We had to say goodbye to our cat Belden today, and while she’s probably the quietest entity in our family, she is no less loved by all of us. Belden had been in declining health the past few months, due to mammary cancer. This type of cancer is basically terminal for cats, and she outlived the 10-12 month time frame by over 6 months. Cancer is a terrible disease to see anyone (or anything) succumb to, it’s like they die a little bit more every day as they become less and less like how you know and love them. It brings us comfort to know that she is now at peace.
We had the pleasure of having Belden in our family for 7 1/2 years, and we weren’t her first owners. Back in May 2002, I found myself getting my own apartment for the first time without any roommate (my sister was getting married!). I decided to get a cat or a pair of them, and was checking some of the shelters online to see what they had available. This little gray cat named Leokadia somehow grabbed my attention. She was between 3-4 years old and had a sad look in her picture. I just knew this was the cat I wanted. A few weeks later, I had successfully conned my future husband into driving down to the south side to just “take a look” at the cats at the city pound.
We went into the cat area, and lo and behold, she was still there, snoozing away. I asked to see her, she purred and dug her nice sharp claws into my shoulders, I was (literally) hooked, and the rest was history. Matt was kind of concerned and thought she seemed a little lethargic at first, but once she got out of the shelter she was a different cat. Oh, and as a side note, we also got another cat that day, who doubled in weight and now has a blog named after him…
I remember reading an article in the New York Times a few years ago about how house cats evolved from their bigger cousins, and I particularly enjoyed this phrase “With each migration, evolutionary forces morphed the pantherlike patriarch of all cats into a rainbow of species…that led to the most successful cat of all, even though it has mostly forsaken its predatory heritage: the cat that has induced people to pay for its board and lodging in return for frugal displays of affection.”
Most cats I’ve known totally fit that description, including Lincoln. Not Belden, she was like a little dog in her devotedness to me. Following me around the house, snoozing by my head every night. Yet while she was very attached to me, she was definitely not a lap cat, and she did not like to be picked up, but she just loved to be near you. You couldn’t ask for a sweeter pet.
I’ll miss her dragging our socks and shirts around the house (she even did a blanket once or twice!)
I’ll miss being able to count to 20 and have her jump up on the bed within that time period.
I’ll miss her lightning fast cat reflexes.
I’ll miss how she would try to drink out of water glasses, sometimes knocking them over in the process.
I’ll miss seeing her and Lincoln contentedly cuddling next to each other.
I’ll miss watching her venture off the back deck and bravely go out into the wilds of our backyard in the summer.
I’ll miss watching her defend her turf and swipe at Otto when he would get a bit too friendly and try to “play” with her.
I’ll miss her coming to watch Alex’s nightly baths, perching on the toilet and staring as if to say “You mean you actually LIKE splashing around in the water like that?”
I’ll miss her V-8 engine purring motor.
Goodbye Belden – or Bel, The Bel, Belford, Furd, The Great Sock Thief, The Gray Lady, LGC – Little Gray Cat, as we affectionately called her. You’ll always have a special place in our hearts.
(And PS – support your local animal shelters, they have many wonderful animals available for adoption!)