My heart wants another cat . . .

Lulu, the ragdoll cat

I think it’s possible I’ve had a delayed reaction to our cat Aliza passing away last month.

All I know is last week her loss really hit me hard. I found it tough to concentrate. I spent lots of time with Lulu instead of crafting, creating, blogging.

Lulu. Our only cat. Pictured above, in all of her 14-and-a-half years-of-kittenhood splendor!

I haven’t been a one-cat person in about 14 years, since I brought Lulu home to join her big brother Matisse.

Here’s a very old picture – and not a very clear one at that – of Lulu as a kitten, the first time she and Matisse hung out together.

First shot of Lulu and Matisse

Even then, she had that look that said, “I’m the alpha, so why is my big brother trying to fit into my crinkle sack toy?” 

When Lulu’s big brother passed away years ago, it was harder than we possibly imagined it could be. Not only did my husband and I grieve, but we watched – a bit surprised – as both Lulu and Aliza outwardly mourned his loss.

I wanted another boy kitty right away, but even I knew what I actually wanted was to have my Matisse back. So I held off.

Aliza, who was totally in love with Matisse, decided to seek comfort from me. In doing so, she ended up comforting me as well.

And that’s what has made her loss so hard for me. I need her here to comfort me.

Aliza went from being a scaredy cat – afraid of any human contact – to the most loving and affectionate feline soul I ever knew.

The final weekend we spent with Aliza, when we knew her time was winding down, Lulu completely surprised me for how attentive she was to Aliza. She gave Aliza reassuring licks, sat nearby quietly, and never freaked out when Aliza had a few accidents. She stuck by her and never shunned her, as some cats might do to a sick or injured cat.

I don’t have any pictures of me and Aliza posing together. She wasn’t fond of the camera: it was just something I was putting in between her face and mine. It was in the way.

I did manage to capture a selfie of Aliza and I during our last night of saying goodbye.

Laura and Aliza

Not the best photo to win awards, but it warms my heart to look at this over and over again.

I miss Aliza so much. I miss her comfort.

Lulu has been ok but very needy since Aliza passed away. Lulu and Aliza were never close with each other, but they got along just fine.

We’ve been trying to keep to the same routines for Lulu. She spends every day “working” with my husband in his office, basically curled up in her little bed snoozing the day away. Except for when he leaves the room, when she somehow knows he left and will get up to find him and follow him around.

It’s adorable. Lulu has truly become my husband’s cat. Oh she still loves me, plays with me, and all that good stuff, but she’s his cat.

And this past week, through my tears, I’ve realized that I need want another cat. My heart wants one. Yes, as a heart mender. But also because my heart has more love to give.

Yet I’m unsure what’s best for Lulu. I know she loved wrestling and playing with Matisse. And even though she’s 14, we say she’s still a kitten because of her playfulness and energy.

Could bringing a new kitten into our home mess things up? That’s what I’m struggling with right now.

And part of my struggle – I think – is also finally allowing myself some time to grieve.

~Laura

 

Comments

  1. says

    Laura, you do need to mend your heart, but your heart also has much love to give. And there are many cats who need homes. There are many ways you could go to find another feline, and let the process take its time.

    You could begin by fostering cats or kittens, and see how that goes over with Lulu. Adult cats who need cage breaks, especially those near her age who are unlikely to be adopted, or two kittens who are playmates with each other and just need time before they are of age to be altered and put up for adoption. Sometimes while fostering you find your forever kitty–or kitties! And often, it helps to ease the feeling that you are betraying the kitty you’ve lost, or trying to replace her. At the same time you are helping to save the lives of the cats you foster, and getting Lulu accustomed to other felines.

    Typically, an age and temperament match is best for adopting a new cat into a feline household, and you could actually find a senior kitty around Lulu’s age or even a few years younger and see how it goes.

    If you wanted to adopt a kitten, with an older kitty, I usually advise to adopt two kittens–they can play and wrestle with each other and all their kitten energy, easier for an older cat go become acclimated because all of one kitten’s attention isn’t directed at a cat who is no match for that energy. And there are so many kittens who are bonded and do best adopted together.

    Good luck with your search!

    • Laura says

      Thanks so much Bernadette, for your advice. I’ve had others suggest more than one kitten as well. Definitely something to consider. What I already know I can’t do is become a foster parent to a kitty. Why? Because I’d keep every single one. Seriously – I know me, and I’d be what they call a “failed foster” in no time at all. 🙂 I’m spending lots of time thinking about what’s best, and will keep you posted. Again, I really appreciate your thoughts!

  2. Pat C. says

    What an absolutely touching photo of you and Aliza. I had tears rolling down my face as I looked at it for the first time last night and was too emotional to respond then. Call me crazy, but I can see in Aliza’s face and body language that she knows the end is near; and she knows how much you love her and how much you’re hurting. I also see that she loves you, too, and is deriving much-needed comfort and peace from being in your arms. The look on her face tells me that she knows that you need her to be in your arms just as much as she needs to be in yours.

    And the look on your face, sweet Laura, just breaks my heart. I can’t even put it into words…

    I think it’s perfectly understandable that you are experiencing renewed grief now. In the immediate aftermath of a loss, sometimes we subconsciously compartmentalize it in the “I’ll deal with this later because I can’t fully deal with it now” category. Remember: There is no right or wrong way to grieve. It’s a very personal process, and only you know which method of dealing with it is best for you at any given time.

    As for adopting another cat… I think that Bernadette has come up with ideas and suggestions that are far superior to anything I could come up with. I know that whatever decision you make, it will be the right one for you, your husband, Lulu, and the future member(s?) of your family.

    Sending a million hugs and cups of herbal tea,

    Pat xoxo

    • Laura says

      Thank you so much Pat for your sweet words, and for the million hugs and cups of herbal tea, too! For me, my cats have always been my kids, since I wasn’t able to have children. I know kids aren’t remotely the same as cats, but I’d swear at times that Lulu is smarter than some people! 😉 I know that at some point in the future, my husband and I will be “adopted by” at least one kitty! Again, many thanks for your kind words.