Welcome, fellow travelers on the grief journey, and a special welcome to anyone who is new to The Grieving Room. We meet every Monday evening. Whether your loss is recent or many years ago, whether you have lost a person or a pet, or even if the person you are "mourning" is still alive ("pre-grief" can be a very lonely and confusing time) you can come to this diary and process your grief in whatever way works for you. You don't have to respond directly to anything written in the diary: share whatever you need to share. We can't solve each other's problems, but we can be a sounding board and a place of connection.We are getting tired of needing to post farewell diaries for four-leggeds. This makes the fourth in less than a year. We are, of course, heartsick.
Last May, 2012, Charles and I lost our cat Pest. His brother Tom remained (and remains) alive and well, but without the brother he'd been with since birth, he was desperately lonely. In June, we went to the Humane Society from which we'd adopted the boys, hoping to adopt a pair of kittens, but they didn't have any. Instead, one of their volunteers, on hearing about Tom, recommended that we adopt an adult female cat, not too old, and recommended one cat in particular. That cat was a soft, long-haired gray surrendered by her owner due to the owner's ill health, who is now named Daenerys, Dany (we pronounce it "Danny") for short, and who is currently asleep on our bed.
But there was a near-constant loud meowing coming from one crate out in the main room, and I had to go see what all the hollering was about. A small black puss was yelling her head off, demanding that someone come over and pay her some attention, or at the least, just come over. I decided we needed to see and meet both cats, the black and the grey. We wound up taking both home with us that afternoon. The black one was quickly renamed Vyonne after one of my Dungeons & Dragons characters, a drow assassin.
Vyonne, we learned, had been picked up as a very pregnant stray just a short time before. The Humane Society said she was a year old, but she was tiny and didn't look like a year old to me. I figured her for six to eight months. She'd been spayed late-term three days before we saw her and she'd spent enough time as a Tacoma street cat to pick up a number of feral behaviors and stop kitten behaviors like playing. I knew we were taking a chance on her, but something told me to go ahead.
Vyonne, from the first, was afraid of very little. Her first nickname was "7 pounds of fierce"; she'd run at dogs and other cats to attack first rather than take a chance. Tom was one of the first to be attacked, when she saw him, twice her size, down at the end of the hallway. After she stood up for herself a few times, the two became good friends and would eat from the same small plate at the same time, wrestle, and wash each other.
I knew she'd need a lot of working with closely, so after the first night home, which she and Dany spent lying next to and atop one another next to the toilet in the bathroom, I brought Vyonne into the bedroom several times a day and placed her on the bed, where I could give her love, petting, scritches, massage, and reassurance. She gradually relearned some kitten behaviors, including playing; the first time she batted at a cat toy was cause for celebration! She also learned to do things we didn't want her to do, especially chew on hard-to-replace power cords. I learned to hide my electronics power cords under the covers, where she was unlikely to get them. She learned gradually to trust us, and our elderly Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever became her best pal.
The first time we heard her eat, we roared with laughter. The little noisy puss would talk as she ate, sounding for all the world like "nom nom nom nom nom". We fell over laughing listening to her.
Vyonne loved to wash skin and fur, especially if it belonged to a dog. She'd often sit on the edge of the bed and lean way over to wash a dog's face, putting a paw on the dog's forehead to hold him or her down. All the retrievers were fair game.
There were places she loved to sleep, like the top of Charles' dirty laundry, and places she couldn't stand to be and would avoid any way possible, such as the sheepskin I have on my side of the bed in winter. That never stopped her from washing the sheepskin, and she gradually became comfirtable resting her head on it.
She was a true snuggle-puss, the more so as time went on. The last few weeks she was here saw her walking across my clavicle to get to my left side so she could curl up next to my pillow, rest her head on my shoulder, and fall asleep purring loudly in my ear. From "little noisy puss" and "little funny puss" she became "little purring puss", and I'll always remember her loving presence next to me when I was going to sleep.
I love dogs and cats, but some just grab me. Vyonne grabbed me and wouldn't let go from the first.
We last saw her just as I returned from eye surgery on Feb. 26. I had gone in to lie down as Charles let Bitty out; Vyonne clawed st the inside of the door until Charles opened it for her so she could run out after Bitty, as was her wont. But when Bitty came back in, Vyonne didn't follow, but sat at the top of the driveway at the edge of the woods. That was the last time either of us saw her.
I do not think we have much hope. We have reported her missing everywhere, including to Home Again, the company which made her chip. We have looked and looked, searched with and without a dog, called and called, meowed and meowed. There has been no sign. The woods are full of owls and coyotes and we have lost hope. It is time for this diary.
But oh, my little shoulder puss, my little purring puss, I'd give the world to have you back!