reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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babycat. [two artists tuesday]

his long white whisker was on the black rug in the sunroom. i bent down and picked it up, my heart aching for this sweet adored cat no longer here. i taped it to a piece of colored paper, trying to hold on to babycat physically just a little longer.

b-cat was twelve. according to the almanac that’s about 64. it hadn’t occurred to me or us that he was a senior cat; he was simply our babycat and his presence was more than one-fourth of our home. his absence has made a profound impact; it is very very quiet. it’s not that he was that noisy, although he was a vocal cat. it’s just that he was that present. for each of us.

i was alone last week when it happened. in an unusual turn d was away and i was home. monday was a day of sorting and cleaning and rearranging. babycat spent the day in the same room as me and split his time between snoozing and pets. nothing out of the ordinary, just extraordinarily normal. tuesday morning was unexpected and will break my heart for some time to come. suddenly symptomatic and ultimately laying down behind a chair i never remember him exploring, i knew things were dreadfully wrong. racing babycat in his blanketed dog-crate (since he was too big for cat carriers) to an urgent veterinarian appointment, i spoke to him the entire way while he loudly meowed and i could feel hope leaving my body. there are moments that feel surreal and, like other losses in my life, this was one. over a covid-enforced veterinary facetime app, a very kind and compassionate doctor explained the xray she had immediately taken and the dire implications of all that she could see suddenly impacting our beloved cat. babycat gave us no time to make longer term treatment decisions. he died on that tuesday morning in march, almost twelve years since my life had been graced by him as a kitten. and, in the way that death changes everything, i won’t be the same without him.

i’ve seen bumper stickers with pawprints that read “who rescued who?” each time i nod my head, understanding. babycat came to me at a time of great need. my girl and my boy and i drove to florida to pick up this kitten who had come to stay at my niece’s doorstep, with no evidence of a missing owner. a first-time-cat-family, we drove “cat”, who we were having trouble naming, all the way home, trying to figure out how to feed and water and potty-break a cat on the way, when all our experience was dog-based. somewhere along the way babycat was named “wilson” but he chose to never answer to that and picked “babycat” as his given name. we taught him to sit, to beg, to come when called. he meowed when we said “speak” and was a lot more dog than cat in many ways.

babycat – in the wisdom of the animal kingdom – followed me around in moments of loneliness, insisted on regimented times for meals, showed me that the sun on the rug in the living room was something to soak up, sat with me on the floor. baby-the-c’s constant companionship was my solace in empty-nest-initiation and his lack of stealth was a bit of noise i desperately needed around me. so much to say about that little creature. yes, who rescued who?

his absence now is, if possible, even bigger than his presence. babycat love – ours and his – surrounds me.

*****

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my sweet babycat. [two artists tuesday]

bcat summer with frame

this face entered my life nine years ago now.  i had never had a cat before, but my sister and niece conspired when a kitten showed up on heather’s doorstep in florida.  my sister had asked me, maybe weeks before, what kind of cat i would want if i had a cat (which she insisted i needed.)  not having had sharing-life-with-a-cat-experience (for i know now not to call it “owning a cat”) i was less convinced.  but then this little (short-lived on the word “little”…babycat is BIG!) kitten showed up on heather’s doorstep.  after searching for its owner, it seemed fortuitous that i had answered my sister with the less-than-emotional-or-even-informed-but-kind-of-more-practical response, “i guess i’d want a black cat so it will coordinate with my clothing and i won’t always be using a rolly-thing to get fur off my clothes.”  it was a match!

and, indeed, it was.  after many trials, babycat was named “wilson” (a nod to The Boy’s tennis involvement) and we (The Girl, The Boy and i) drove him back to wisconsin, none of us quite sure how to handle his eating and relieving himself, a crate, food, portable litter box, water, toys and our laps handy.  he has never ever answered to the name wilson and he totally chose his name babycat, readily answering to one of his nicknames.  and so, his dominance over the household started.

babycat was one of those who-rescued-who stories you read about.  at just the right moment, he entered our lives.  he has been a big (no…BIG) presence ever since.  not knowing what cats really do, i taught him many a dog-trick, sitting and speaking on command, coming when called, sitting up to beg for a treat.  he was able and, more so, willing.  (if he’s not willing, there’s no way to make something happen with him.)

and then david and, subsequently, dogdog came along.  b-cat reined them both in, alpha to each of them.  a bit more aloof when younger, but never one to hide or totally ignore us, somewhere along the way, he became a cat who wanted to snuggle.

but that face.  it’s just too easy to read babycat’s mind.  and right now, i agree with him.  where DID the summer go?

babycat.  he’s a force.  and a big (no…BIG) part of my heart.

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wheretheheckdidsummergo ©️ 2018 kerri sherwood & david robinson