goodbye to biddie

4 01 2007

[Edit 2017: There used to be images in this post, but LJ gave up either storing or agreeing to host pictures stored there but viewed from elsewhere sometime during the last 10 years, and they’re all just paper prints in old albums somewhere now.]


“biddie” is just one of the many names kassala was called over the last 9 years; i won’t say “answered to,” because she never answered to anything at all, except on occasion the other cat’s diminutive, because he does come when he’s called, and she was always smart enough to know if i was calling him, it was likely for something she wanted too. she was also “kassy,” “sassy,” “bumper,” “bumpkin,” “boo,” “puska,” “puska-lou,” “pooh,” “pooper,” “princess,” “princesca,” & on her nasty days (there were plenty) “princess butthead.” cael used to call her “kissyface,” because she always had a pink tongue for an offered finger; her tendencies toward sabotauge meant she was also called “pissyface” & not infrequently “goddamnitkassala!” lately i’d been talking to her a lot through the bars of her carrier, on our way to or from one vet or another, and then her name was always “sweet girl.” her real name is the name of a state in sudan that i know nothing about; when eric and i “rescued” her from under the dusty fishtanks at the pet shop in radford that had taken her in from the back alley but hadn’t had her shots done yet & so couldn’t sell her (and didn’t really want to–they gave her to us free when we agreed to buy a bag of cat food on our way out the door) we spent a few days debating names, decided the cute ones weren’t dignified enough & the dignified ones not cute enough, & held her up to the world map on the wall to let her choose her own.

there has never been anything about this little cat that wasn’t royal, from her bearing that first day, dusty-gunk in all of her whiskers, to the distain with which she eyed my efforts to lure her out from behind the woodstove with a cat-treat this morning, to the degree to which she has always been a royal pain in the ass, and nobody’s going to miss having their backpacks, gym bags, rugs, bean-bag chairs, and bathtubs peed on in bouts of kitty-displeasure caused by no discernable impetus. but we will miss her lying on our books and papers and curling up in our laps and jackets, her sleeping on the pillow beside my head, her instant purr whenever she was touched, her definitive preferance for boys, all boys, any boys (and cheshirrrecat, whose stomping-boots apparently qualified her to switch camps), the way when she was small she couldn’t move without making one little trilling noise or another, so that she resembled nothing so much as cars and robots on the jetsons, her single-minded determination when she had a goal in sight, her fierce little kitten-face when birds flew by the screen or landed on the porch just past the glass, the way she’d reach out a paw to touch you if you sat down next to her & didn’t touch her first, the way she loved tuna-juice, bags to lie on, boxes, biscuits, pdxstraycat, sangeethadevi, spoonboy514 (her surrogate boy, who used to make a whole-body lap when 24 was on), porches, filmy curtains, leaves, open doors, daring escapes 2 feet into the yard, chin-scratches (especially from anyone allergic to cats), and television (because it created laps).

when she was so sick last month, refusing to eat and refusing to leave her pillow (we used to pull it out into the living room during the day so she could be with people & pull it into one of our rooms at night for the same reason), i didn’t think she was going to make it home for christmas, & i was pretty sad about that. distasteful as the 7-hour car-ride tended to be, she always did like pine needles & tree-water & sitting amongst the packages right in the middle of everything; thanks to the steroids she was on, while they worked, she spent christmas chewing needles, drinking out of the tree, & sitting princessed in the middle of the packages, watching our every move (i have pictures). also thanks to those steroids, and the timing of her decline with our vacation-season, she was alert and friendly on new year’s eve, and came out of the kitchen to say hello when she heard eric’s voice–& so she got to see her very first boy again, a feat i could never otherwise have engineered, since, the rest of the year, he lives in athens, georgia.

home at mom’s house was also a terrific place to be because, instead of continuing our ongoing parade of nice but distant strangers, the vet we saw three times in the last two weeks is both a fellow tj-kid and a personal friend of mine (please send hugs to dr. michael alt at the burke veterinary clinic), & so i got to have my bad news and hard decisions and sad last minutes with someone who also knows what i look like when i laugh, not just when i cry. to kassala’s delight, the patient, gentle, and very sweet dr. alt is also a boy, and to express her pleasure at this fact, she nuzzled his hand last. never let it be said that little missy didn’t know exactly what she liked, and how to get it.

her royal majesty the cat




18 responses

4 01 2007

“We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own,live within a fragile circle, easily and often breached. Unable to accept its awful gaps, we still would live no other way. We cherish memory as the only certain immortality, never fully understanding the necessary plan”
– Irving Townsend-
We never have control. You choose to love as well as you can for as long as you can, and that is the only real difference we can make, and the only one that lasts.

4 01 2007

I’m sorry about your beautiful girl. It was a real gift that she got to have a wonderful last Christmas and New Year’s, at least.

4 01 2007

oh tyra i’m so very sorry.
you have given her a good life filled with love, food, and pampering. the little ones can ask no more of us than that.
prayers for a light heart full of fond memories.

4 01 2007

because of this, and all the pieces and memories and purrs and love that inspired this, she’ll continue to walk with us from room to room, sitting in our laps and purring on our pillows.
Love to you, my beautiful girl.

4 01 2007

Oh noes

4 01 2007

Thank you for this post.
–smiles and tears–

4 01 2007

i only knew her a short while, but i always enjoyed her company. my sympathies.

4 01 2007

Well, I had to find this icon just for you 🙂

4 01 2007

Farewell, Princess
Aw… I’ll always remember her as the sneaky little purring princess peering out from inside my empty wine box as I departed your house way back when in the ‘cuse. But I’m glad I said hello to her one more time on her last night.

4 01 2007

Bye Bye Pooska
Sending you hugs roomie. I was so sad when I received your text today. I think my mom and brother might have been even sadder:( Just the other day they fell in love with kassala when I showed them a picture of her being “invisible” behind the living room curtain. they couldn’t stop “awwwwing” and laughing at the cuteness.
I felt that Kassala and I had a special bond beyond my laundry basket– a bond that can only exist between two divas.
But right now i’m thinking about what a great mom you were and how much kassala knew she was loved…
I left a message on your phone. I will try to call you when I get clearance…

4 01 2007

I hope you’re doing okay. I’m glad you were able to spend lots of time with her recently, I’m sure she appriciated it. 🙂 This is a great post about your memories of the princess. Thanks for sharing it with us all! 🙂

5 01 2007

I’m sorry to hear about your little girl, and I’m glad you were there for her through it all. This was a beautiful eulogy.

5 01 2007

Thanks so much for sharing all those wonderful images, I can’t imagine how tough it must have been to let go.

5 01 2007


5 01 2007

i’m very sorry for your loss, tyra.
*great big hugs*

5 01 2007

empathy tears…..

6 01 2007

you are one of the great loves of my life! the other one lives in atlanta!

7 01 2007

oh wow. I’m so sorry. *sad face* She was so wee and little. *hug*

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