Just You and Me, Cat

Bobcat’s napping on the bed and I can hear his soft snoring coming from the bedroom.  I’ve got KXFM, Laguna’s radio station playing Americana music in the kitchen, but it still seems too quiet; too still.  Not that I like loudness or lots of activity around me while I’m writing, but something about having two cats, one in the bedroom, one on my desk, both snoozing while I write brought just the right amount of background reverberations.  And their complementing personalities, Lexington, protective and pensive, Bobcat, silly and boyish was the perfect energy mix to fill these four walls—and my heart with harmony, and lots of love.

Lex, my efficient assistant…

It’s been over thirty years since I’ve had only one cat in my household.  Ever since that day in the late ‘80s, when I let an abandon sweet-faced kitty into my apartment who instantly connected with my one cat, Frankie, I learned that one is not enough, and have had two or three cats ever since (read bios of Frankie, Punkie, Lexington, Topper and Bella under “Meet the Family”).

Frankie and Punkie

I’m not the only one adapting to Lexington’s absence.  Bobcat outwardly grieved for several weeks, not leaving the bed except to take care of basic needs, but even his appetite waned for several days.

Bobcat on Lexington’s cozy pad

Then a couple of weeks ago, I was making dinner and heard funny thumping noises in the living room, where I found Bobcat whacking Lexington’s green tennis ball across the floor. When he caught me spying on his newfound sports activity, he ran over to me and rubbed up against my legs over and over.  I knelt down and gave him long, tight hug.  The sound of his purring rivaled the rumble of a Harley Davidson.  Bobcat had never even gone near Lexington’s tennis ball before, which made witnessing his first move towards healing extra special.

Bobcat has been in my life for about six years. During this time, I believe he understood my tight connection with Lexington and respectfully, didn’t interfere. But now, in our solitude together, Bobcat and I are bonding.  We are building a routine.  He now signals to me when he wants to play ball.  I toss the tennis ball—he chases it and when that gets boring (after about one minute) then he attacks the toy mice that I’ve scattered around the floor.  After I crawl into bed at night, he stands guard at the front door, watching for ominous critters (a giant raccoon recently sauntered up the walkway) and when he feels that all is well in the neighborhood, he hops onto the bed and curls up close to me. When Lexington slept next to me, Bobcat would usually sleep closer to the foot of the bed.  I love seeing his personality blossom as his grief lifts, and as he adapts to his new roll in the household as the protector, and I cherish our deepening relationship.

I’m certain that someday, I’ll expand my feline family again.

But for now, Bobcat and I are content to have just each other.


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Lexington’s Departure

As I dipped a teabag into the mug of boiling water, I thought to myself, I need to check on Lexington.  While holding my cup of tea, I walked into the bedroom and stood there dumbfounded for a moment.  The bed was empty.  Then I realize that my mind cleverly tricked itself into forgetting, for a few moments, that Lexington is no longer here; that his spirit was set free from his ailing body.  It’s amazing what the mind can do to protect the grieving heart.

My little lion lost his battle with cancer the afternoon of December 10, 2019, and man, did he ever fight the battle, even up to the moment that Dr. Julie of Home Pet Euthanasia of Southern California arrived at the front gate.  During the hours before Dr. Julie arrived, Lexington, stubbornly insisted on continuing his normal activities.  He wobbled to the front door indicating that he wanted to go outside.  “Anything you want, sweetie,” I told him as I opened the door.  I picked him up and walked onto the grass and laid him down in the newly grown lemon clovers where he used to love to lounge.  I lay next to him, with tears coming down my face, yet smiling to see him finding some joy despite his withered and sickly condition.

April 2019 Lexi and the Lemon Clovers

I brought him inside where he lay on the area rug in the living room, yet, after a few minutes, he got himself in a standing position and slowly walked to the front door, insisting, once again on going outside.  I opened the front door and Lexington continued his wobbly walk down the walk way to the birdbath, me trailing behind him, ready to lend a hand.  But on his own he sauntered on up to his favorite watering hole and took a few licks of water, just as Dr. Julie arrived at the front gate.  I explained to her that despite his seemingly active behavior, he was ready.  Over the past few days he’d become listless.  The day before he’d lost all interest in food, except for some bites of baked chicken that evening of which his tummy rejected at 1:00 a.m.  I was up most the night with him; it was very clear, his little body was shutting down.  Dr. Julie explained it’s common with animals and humans that as we become aware of our impending death, our survival instincts, our will-to-live kicks in.

May 2019 Lex at the Watering Hole

I picked up Lexington and held him gently, yet tightly into my chest.  We walked into the cottage, I placed him on the bed from where he would depart with me and Bobcat by his side.

December 8, 2019, two days before Lexi’s departure and I knew at that time it would be a matter of days.

It’s been not quite a week since Lexington’s departure.  I’m not yet accustomed to his absence, which is profound right now, despite having Bobcat lovingly by my side.  We were tight, me and Lex.  We had a bond from the moment I met him at the adoption center back in March of 2006.  I suspect I will not adapt to his absence anytime soon, but relief that he’s not suffering consoles me.

Little Lion, pictured with his favorite toys, Mr. Wormy and the tennis ball

In loving memory of Lexington, a.k.a Lex, Lexi, Big Lex, Little Lion and Prince Lexington

Thank you to my dear friends and family for your kind and loving support.

I couldn’t do this grieving thing without you…



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Hippie Cat, Horned Cat

“If you’re going to San Francisco / Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair…”

Lyrics from “San Francisco” by Scott McKenzie

Oh the decisions we must make during the Halloween season.  What to be…a faerie, cat lady, a hippie or a devil?  Lucky for me who loves to dress in costume, I got to be my top two choices:  a faerie and a cat lady.  Lexington and Bobcat watched with intrigue as I crafted a flower faerie costume that I wore to one of the most sensational soirees I’ve ever attended.  The theme was “Samhain” the ancient Celtic celebration of harvest and those who’ve passed (which eventually became Halloween as we know it today).  The gathering of witches, wizards, Vikings, elves and faeries was held in a rustic outdoor canyon setting in Laguna Beach.  I felt as though I’d been transported back to the days of Lords and Ladies, to a time when people believed in magic.

On Halloween day, I transformed myself into my alter ego, Cat Lady and had fun at the office acting the part by threatening co-workers with my claws.

Yet, the hippie and devil costume ideas would be not be dismissed.  After all, I had Lexington and Bobcat who would of course partake the dress-up-in-costume Halloween ritual. At first Bobcat resisted.  He just wanted to hang out with his new friends who took-up residence on the sofa during the month of October.

Lexington, although not eager to become a flower child, agreed to participate in the costume ritual, and in his tie-dye and flowers, looked like he could have been seen at Haight-Ashbury during the Summer of Love.

Bobcat, not wanting to be left out and knowing that he was at times, a little devil without the horns, thought it might be fun, for a moment, to be a devil with horns.

The Blue Bell Foundation for Cats had a Halloween party for the volunteers—or was it really for the cats?

But a month before Halloween, cats and dogs were already in costume at the 23rd Annual Pet Parade & Chili Cook-Off, a fundraiser established by the Laguna Board of Realtors Charitable Assistance Fund.  Blue Bell was selected as one of the beneficiaries and had a booth at the event to promote its purpose, which I ran with two other volunteers.  This dog-centric event was graced with the presence of two cat participants, Cody, a Blue Bell resident and Rolo, cat companion of Elizabeth and Cole who adopted him while at CatCon this summer.  Cody handled being in a crowd with cautious curiosity.  Rolo, the epitome of a cool cat thrived among the event-goers.  The fact that he was completely at ease wearing a cowboy costume also spoke volumes to his laid-back purr-sonality. Both cats entered the contest, and Cody, festive in a sport t-shirt thrilled us all by winning first place for most gorgeous senior.

Rolo didn’t place in the contest, but he got plenty of adoration and as far as I’m concerned, a cat that wears cowboy boots is a winner despite the judges’ lack of sensibilities.

And despite the initial “rolling of the eyes” by my two felines when I suggested they get costumed-up with me, they were secretly into it…




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