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


Darcy Hopkins says: February 08, 2020 at 05:05 PM

I am going to miss your sweet Bee too. She had an amazing life and she lived it her way!

I have just stumbled across your blog so this is the first entry I’ve read...I was in tears!! I have two cats (and have had many more over the years) and even though they have such independent spirits and their own quirky ways we become so very attached to them. Losing them is so very hard. Take comfort in the fact you gave her a wonderful life, something that sadly, not all cats get. The photos of her are beautiful, she was a gorgeous girl. Sleep tight Bridget x

So sorry for your loss! Your memories will stay with you, and may you smile and think of her often.

So sorry for your loss of Bridget :( We lost our precious cat Muffin about 2 years ago now and I still miss him so much. I remember all his little antics, softness and gentle ways. Pets are so much a part of the family, so very precious and they teach us so much. Blessings and hugs to you all xo

Susan Michelle Campbell says: February 10, 2020 at 10:22 AM

Godspeed Bee ...

The way you love and adore your furry creatures has warmed my heart for so long! In this lunatic world of has given me hope somehow.

Thank You.

So sorry for you all. I have two cats and, you are right, they are very much part of the family and friends of ours. Gill

You must've been so good to your little Bee to have had her for 20 years! So many memories and I hope they bring you many smiles. Hugs.

Here I sit surrounded by 4 kitties, all rescues. I read of your loss and want to be sure you know that Bee loves you and knows you still. Our pastor said, when Daddy died at 93 years old, he still knows us and loves us from Heaven. That comforted me because until then, I felt so removed from him. Now, I am sure it is the same with animals. Love does not end. I believe reunion awaits someday and until then, just know in your heart, she still knows you and loves you from that perfect place. xxx

Oh Alicia, my heart breaks. This must be so very difficult for you all (and even Miss Clover). I remember all of your beloved animals and their lives and their stories, and they were and are such a part of this blog. Many kind thoughts and much sympathy to all of you. xo

Shelley Noble says: February 11, 2020 at 12:20 PM

So sorry for your loss, Alicia. Rest in Peace, to your dear little Bee.

Marsha Gibbons says: February 12, 2020 at 01:31 PM

Oh gee, I am so sorry for your loss. You are such a good writer and photographer, I feel like we were right there with you. And in many ways, through all our beloved pets, we are right there. Take good care of yourself and your family.


I am just getting up to date with your wonderful posting and am so very sorry to hear the news of your little Bee. What a change this will be in your home and a time of many adjustments. Such sadness. I am sorry my dear lady and family.

So very sorry to hear about your dear Bee. We had a Bee, too. A tiny tabby. She also had feral beginnings. What a beautiful story of her life you wrote. She was clearly so loved, which I think is the greatest gift we can give them, in exchange for all the love they give us. I love the part about the fleece...yes, how comfortable it was. Rest in Peace to your darling girl, Bee.

Yolanda Campbell says: March 19, 2020 at 10:56 AM

I remember Audrey I have followed since like 2003

So sorry for your loss, Alicia. Rest in peace, little Bee.

So sorry to read about Bee, such a feisty lady and such a good age although pets always leave us too soon. xxx

Katherine says: April 23, 2020 at 01:04 AM

Aaahhhh, I am so sad to read about your loss of Bee. As I was catching up on your recent posts, I wondered where she was... I remember "seeing" my 21-year old cat for about two weeks after he died. I was so used to him "being there", I kept thinking I saw him jump into my bed, or onto my recliner. He was such a fixture in my life. (((Hugs)))

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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