A week ago, I lost one of my dearest friends. My cat Queenie, my constant companion of these past 19 years, passed away. She left this existence peacefully, but still it has hit me hard. I’ve found some solace reflecting on the 19 years of memories we shared.
Queenie was a unique cat. When I was 12, my family visited our island property for Labor Day. In the middle of the night, my mother heard mewling. Flashlight in hand, we investigated the brush where the noise came from and found a minuscule feral kitten, abandoned by its mother. I thought I saw a second one, but we could not locate her. The next day, I checked again and found the other kitten. That was Queenie.
At four weeks old, she hadn’t been weaned yet and so we had to feed her formula from a bottle. Still, the malnutrition from being abandoned so young stuck with her, and for the rest of her life, she remained a tiny cat—weighing 6 pounds with kitten-like features up until the end.
And I was with her at that end. The last day she could barely move. She hadn’t touched food in 24 hours. I spent the day petting her, scratching her behind the ears like she loved. But I knew it was time.
We took her to the vet, and my mother and I said our goodbyes. The last thing she felt before she was sedated was me kissing the crown of her head as I had done so many times before, a little ritual we had.
Though there is no theological basis for it, I firmly believe that there is a Cat Heaven. There Queenie is a kitten once more, bounding about, happy, doing all the things that cats love to do. But I still miss her.
She was not always the friendliest cat to strangers, possessing a feral heritage. But in the last few years, she mellowed out. She had incredible empathy for the sick, nestling up next to you if you weren’t feeling well. During my long illness in my teenage years, she was always there for me.
I haven’t been able to write—or read for that matter—since she passed. This is, in fact, the first thing I’ve penned since, and believe me, it’s hard to do. I hear about authors finding catharsis in writing, helping them cope with their grief, but for me, that’s not the case. I’ve put my WIP novella on hold and I don’t know when I’ll return.
I will always remember Queenie. She was the greatest cat a boy could have. My new kitten Cleo has helped me with my sorrow, but I’m afraid that no pet can ever fill the hole in my heart.
I love you, Queenie.