Goodbye Bee

comments: 118

BridgetAndClover

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.

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

118 comments

I add my condolences, as I lie in bed with one of my cats, a tortoise 12 year old who was a starving stray I rescued.

We had a little cat like your Bee... She was named Emily and she was older than our oldest child by four years, This cat was a tiny long-haired calico, and like Bee, loved being outside so she could hunt...until
she got so slow and old we feared the coyotes would get her. Then she lived peacefully inside, mostly in my daughter’s room. Emily died at 22 years of age in my 18 year old daughter’s arms. We buried her under our front window. I was just honking of her a few days ago as I weeded around that flower bed.

Sending a hug from Tucson....

So sorry for your loss. They touch our hearts so deeply. Your fond memories are a wonderful tribute. Rest in peace Bridget.

oh, alicia, how sad. yet, through damp eyes, a smile came through. your descriptions are so like my grand cat, my older son's cat. charlie, as brandon named him, was found in indiana in a barn. they thought he was black, but he was just filthy. only a few weeks old with an eye infection. after cleaning him, he became white and caramel. he was the cutest kitten when brandon brought him home. he's six now. brandon also has travis, a dog he found on craig's list near chicago heights. travis is like clover. he's terrified of charlie. i was sitting in front of a chair while brandon walked travie and charlie was sitting on the chair arm. when brandon left, charlie whacked me in the side of my head. charlie doesn't go out but always wants the front door open so he can look out the storm door. it's in wheaton, right by the college station train tracks. he did bring brandon a few mice during the fall. my sympathies to you. i'm sure bee had a wonderful life with you. so sorry. :>((

Oh, I’m so sorry. She’s been part of your family for so long. We have allergic/asthmatic dog-lovers and cat-lovers in our family, so we can’t have dogs or cats, and therefore we have a very affectionate, chatty, and goofy parakeet. He cost $16– the vet bill when he got sick the week before Thanksgiving was $130, and worth every penny to keep the little guy going. They really do hold such a place in your heart. Take care of your wee self.

Oh dear Alicia.. sorry for your loss. We have buried so many of our pets over the years.. we loved them all. Dayle and I both saw our cat Lucy ghosting by after we lost her.. like out of the corner of our eye. Our Lucy was a tortoise point Himalayan.. I do love a calico cat. You gave her a fitting goodbye. Sending hugs your way.
((hugs)), Teresa :-)

kelly klein says: February 03, 2020 at 11:21 PM

Oh, I am so sorry Alicia. My heart goes out to you, Andy & Amelia. sending comfort & hugs. xx

Oh Alicia, I'm so sorry for the loss of your Bee... she was so lucky to have found you and your family and I'm sure she's had the BEST life any cat could ever dream of having. May the best memories of her bring your family comfort and love. Sending you hugs and my cats Ziggy and Beans send their love and purrs to Amelia. xx

I always loved when you would mention Bee on the blog, she seems like she was *such* a character and i can picture clearly, through your beautiful words, what a double act she would have been with Clover. The photo Amelia took is so wonderful. Big hugs to you Paulson family, i'm so sorry x

What a beautiful tribute to such a pretty little kitty. I'm sorry that you had to lose her, but I'm so glad that you and your family gave her such a loving home. Sending tender thoughts your way. *Hugs*

What a beautiful tribute for a beautiful kitty. Bridget was obviously greatly loved. So sorry for your loss xxx

María José says: February 04, 2020 at 05:01 AM

¡Cuánto lo siento, Alicia! Es muy triste cuando eso ocurre. El consuelo es el tiempo que ha pasado con vosotros, con todo el cariño que le habéis dado y la confianza de sentirse querido... ¡Mucho ánimo y cariño!

Oh twenty years — cats really do live a long time. It was sweet to read your tribute to her. Amazing she was not more cuddly. She was beautiful and she had a wonderful life with your family. 😊 I hope if you have another cat you’ll be able to get one that loves to cuddle as I don’t know what I will do after my Yum-yum (12 years old) is gone. She cuddles and hugs me daily and I just love it. It does my heart good. She’s forever in my lap but I also know what you mean about her taking your warm spot when you get up. Again I’m sorry for your loss as it’s never easy.

I'm so very sorry for your loss. It is so hard to lose our furry family members. It sounds like Bee lived her best life on her terms. Much comfort to you.

Audrey Grace says: February 04, 2020 at 06:21 AM

This was a beautiful tribute to your beloved Bee. You have such an amazing way with words, I wish you would publish a book of your writings. I have read you since the beginning and you have always inspired me. RIP Bridget. Play happy with Audrey and Violet.

I am sitting here crying after reading this...I am so, so sorry. I am a huge cat lover and have two of them. My third, Zippo passed on 15 months ago and my heart still hurts so bad over his loss. The way you wrote about Bee absolutely tugged at my heart strings. Much love and hugs to all of you. Bee was so loved. xoxo

I'm sorry for your loss. I've always loved the glimpses of Bee in your posts. May she rest in peace. <3

I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s just crushing, but you wrote such a beautiful tribute to her. Thank you for sharing her story with us.

I am so sorry. I have always grieved losing a furry member of the family as much as I have a human. It sounds weird, but it's true.

When one of our cats died at age 17, the vet who had to put her to sleep (she was suffering greatly) told me that any cat who lives that long is proof they have been well loved and taken care of through the years. I would say the same thing about your kitty.

Michele (maryland) says: February 04, 2020 at 08:03 AM

I am crying reading this Alicia as I too feel your pain of loosing a dear pet. Our recent loved cat, Simon, was just buried under our birdbath beside his best friend Bailey, our beloved Golden Retriever. We can see them both as we open and close the blinds on our sunroom windows, as well as when I fill the birdbath. I always say 'hello:' Hugs to you and your family...

Oh, so hard to lose our beloved pets. I still cry for my Westie after 10 years. Hugs.

Jennifer Miller says: February 04, 2020 at 08:44 AM

I am so sorry. It totally sucks to lose a furry family member. We lost out sweet pup (who was almost 14) in Sept and our house is not the same.

I always wonder if our hearts are larger for loving our cats and dogs and then losing them. Or when losing them do our heart collapse? I know I feel smaller and greater for having them in my life. But I carry all of them with me when they are gone.

What a loving tribute! I'm so sorry for your family's loss and hope that your deep sadness helps you to find all of the meaningful and delightful memories you all shared.

Thank you for sharing your touching recollections. They are tender and sweet and I hope that by writing them out the tendrils of healing can start their magic.

<3

Lovely words and thoughts to remember your little cat by. Love is accepting our pets as they are - sometimes cuddly, sometimes not. 20 years and 18 years is wonderful but yes, it must end sometime. I am sure that Bee will live on and continue to be loved in your heart as you remember her.

I am very sorry for your loss, we love our pets very much don't we and losing them is hard. We must remember that life is finite and that within that knowledge we give them our best care and attention. Bee had a lovely home and guardian family and was blessed.

Goodbye lovely Bee - for I shall miss you too as I always noticed her when she was around. A little character for sure.
xx

Kristen from MA says: February 04, 2020 at 09:21 AM

I'm so sorry to read this sad news. Condolences to the Paulson family. RIP Bee.

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About Alicia Paulson

About

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 aliciapaulson.com

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Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.