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I've never written a eulogy for a cat before. Part of it is sad, but after watching my daughters cry so much, I wanted to make them laugh a little, too. Out of all the pets we've had-- and that's included rats, a hamster, other cats, lizards, frogs, and a foster dog-- Lily was the one they were most attached to.




Lily, you’re so silly. Silly Lilly. You’re head’s so big and your body so tiny—how do you even hold the thing up? You’re the last one in the box, the runt of the litter, but John and Cady fell in love with you anyway, so off we go. I think you’ll like your new home; it’s big, and there’s two kitties that you can play with, and we’re sure they’ll take care of you (uh-oh—they don’t like you much at first, but eventually Cleo becomes your play buddy, chasing you around in the mornings while Figaro blandly looks on).





Silly little Lily. Why are you chasing dust motes in sunbeams? You remind me of a Jack Russell Terrier jumping up to catch a Frisbee. And my goodness—I’ve never seen such a puny little cat jump five feet straight up a sliding glass door to attempt to catch moths fluttering on the other side. The way you act surprises me, for I’ve too long had domestic longhairs, who are much calmer and nonchalant than tabbies. Please stay out of the tomato plants; they’re not there for you to eat!





Willy Nilly Lily—you’ve become our little doggie, running around like a nut, jumping on the swivel chair whenever John teases and says, “I’m gonna get you!”, playing hide and seek as he spins the chair around, your pupils fully dilated, darting back and forth to catch his hand. You love this playtime; you love your daddy. Your nickname is Slurpy, because we can hear you drinking water from a room away. Your gallop can be heard across the house, and I laugh almost every time I fill your food bowl and you come a-running. You’re more than a nut, you suffer from multiple personality disorder. Why won’t you let us pick you up? Did the girls pick you up too much when you were a kitten, and it’s payback time? We can’t pick you up, but our laps are perfect beds for you. You crazy little thing.





You never forgot your momma, did you? Flannel blankets must feel like her; I don’t know how long it took you to quit nursing them. Your favorite spot is by the sliding glass doors, where you can sit in the morning sun or hunker down and talk to the birdies that flock to our yard. I think your favorites are the doves—they’re nice and plump, aren’t they? I don’t think you like the mockingbirds, who take to dive-bombing you when we take you on a trip outside.





Poor Lily. Cleo’s passing really affected you. Why did you scream at Figaro? Were you upset and confused about your buddy being gone, or were you just upset at being left alone with the crabby old lady cat? You may have been scared then, but you were fearless when we temporarily housed Daisy, and whenever Roxy came to visit with my parents. Doggies are nothing when you have sharp little claws, an intimidating hiss, and a speedy little body.





Little Lily. You were so sweet and small and endearing, even to a woman who didn’t want another cat. You talked so much but they weren’t human words—or did you ever try to tell us you were sick? We thought your skinny little body was finally plumping out—not that you had an infection. You waited too long to stop eating and start sleeping most of the time. You were so good and quiet in the car while we drove to the vet—I told you it would be okay and you listened. I wish that I’d been able to give you a proper goodbye, instead of simply saying, “Bye, Lily—be good,” and giving you a kiss on the nose. You didn’t know why you had to stay at the vet; why you were X-rayed; why your world suddenly turned black.





Did you see us yesterday when the girls and I came to visit? I saw your paws twitch; I saw your eyes move. I wish you’d come out of the anesthesia enough to know for sure. I hope you saw us there, Lily, and I hope you don’t hate us for leaving you there. I hope the anticipation of returning home to the ones you knew loved you, and you loved, kept you happy in those final minutes before you died.





You’re back home now, Lily; our scrawny little kitty. You’re next to Cleo, who spent so much time playing with you and whose loss we know you felt very deeply. If there’s a kitty heaven I hope ya’ll are up there playing now; maybe she’s teaching you to catch and actually eat bugs, something you never were able to master. Maybe you’ve found the softest flannel blanket and are laying on it, enjoying its warmth and comfort. Maybe you’re just tearing like a bat out of hell around the place and enjoying the freedom, unbound by a house and unlimited by walls. Or maybe you’re just enjoying a clump of grass; you used to tear into that stuff like it was going out of fashion.





Why say rest in peace, silly little Lily? You had a good life. Ours is forever touched and changed by it, and we'll miss you.


------
"S is for SUSAN who perished of fits
T is for TITUS who flew into bits..."--The Gashlycrumb Tinies, by Edward Gorey


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Comments

The following comments are for "Silly Little Kitty"
by Elphaba

very moving
This was very moving. That's all I'm going to say, as a person who over the years had adopted unloved strays, who swore each and every time, after watching them grow old and die, that he would never own another pet.

( Posted by: gsmonks [Member] On: February 14, 2004 )

Hmm
gs-- thanks for reading and understanding. I keep getting choked up.

RightingIt-- As someone who doesn't rate blogs, I have no idea what to say to you. Other than I think it's pretty callous and rude to give a rating of 2, sans explanation why, to someone who's mourning the *very* sudden death of her pet. This was something personal I wanted to share, because I loved this silly cat more than I thought I did; not an exercise in writing. It would have been better, more understandable, and less hurtful if you hadn't rated it at all.

( Posted by: Elphaba [Member] On: February 14, 2004 )

My opinion...
My condelences, first and foremost. In my humble opinion, I think that if a piece is well-written, as this is, then it's deserving of a higher rating than one or two regardless of whether or not I was down with the content. Either way I'd leave a comment - but that's just me.

-SD

( Posted by: strangedaze [Member] On: February 14, 2004 )

I'd have to agree
Elphaba~

As far as Righting It's tactics in rating work, I'd have to say that he seems to like nothing more than to rate at one end of the spectrum or another all based on a very inexplicable personal guidelines. I wouldn't take his obvious disdain for anything not "simplistically beautiful" to heart. Such opinions are seldom worth bothering with in my experience. My condolences for your loss.

Bart

( Posted by: Bartleby [Member] On: February 14, 2004 )

Yup
Bart-- You're absolutely right. My response to the rating should have been, "Whatever." I need to keep your words more in mind. Thank you.

strangedaze-- Thank you, too, for the condolences and for reading.

Clairesbest-- I'm sorry I made you cry, but your comment made me smile. You sound like my grandpa, who was the neighborhood "keeper of the cats". He didn't have a ton of animals, but there wasn't a stray he'd turn away.

You know, my husband wrote something for Lily, too. It's strange that we both did it. Just like Cleo, who I still think I see out of the corner of my eye occasionally, it's going to be a long while before I get used to Lily not being around.

( Posted by: Elphaba [Member] On: February 14, 2004 )

Vote Smote
Surely someone who felt strongly enough to vote 2 would have also left a comment?

Elphaba should not worry about those Litdotorg's mutineers. And I think we all know that Elphaba writes in the 8-10 category 80-100% of the time.

( Posted by: jbicko [Member] On: February 16, 2004 )

Reasons
Pen-- I have a few reasons in mind but they'd probably be offensive. ;) Why did you take down your reasons? I read them this morning and thought they were hilarious. I would have scored them a '10'.

jbicko-- you're too sweet. :)

( Posted by: Elphaba [Member] On: February 16, 2004 )

A Beautiful Eulogy
I'm so sorry about the loss of your cat. I can't begin to think of what I would do if I lost one of mine.

Actually, reading about your Lily reminded me so much of my Anna I had to jump up and make sure she was still here.

This entry is so touching and well done, I find it impossible to understand how anyone could have given this a 2. Did he even read this? To the end? If so, I find the subsequent rating to be a cruel and heartless act. I wish I could rate this with a 10 many more times.

( Posted by: hazelfaern [Member] On: February 16, 2004 )

Thanks
Thanks, hazelfaern. I don't even have to say 'Enjoy your Anna', because I'm sure you already know that. :)

Ack, I'm waiting for the day I don't tear up.

Pen-- :D

( Posted by: Elphaba [Member] On: February 16, 2004 )

kitty
elphaba, i had a tear, too.
thanks for your words on lily. so beautiful... some really lovely imagery. i like the moths.

inspired me to do some writing on my own cats. i grew up with quite a houseful... many shovel-trips to the burial ground in the yard.

my warmest,

ark

( Posted by: ark [Member] On: February 17, 2004 )

awww
I remember when my cat died...luekemia. It sucked. And yeah, we just had to leave her there at the vet's, there was nothing we could do...

( Posted by: evil_bacteria [Member] On: February 17, 2004 )

Thanks
Thanks, ya'll.

Ark-- we have a pet cemetery, too. It sucks.

evil bacteria-- I found out the next morning that Lily died minutes after the girls and I left. The vet said he didn't say how weak her pulse was because the girls were already upset. Although I understand that, I wish he could have at least pulled me aside and told me she was going. I would have rather been there.

( Posted by: Elphaba [Member] On: February 18, 2004 )

relationship
The bitch about having a relationship with a pet is that we nearly always will outlive our furry (or feathery or finny) loved one. We've been down this road a few times, and your tribute to the journey is impressive.

As for being there when Lilly died, I've been told that death is a private moment, one that individuals (human and otherwise) often wait to be alone for. It's entirely possible that Lilly hung in 'til you and the kids could see her, say goodbye, and waited until you had gone to make her final exit.

Nice work, and my condolences.

( Posted by: cybele [Member] On: March 23, 2004 )

Nice
The first sight of the title made me think this will be a cute and funny piece. But it's actually like a nice goodbye writing. I'm sure u miss Lily alot..it seems it's such a cute little thing unbound by rules and free from worries! I feel sorry why we ever put them to slp and they don't even knw a single thing..

I have a puppy myself, i would be devastated if it dies..can't imagine it..

( Posted by: ^white [Member] On: March 27, 2004 )

Silly Little Kittie
Elphaba, This came up when I pressed Random readings, I am so glad I read it. I have never been a real cat lover (till now that is) I couldn't read the screen my eyes were filled with tears. What a beautiful tribute to little Lily. Thank you for sharing this.

Nae

( Posted by: nae411 [Member] On: July 16, 2004 )

Pets Passing
Elphaba,

I followed comments here, as it was posted before I joined the site. I don't think I have ever been without at least two pets in the family, sometimes a lot more. We had dogs and also cats untill my wife became allergic to them around 10 years ago and even then untill our last cat Sammy died. Now amongst other pets we have two dogs.

Over the years this means that we have had to say goodbye to dozens of family members and it never gets any easier. It does, however, make you value true love and friendship.

To me all living spirit is part of the 'whole' I so often write about. In one comment I even said words to the effect that when I finally go, I'll be going to a zoo! However, it is deeper than this and our final reunion may suprise us all!

If I can comment on another poets work about why God gave us tears, maybe this is the reason, to confirm we care.

Ivor

( Posted by: ivordavies [Member] On: July 16, 2004 )

Silly Kitty
Hi Elphaba. I know it's been awhile since you've posted this, I kinda came upon it by accident. But this was so beautiful I couldn't not comment on it. It surely sounds like to me that Lilly was as lucky to have you in her life as your family did with hers. This was very good work. Take care.

( Posted by: FurryNippleRing [Member] On: May 4, 2006 )





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