Calcifer 2005-2011:A Tribute

Five years ago, Chris and I were a year into our dating relationship. We wanted to take it to the next level. So, naturally, this meant adopting an animal together. We both lived in small, separate apartments. Hence, having a dog was out (especially because Chris isn't really a "dog person"). Neither of us wanted any animals of the rodent variety and goldfish..well...those don't count as pets and therefore couldn't really help us develop our relationship (please note, we didn't actually adopt out of relationship development strategy...just kind of because we both wanted an animal). Therefore, the only obvious option was to adopt a kitty. And come to find out, Chris is actually kind of a "cat guy"- rare breed, for sure.  

We took a trip to the Oregon Humane Society and soon met, Matt, the cat. He was a small, black and white, long haired kitty, with wild whiskers and a cautiously snuggly personality. I think it's safe to say that we both fell in love with him right away. And I had never been a "cat person"...you can blame the elderly lady my mom use to care for, who had about 15+ of the SCARIEST cats I had ever been around, always lurking in the shadows, waiting to pounce on me or hiss frighteningly from invisibility.

For some reason, the staff at the Human society didn't think "Matt" was quite lap cat enough for us. We agreed we would "try out" a few more kitties before finalizing our decision. I only remember one of the other cats...a slender, short haired black cat. That cat was lap-cat-on-steroids, whose only mission was to snuggle and be pet. Not for us. We held Matt one more time and knew he was the one, so we signed all the papers, wrote the check and took him to my apartment. Then, we decided that "Matt" just couldn't be his name. We had recently watched the Japanese anime, "Howl's Moving Castle" and we remembered one of the characters in the story was named Calcifer. As soon as we said it, we knew that was the perfect feline name for him. And so, he has been Calcifer, since April 2005 (he was 7 months old when we brought him home).

Since then, Calcifer has been with us through the whole of our dating experience, getting engaged, married, having a baby, and moving into our first new home...our most momentous rites of passage in adulthood, thus far. Safe to say, he's been our family and woven into our very lives.  

And it hasn't been until he died suddenly (on June 29, 2011) that I have realized how very much I (we) loved him and how very much of a presence he had in our family. I NEVER thought I would say these kinds of things about a cat. And I never thought I would cry this much over a cat. I also never thought he would die this soon- figured we had another good 10 years in him.  

However, yesterday, very unexpectedly, while Claire and I were out running errands, Calcifer laid down and died. I don't know what made his heart stop beating but I miss him terribly and wish he could still be a part of our family.  Being that I stay at home with Claire I kind of also stay at home with Calcifer...and since he's passed I have noticed how much a part of our day he has been.  I constantly find myself looking in the usual spots, expecting him to be there, then sad when I remember. 

Claire doesn't know yet. We've been talking about how to tell her. So far today, she hasn't even asked where he is at; Calcifer is often on his own and not seen for hours at a time. However, tonight I think, together, we will tell her that we don't know what happened, but that he has passed away, we're sad about it because that means we won't see him anymore but we will always remember him and will always be able to talk about him. If she asks any follow-up questions we'll try to be as briefly honest with her as we can. I definitely don't want to sugar coat it or makeup a story about kitty-heaven but I don't want to scare her or give her reason to be concerned.

I guess, this is a big rite of passage for Claire. A firsthand experience of death. Whew.

Edit: We DID break the news to Claire.  It went pretty well.  She was sad but it was short-lived.  I'm glad we were honest with her. 

Things I loved about Calcifer:

His INSANE whiskers

He would always have to lay on something...like, if there was a piece of paper on the ground he would have to lay there, specifically, he loved curly up in backpacks, my breastfeeding pillow, etc.

He little gave us hugs...would climb behind us on the couch, put a paw on each of our shoulders then nuzzle his head into our necks and purr.

He was just cuddly enough, stand-offish enough, sassy enough, and playful enough.

He was so great with Claire...always kind of casually interested and hovered near her since we brought her home.

He loved to play....I regret that the past year we never really played with him.

He was such a pretty boy...and as much as we contemplated making him an outdoor cat, we knew he wouldn't have the chops to make it because he was the loungiest, softest, wimpiest little feline ever.

He would curl up right on our heads at night and purr loudly into our ears.

I loved the slow creeping walk over the tops of our bodies as he crept into our bed.

He was always so patient with Claire and all the other kids that loved him.

How, from behind, it looked like he was wearing parachute pants.

His crazy and adorable sleeping positions.

How he turned into a MANIAC kitty if you put your hand under your sleeve or a towel or blanket...he would go into attack mode and wrestle your hand like crazy.

How he would stare at you directly for infinite periods of time...and it was kinda creepy, but I loved it. 

And so much more...

Our nick-names for him:
Kitty Boy
Kitty kitty meow meow

And now, Calcifer's life with us, in pictures:

Calcifer and Claire:

Calcifer's Last Picture:

We love you, kitty boy. Rest in peace. 


Sue from Oregon said...

Katie, I am so sorry. Hugs.

Jessi said...

Oh man. This sucks. Sorry :( I know what you mean about pets and how they become a part of the family. SUCH a beautiful cat.

wendy said...

I'm so sorry about your cat. He was funny, what with his shoulder massages, and darting around like a smoke monster at opportune moments of LOST watching.

lafalda said...

I'm sorry, honey. : (

kranberrys said...

I'm so sorry =( Even though I called him Lucifer... I will still miss him "bothering" me when I visit =( Sorry Kate ...

katieoz said...

Thank you all for your sweet words! Wendy, I love that you remembered us joking about that at the LOST party! awww...I miss our little smoke monster :)

shan070877 said...

I'm so sorry! I can only imagine what you must be feeling. Hope you and your family are healing well! XOXO


Designed by 100 Web Hosting