circle of life-ish (or live fish)

I wasn’t sure how Catie would deal with the loss of Teenie. She’s known that cat her entire life. We talked for several days beforehand about how Teenie was very old and sick, and how it was almost time for her to go to Kitty Heaven. But I was dreading telling her about it when it happened. The poor kid has been through quite enough over the past year, she deserves a break.

She took it all really well at first. She knew it was coming, so it wasn’t a total shock.

But the next day, she walked into the room and said, “Mommy, I just don’t feel like myself without Teenie here.” I told her that I knew exactly what she meant. Then she burst into tears. There wasn’t anything I could do except hold her while she cried for a long time.

She asked if since Teenie had died, could she get a puppy?

I said no way, kiddo, sorry. Mommy is responsible for cleaning up quite enough poop around these parts. We aren’t adding a puppy to the mix.

She said, then can I get a hamster?

I said no, because hamsters stink and Mommy doesn’t want to clean its cage.

She said, then can I have a fish?

Sigh. Damn it.

I’m not made of stone, y’all.

Internet, meet our newest family member(s)…

(See the 3 blobs at the top of the green aquarium plant? Yeah. Them.)

Their names are Mario, Luigi, and Yoshi. Catie named them herself. Obviously.

So, yeah. Fish. At least they’re really low-maintenance pets, right?

a girl and her cats

It occurred to me recently that I haven’t written much (if at all) about the dynamic between Catie and the cats.

When Catie was a baby, Beaumont was her buddy. At first, he was just curious about this new strange thing we’d brought into the house.

Beaumont sniffing the baby

They quickly fell in love with each other. They were playmates.

Two kitty-cats

He would comfort her when she was sick.

Cate and Beaumont having a cuddle

And after she became mobile, he followed her around all over the place. He seemed to get nervous that she might wander off.

being followed by her constant companion

I would take Catie for walks around our neighborhood and Beaumont would follow right alongside with us. This was when we lived in the sticks, so we generally didn’t pass that many people, but a couple of our neighbors stopped and commented that they’d never seen anyone take their cat for a walk before.

I love it when she and the cat exchange a look

In fact, when we moved out here from Seattle and decided to re-home a couple of our cats, it was understood that even though Beaumont is painfully stupid and prone to annoying the crap out of me and Dave, we couldn’t possibly get rid of him because he and Catie had such a bond.

Unfortunately, their relationship shifted when we moved to North Carolina. I’m not sure if it was the trauma of the move, or if Catie just got a little too big and manhandled him too roughly (both, probably), but he’s a little skittish around her now. I imagine that’ll change again, as time goes on.

But the one dynamic that hasn’t changed is the one between her and Teenie. Teenie is my cat, always has been. I’ve had her since I was 20 years old. She seemed to understand from the time I first brought Catie home from the hospital that this new little creature belonged to “us,” somehow.

The Three Nappers

When I was breastfeeding, I’d typically nurse Catie sitting in bed. I just found it to be more comfortable there than anywhere else. Teenie would sit on the bed in front of me, and if anyone came near me while I was nursing (including Dave and my mom, both of whom Teenie knew and trusted), she would growl, hiss, and swat them away.

couch nap

And over the past 3 years, that hasn’t changed at all. Teenie still loves Catie, and lets her totally manhandle her. When we come downstairs in the morning, the first thing they do is curl up on the couch together.

a girl & her cat

Teenie is getting pretty old for a cat, she’ll be 14 this year. And I know it’s part of nature, and that our pets aren’t supposed to out-live us, but I dread the day that I have to explain the concept of Kitty-Cat Heaven to my daughter. Because seeing the two of them all happily snuggled up on the couch together is one of the highlights of my day.