Goodbye Bee

comments: 118


We lost our little cat Bridget this weekend. We'd known it was coming for a while but, even knowing that, it was still so hard. She was twenty years old this spring. We found her when she was a baby kitten. She was always pretty feral. I kept thinking back to the one time she'd ever sat on me in all the years we lived together. It was that first morning she lived with us. At the crack of dawn that morning I'd crept into the guest room (guest room because Violet was stressing) to visit her. I was so excited. I laid down on the floor on my stomach and rested my head on my arms. She came over and climbed up onto the back of my legs and tucked her little feet under her like a tiny roosting hen. She sat there for ages. I didn't move a muscle. I remember just having the biggest smile on my face — a kitten! Sitting on me! We had a new kitten! She was sitting on me! Everyone else was asleep.

She was such a cute kitten, all fluffy and wide-eyed. It was early spring when she came, just after St. Patrick's Day, and we named her Bridget. She was gray, white, and peach, and for some reason she always reminded me of a feisty little Irish girl. She was really feisty. That first morning when she came and sat on me just because she felt like it? Never to be repeated. Ever. She did not like to be picked up, she never sat on our laps, she hissed at everybody (hissing kitten!), and you could only pet her on the forehead or behind the ears while not looking at her. You could pet her if you looked at something else, like something across the room or to your side. But if you pet her "wrong," especially while looking at her, she would punch you right in the face. It was clear after those first few days that she had never been handled by people, and had probably been born outside and had spent the first six or so weeks of her life before she came to us outside. Neither Violet (who was five when we came to Portland from Missoula) nor Bridget could be kept indoors. (When Violet was still a kitten in Missoula she actually jumped out of a second-floor bathroom skylight and got out onto the roof [which she fell off of, into a bunch of hosta plants in the side yard]. We weren't home at the time. I remember that when we'd left the house, she was there in it. When we got home, she was nowhere to be found, and not a single door or window was open. We could not find her and we literally looked in every single place she could be. Eventually, after exhausting all rational options, I noticed that the skylight in the bathroom ceiling was open. It was sort of a flat plane of glass that was like a casement window that you could push open a few inches; one of our roommates had probably taken a shower and left it open, never thinking it would be a problem. She must have literally jumped eight feet straight into the air to get to it, or somehow vaulted from the sink and grabbed the trim with her claws. We ran outside and standing looking around the perimeter of the house, and there she was, sitting in a big plant.) She just wanted out. All the time. And Bridget was the same. So from very early days our cats always went outside. Violet was almost eighteen when she passed away in 2012. Both of those good girls spent most of their time outside and still came home every single night of their lives. They were so good about always coming home. I really appreciated that about both of them. They were so reliable in that way.

The Bee spent most of her days lounging, or hunting, or running off any other cats that came anywhere near the house. She had a funny little trilling, chirrup-y meow that I can still hear in my mind. She was light as a feather and quick as a whip. She would sting you if you weren't careful. If she ever walked across someone's lap, all of us, the whole family, would freeze and hold our breath. She made Clover nervous every single day. She enjoyed the neighbors' yards more than ours, and we frequently got reports from our neighbors on either side that she was sunning herself on their patio tables. The goal of her life since about 2015 was to walk across all my stuff (knitting pattern/counter/embroidery floss/pattern papers/scissors, etc.) on the sofa and knock it on the floor and then come around behind me and drink out of my ice-water glass. Every single night. She'd also, before the days of the sheep fleece (see below), stalk and harass me until I finally got off the sofa to go to bed and then she'd be in my spot so fast; I would literally still be scooching toward the end of the chaise lounge in my nightgown and she'd already be in the warm depression I'd left behind. She brought in probably a half-dozen birds over the years, which was so distressing I can't even tell you. She lost every collar and every bell that we tried to put on her. Every single one. She was free and she wanted to be free. I know she loved us in her Bridget way and we loved her in ours.

She had been mostly inside for the past couple of years, but she'd still go out on the back porch and lay in the sun during the day when it was nice. Slowly, as she got more and more arthritic, her territory shrunk, and since this past autumn she'd been mostly sleeping on a pile of handmade quilts in her basket (which was originally baby Amelia's gorgeous Amish basket, with the wool-stuffed cushion) under the sideboard. A few months ago I found our sheep fleece that we'd gotten at the flock and fiber festival in the basement for some reason. Amelia had taken it outside and it had some little pieces of sticks and grass in it, and I'd been meaning to brush it out. We brought it up and put it on Clover's bed, and Clover Meadow absolutely loved it.

And so did Bridget. :))) The picture above was taken a few weeks ago by Amelia with my phone. Clover's face makes me laugh so hard. She is so nervous because she's literally about to get run off by Bridget. Which she was. Repeatedly. Within seconds of that photo, The Bee was on the fleece. Eventually we just gave the fleece to her and put it in her basket and then she hardly ever, ever came out of her basket. And for these last few weeks I think she was just about as comfy and cozy as a creature could possibly be, and that brings peace to my heart.

She was such a little fighter girl until her dying day. Andy and I counted at least two separate times — once about four years ago, when she had an infection behind her right eye, and again about five months ago, when she had a seizure that messed up her back permanently — that she literally fought her way back from the very edge. This time, this last seizure she had on Thursday was too much, and it broke her tiny, fragile body.

We buried her in the front border, very near the driveway where we had found her all those years ago. It's a nice place, under the plum tree with a view of the birdbath, and we'll be able to see the spot from the dining-room window. I know she is at peace, and so is Violet, out there, too, just a few yards away. And so is our beloved first dog, Audrey, who we lost so long ago now. All of them such good friends to us, for so many years of our lives.








Goodbye, dear little Bee. I love you and miss you. Rest now, and be well, little darling. Be well. XO


A very touching tribute to a feisty spirit. Roam on, little Bee.

penny Spencer says: February 03, 2020 at 01:03 PM

Oh,I am so sorry you lost your beloved kitty. I can't count how many pets we've lost over the years, too many. Loved every one of them.
She was a pretty girl. I love the photos including Clover, as we have a very sassy little Corgi boy. We had two corgis a few years ago and I love the breed, but this guy is a terror. Bless you.

Alicia, I am so sorry. She is the ABSOLUTE twin, to my cat, Sparky, that passed away 1 1/2 years ago. She also was light, and quick, and sassy. I'd say she was 17. She started having bad dental problems in the end, we had no choice but to extract some teeth, that made her miserable, and did not cure her mouth problem. I was vacuuming, and she started to have maybe a seizure, or a heart attack, It was snowing so hard, here in Olympia, WA, and i drove frantically to the vet, the whole while, she was passing, it was awful. She made it to the vet, then had to be put down, there was no coming back. It absolutely broke me in half. How special that you have your animals in the front. What a gift for them, and you guys. I am just so sorry, the void is so hard to adjust to. BTW, I have followed you for some time, quite a long time, but have never commented. Your writing always brings me to another place. You are a very gifted, talented writer, you "take us there" everytime. Much love!

Michaelanne Neal says: February 03, 2020 at 01:38 PM

Im SO sorry about your little Bee. She looked like a beautiful, precious kitty. She is with Violet and I am sure they will always be with you in Spirit! <3

Beloved pets break our hearts when they leave us, but I can’t imagine life without them. So sorry for your loss.

Poor posie family. :( I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. Bee had an amazing life because of you all.

I'm so sorry. Our calico Annie is 16. We rescued her off the streets as a kitten, also. I am dreading that day. Much love to you all. Our wee furred and feathered friends are such a huge part of our hearts. What a gift!

What a lovely tribute! I'm glad she found her way to you all those years ago, it sounds like you provided her the best life she could have. I'm sure she will be so missed.

So very sorry for your loss. I always love the pictures of your pets. She was a lucky kitty to have found a home with you guys.

Im sorry about Bridget. I had a cranky lady once. She was the runt of the litter and always a tiny little black kitty. Everyone thought she was a kitten even when fully grown. But she had her own mind and would rip your arm off if you got in her way. She would come running to meet you when you got home, wrapping around your legs. But you got one pat then the claws would come out. At night she would tuck herself in under the doona with you and just peer out at you if you suggested she get out. I just love cats personalities, and always say you either get a cranky cat or a pajama bag up for anything.

Lucy Schowalter says: February 03, 2020 at 02:50 PM

Did you know that on February 1st is the St. Brigid day? She went to her saint protector. So sorry to hear about your loss. 20 years it is a long time and you will miss her. Take care. Lucy

I have a cat who adopted us many years ago. He is failing, but not nearly as fast as the vet told us he would. He has thyroid issues and is very allergic to the medicine. So he currently has no body fat and feels like a skeleton with fur. But he's happy and purring.

Anyway, this is my way of letting you know that my heart understands how you're feeling. And knows I will be there soon. I'm so sorry for your loss.

I'm so sorry ... from experience I know how hard it is! ❤️

I'm so very sorry for your loss. I've purchased two fleeces from the Flock and Fiber festival specifically for my cats they are well loved all year around.

What a beautiful tribute! So sorry for your loss. Pets are special.

I'm glad Bee chose y'all. I've admired photos of her when she was in posts. I'd call to our cat, Minuet to come see the pretty kitty. She'd blink and turn her head. Min is failing too and it breaks my heart. We've had her since she was born in our daughter's closet. Her mother was a stray we saved from an Animal Control sweep of our neighborhood. Family is family and loss is just as painful when it's a pet. Thanks for allowing us to say goodbye too instead of wondering why Bee disappeared.

Be well.

lauraborealis says: February 03, 2020 at 03:59 PM

I couldn't read this all the way through, for the tears. Bless dear Bee and all of our lost kitty and puppy loves (and the broken hearts they've left behind).

Alicia, thank you for sharing this post, a beautiful celebration of Bee's unique, dear life with us. I'm celebrating with you and caring about your loss. ((hugs))

So very sorry, she was so beautiful and looked very sweet, even if she was a bit fiery! xx

Losing a pet takes part of your heart, but being without pets would be worse. I have loved so many dogs and cats and lost so many, but I will still find joy in that new kitten or puppy. Sorry for your loss. She sure was a nice cat.

So sorry about your dear kitty. From your moving tribute I can tell that she picked the right driveway to be found in all those years ago.

I'm so sorry for your loss. Losing those beloved fur creatures is especially hard, I know. I still miss my 4 every day.

I'm sorry, Alicia. Pets leave such sweet, funny memories in a family. Hugs to you guys tonight. xo

The way you describe her sounds so much like my little cat, Misty, who would only sit on a person if she was absolutely sure that said person was asleep. It’s clear from the way you describe her that you really understood who she was. At the end of the day, I think that’s the best, most generous gift we can give each other. Sending you hope for comfort and peace. XO

So sorry Alicia. May she Rest In Peace. What a lovely story of her dear life. Best wishes, J xx

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at