In Memory of Charlotte

My dear Char-Bear:

You have always been one of the sweetest cats I’ve met. You were my ‘Momma Cat’ – always coming over to cuddle when I had my bad moments, especially after my divorce and when I felt so desperately alone. I’d pet you, and then you would lick me as if to tell me it was going to be all right. And it is all right, Charlotte.  Thank you, my sweet Boo-Boo, it is all right after all.

Remember when I came to the C.A.T. shelter and they brought you in the room with me? You and Betsy were so scared, but I tried to reassure you that it was going to be ok.  You purred, as I recall, when I held you. It was all right at that point because you chose me to spend your life with at that moment.

Hopefully, you didn’t mind the name change- you have been a ‘Sparkle’ in my life but I didn’t want you to go through your life with the name of a stripper- and came up with Charlotte, which is a pretty awesome name for such a gorgeous cat.

It wasn’t until I got you both home that I realized exactly how special of a kitty you really were.  I thought something was wrong with how you walked by limping, and discovered that you were born with only one toe on your back paw, and were missing others on your front paw. But that never stopped you from hobbling around and being curious. 

Sometimes, in the summer, you were actually so fast that I could barely stop you from racing outside into the backyard when I opened the door just so you could go bask in the sun.  Oh, how you loved rolling around on the deck, luxuriating in the warmth – that was your most favorite thing in the whole world to do… I know that you felt so happy in that sun and you just enjoyed being outside, hanging out with me in the sun.  Then, you always wanted to make a bee line for the grass so you could get your fill of greens.   Oh, and of course, to watch the birds, the little huntress that you are.

Your gait always told me what was going on in the house.  When I was downstairs, I could always hear you crossing the floor – ka-thumpa, ka-thumpa, ka-thumpa.  You never did like me touching your deformed paw, which I tried to respect, always pulling it away as though it was sensitive (which I am sure it was)  It was also difficult when I would try to clip your nails, but I tried to be as gentle as possible.

Every morning, you would be the first one on the bed to let me know it was time for breakfast, sometimes clambering over me and then sitting solidly on my chest to peer into my eyes to see if I was getting up. The moment I twitched, you’d jump down then you were leading me up the stairs, waiting anxiously for your stinky cat food that you love so much.  Once I introduced you to that, boy, you never wanted to go back… and I hope your last few days with us allowed you to eat as much of that stuff that you wanted to, including the cheese and cat nip that you love so much. 

Remember all the times when I was asleep and you decided to share the bed with me?   And what about the times that you woke me up, eating my hair as if to just say, “This is silly, but I am doing it anyway to get you to pay attention to me.”

I remember the first time you made a noise… you have always been a cat of very few words, and it took a long time after I brought you home before I even heard you miaow.  I remember that it was in the middle of the night, and you let out a ‘Eeeeeeooooowwwwww’ at such a high pitch that it sounded positively ghostly – I woke up, panicked and fearful of that dreadful noise I had heard while sleeping.  Since then, I heard you miaow more, telling me how hungry you were or how happy you were that you knew that the food was coming. You fixed your ‘miaower’ – talking sometimes just to say, “hey!” to my ‘hi’.   Your almost-silent ‘Unh’ to also say, ‘whatssup?’

I loved it when you drooled on me while I was petting you.  Seems like that was your ultimate expression of happiness and contentment.  I also loved having you on my chest, you purring, and me pulling your whiskers and ears back gently – you’d stick your tongue out at me but loved every moment of it, my little puma-cat. 

You were also so polite when I was eating foods that you desperately loved, including burritos stuffed with ground turkey. You would delicately pat me as if to pull my arm to you and drop the turkey morsel in front of you.  Of course, I did, and thought it endearing when you would take the food directly out of my hand.

Charlotte, I do still feel badly about all the times that I dragged you to the vet, but I did it to try and find out what was going on, and also to make you feel better and hopefully more comfortable. And I am sorry about the time that I gave you that bath – I thought you were going to kill me.  I know you didn’t mean to bite me as hard as you did… you were scared and really not liking what was going on. 

My sweet Charlotte, I hope you are in a better place now, and please know that I made this decision based in a place of compassion, love and with the hope that you wouldn’t have to endure extreme suffering by the diseases going through your body.  I don’t know what would have happened if we had waited, but the last thing I would want is that you would suffer in any way.  I hope that your time with me and our family was good, and your needs were all met, and you got all the love that you needed.  You sure filled my heart with joy, and even surprise when you would suddenly appear after withdrawing for hours, and want a pat or scratch under the chin.  I always loved how you would have your ‘crush’ days where you would follow me everywhere, looking for a little extra love.

I just want to say thank you for all of the kitty kisses, loving nudges, hair-eating, arm-patting, lap sitting, and general companionship.  Your heart was large for a reason… because you were sweet to the core.  Thank you for so many great memories, and I hope that wherever you are, we can meet again someday so I can put my arms around you and hold you, telling you how much I love you.

Goodbye, Charlotte, and peace be with you. I hope our seven years together was as good for you as it was for me.

Love you forever,

Dawn

– Dawn Rasmussen, Portland, OR