love you and will miss you always.
love love love this. great tribute.
Condolences on the loss of your feline friend. My very first cat I got when he was 12 weeks old – he was my constant companion. He’d wait for me at the door every day and was a fungus. And yes distinct meows too. Had him for 18 years.
i’m gonna miss that lil’ monster. i’m happy that the two of you found each other. i was just remembering that time i brought lucy over and lucy was terrified of her. 🙂
she was an amazing lil’ girl.
I feel for you. We unexpectedly said goodbye to our Loki yesterday as well. Take good care of yourself; if you are like me, there is a giant hole with fur around it in your life right now. Thanks for sharing how amazing a cat she was.
An amazing kitty, indeed. It’s wonderful that you found each other.
What a wonderful tribute to your friend. I know your heartache and send you my sincerest condolences.
Im so terribly sorry for your loss. Such an amazing cat, a soul mate and a friend. She was quite stunning (those eyes).
Your blog is brilliant and I dipped in from another blog several years ago. I drop in and out and find you uplifting and lovely.
Sending love and huge hugs to you from Scotland. Just devastating for you but remember how you gave her the best home she could ever of had and the love she needed.
Beautiful tribute to your sweet Phoebe. Take care of yourself. So happy you found each other those many years ago.
A beautifully written eulogy.
Pets give unconditional love. Probably the most precious gift you can ever receive. I have lost many pets over the years and each one was different and special and I remember them all and carry their love with me. Years ago I came to realize that I would always have pets and outlive them all…I make it my goal to love them as much and spoil them to the best of my ability and when they pass I mourn and then bring a new member into my family, because there are so many out there who deserve to be spoiled.
Sorry for your loss!!
You made a great pair and we’re blessed to have each other.
“A cat’s life is only a fraction of a human’s. For that fraction in time, you are, and always will be the whole world to them.”
– author unknown
oh my. such a beautiful tribute to a sweet girl. my sincere condolences, CB. cats are such loving beings (better than most people).
I’m just now getting to read this. Insert tears. What a beautiful description of your lives together. I’m truly sorry for your loss and hope the physical and emotional pain will soon be replaced by just memories of her wonderful presence.