An Angel Comes. An Angel Goes.
It was an unseasonably sunny—cool yet warm enough—early fall Sunday morning in Seattle. I had heard tales about a beautiful young calico-tabby-mix cat that had been hanging around the Villa Capri. People were putting food and water out on the landings, as well as boxes—I guess for it to sleep in. I had no personal sighting yet—only stories. People were saying they would see her, but could never touch her—she was skittish. They said she looked very young too. Not seeing her—that was soon to change.
I had lived in Seattle for a few years now. I had moved off Capital Hill and into the Eastlake neighborhood. I liked my apartment at the Villa Capri and I liked the neighborhood. It was on the eastern shore of Lake Union and my windows faced the water. I couldn’t see it, mind you, but knowing it was there was a comfort. A short two block jaunt and I could walk along its shores. All in all it was a groovy little neighborhood nestled in a very sweet spot between downtown and Greenlake, where I was working at Westwind Computing.
Even though I liked Seattle, the Pacific Northwest weather was not my best friend and more to the point—a near lethal enemy. I battled with depression for a good part of time I lived in the Emerald City. Adding insult to injury, I could not take antidepressants. They had the opposite effect on me—making my depression worse—no matter how many different types this lab rat ate. At one point I said—enough! It was a frightening and lonely place to be—on so many levels.
Meanwhile, back at the Villa Capri … on that—cool yet warm enough day—I was going about my morning ritual—breakfast, coffee, shower, dress, and other minutia—and I heard it. I heard a squeaking timid little meowing voice from outside my bedroom window. Having heard the stories about the young mystery cat I decided to open the door an peak out. I wanted to get a glimpse of said mythical creature. As soon as I opened the door a lightning bolt of fur ran right in! She glimpsed the bedroom as she ran by and slowed as she reached the living room. And as pretty as you please, she sauntered up to the couch and jumped up. Within moments she just started licking & cleaning herself—as if she belonged.
For the remainder of the day I left the front door open so she could take leave if she so desired. But this tough little street urchin stayed on the couch for a good part of the day, with occasional trips of exploration. A few times she ventured down the hallway towards the open front door and freedom. She would get to spot where carpet ended and the front door tile began, look both ways, and RUN back into the living room, jumping back on the couch. With each encounter at the door—she made a choice. My heart sang, and I laughed each time, watching her go through her process.
I gave her her space, as I remember. I wanted her to stay, but gave her the space to go, if she chose. Several hours passed, it was nearly 4:00 PM by now. I decided—she had made her choice—and she chose me. I knew that PetCo closed early on Sunday. If she was staying, I would need supplies and food. I hopped in my 4-Runner and off I went.
Came back with kitty litter, a large litter tray, liners, food, bowls, a few toys and a smile on my face. And that’s how it came to be—this Angel in furry disguise—came to choose me, and make apartment fourteen of the Villa Capri her home too.
Not knowing whether I had a boy or a girl cat I decided to name her Angel. Because she was just that—sent from the ether of Emerald City streets to appear at my door at the moment I needed her most. She was the beginning of a healing process for us both. I gave her food, shelter, stability, a warm lap, mega-pets, with much love. She gave me in return, all the things I needed the most—companionship and love—unconditional love.
Through the years Angel and I saw many things come and go. We saw the budding of our relationship and the blooming of the one between my soon to be partner Chris. She saw the coming of a new “brother” Mason, and a new Alki beachfront home with the union of households when Chris and I moved in together. She also saw this happy family move back to her old turf in Eastlake, eight months later. Angel also experienced the passing of Mason and the arrival of brother and sister tag team, Rocky and Rose. And through it all, she was still—my Angel—my savior.
A few years ago Chris and I split up after ten years together. In the process, some incredibly tough decision had to be made. We now had three furry children we were responsible for, and a condo to short sell. We decided Angel would stay with Chris and I would take Rocky and Rosie with me to New Jersey. It was one of the toughest decisions I had to make in my life. Angel had started bonding with Chris when Rocky and Rose came into the picture. Rocky and Rose started bonding with me—especially Rocky. We thought at one point I would take Angel and Rocky because they were such buddies. But we didn’t want to split up blood either. I could not take all three cats into such a small apartment & neither could Chris. And this is how it came to be. Angel went with Chris and Rocky and Rose came with me.
During that time, Chris took good care of the “Bubby Cat” (one of her many names) and she adapted quite nicely to being the only cat in the household. Missy B had the run of the house and that was fine by her!
It came to pass that work and other obligations were taking more and more of Chris’ time and kept him away from home and Angel. Realizing this wasn’t fair to her, Chris consulted with me and began the search for a new loving home for Angel. I wanted so much to reunite her with Rocky and Rose, but economics and space dictated that outcome. After some time, Chris did find a loving couple in the Seattle area to give Angel a new home.
Angel found herself in a new home, with new people and another new kitten she needed to get use to. But over the next several months Angel fit right in. In this house she even got yard privileges! To acquire this freedom, Angel begrudgingly acquiesced to wearing a collar. Okay, there may have been a little protest. Finally, Angel could take up bird watching and stalking for real, now in her later years. And if that weren’t enough—the fire-cat had another house with a fireplace! Oh heaven! O joy! Birds, fire, and the occasional can of the human’s tuna—she was content!
Angel’s new parents, Linda and Phil, did a wonderful thing for all people concerned with her wellbeing. In the scheme of things, Angel had touched and improved the lives of many of the people she came in contact with. It was her nature. She really was a healer—mommy—nurse cat. With that idea, new mom Linda created a Facebook page for “Bubby Angel”. What a fantastic way to share photos and life events of the old girl in her new home, with new sister Cloie and new humans. It really helped let the B be in all our lives. It was even more funny because all posts were written in Angel’s voice. The voice of an loved yet slightly neurotic elderly cat. It was so—the right way—to share her with the world—or at least me, Chris and our families.
Middle-aged DSH calico, affectionate on my own terms, currently living as an upper eastside snob (but lower cul-de-sac) in a fairly decent house with humans who are mostly tolerable and one kitten who is not.
We were treated with photos and snarky commentary about the goings on in her new world. Quite entertaining and oh so needed—especially for me. It showed me how much she was taken care of and loved. But it did also make me miss her all the more. I posted photos of Angel that I and Chris had taken through the years to share with Bubby’s humans.
Sadly, just last week there were status updates by Angel that weren’t too encouraging:
I am SO sick! Haven’t been able to touch food for 2 days. Just drinking water and peeing. They think I might have a full-on kidney infection. I also have a pretty bad cough, so going to the vet to get an antibiotic injection this afternoon. Yes, you may pity me. I will allow it.
Later that day:
“We’re doing this because we love you”, they said. “It’s for your own good”, they said. Now I have this huge lump on my left shoulder. This is NOT attractive.
The next day things seemed to be looking up for our dear little Angel. She was eating and seemed to be feeling a bit better. Then on November 8th I got a text message from Chris asking if I saw Angels page today? He said, sorry to tell you—she’s gone—she passed away. I got a chill up my spine and then I just broke down and cried. I also went to Angel’s Facebook page and read a post from Linda:
I am so very sorry to report that Bubby Angel has taken the trip over the Rainbow Bridge. She was having trouble breathing the last 2 days, so an x-ray was taken tonight and it showed us that she had been hiding a bunch of problems that we didn’t know about. With what appeared to be a collapsed lung and with her quality of life already degraded so much, I had to make the decision to not let her suffer anymore. I’m so sorry, Chris and Joe. I’m sure she is so very thankful that you were kind enough to take her in as an orphaned kitten and care for her all those years, and I am confident she was happy with the year she spent at our house, watching the birds, playing with Chloe, enjoying our fireplace, and “riding our mouse hand”. ((Hugs to you both)). She is resting in peace now.
I now imagine Angel and first brother Mason romping around, chasing bunnies & hummingbirds together. They were such buds, very much like Rocky and Angel became in their time together. Guess Angel had a thing for big orange boy cats! I loved that she could connect with humans as well as her furry brothers and sisters. We were all the better for her being in our lives.
With her passing, a final chapter has been written and a book of an entire past life can be neatly closed and stacked on the shelf. And as I continue this new life, in this new place, she will still be with me every step of the way. I’ll see her nestled with Rocky & Rose each time I see them. I’ll remember the day Angel ran into my house and my heart, and know she’ll always be a part of both—until I take my last breath. My little nurse cat will be with me—always.
Good-bye Missy B. May we all find peace, love and happiness. You certainly brought that and more to me. Thank you. Happy hummingbird hunting!