Farewell to My Muse

A little over ten days ago, my beautiful Himalayan cat, Neferkitty, suddenly became ill in the evening and died by the early morning hours of the following day.

She had shown no signs of an impending illness.  Always a quirky cat, she would pick a different spot to sleep every few days; sometimes behind my computer screen, or under the bed, or wherever suited her fancy of the moment.

So when she started sleeping on the tile floor behind my bathroom door, I didn’t think much of it.

But when I saw her wobbling, unable to keep her hind legs underneath her, I knew she was in trouble.  Of course, the vet’s office had been closed for hours, so I could only pray she would hold on until morning.  But as the night wore on, I knew that wouldn’t happen.

I spent the hours from 11:00 until 2:15 lying next to her on my bed, petting her and telling her how beautiful she was and how much I loved her.  Then, she took her last breath.  I listened to her chest as her heart slowed down, became erratic and finally was stilled.

I had never known a more affectionate cat.  Some would say demanding.  You could pet her all day until her hide became raw and that wouldn’t be enough attention.

Neferkitty epitomized feline beauty too, which, I’m convinced, was her undoing.  Himalayan and Persian cats have been bred and inbred to create their particular characteristics, such as the flat face and shortened nose.

But they also have a tendency for genetic conditions like cardiomyopathy, which can lead to heart failure.  My guess?  That’s what finally caught up with her at the age of approximately ten years.  I don’t know for sure.  All I know is, I felt bereft.

We still had Culvey, our other inside cat whom we had rescued from a culvert in the road at the age of six months.  Our old Toy Fox Terrier, Spunky, had shuffled up them Golden Stairs back in January at the age of sixteen.

Culvey is a great cat, but not uber-affectionate and I really missed that.  After about a week of living with the huge void left by Neferkitty’s passing, I decided maybe I should go to our local SPCA (a no-kill shelter) and check out their cats.

I went back a couple of times and, although I spent time with some very deserving kitties, none of them struck the chord in my heart Neferkitty did.

After Spunky died, my husband and I both said “No more dogs!” because we’d certainly had our share over 36 years of marriage.  Almost all of them either came from shelters or had been dumped off on our property, taken in by us, and given a loving home.  We always said there must be an invisible sign outside our place saying:  “Suckers for Dogs Live Here.”

But, cats are much easier to take care of, what with their independent nature (not to mention their litter box skills.)

Culvey had been visibly depressed with both of his housemates now gone, and I think he secretly enjoyed having Spunky around to watch and stalk.  So, I thought “Hmm, maybe another Chihuahua…”   I never imagined I’d own one of those bug-eyed critters, but we’ve had three of them.  They’re just personality kids, with a capital “P.”

Enter Kelso.

When I saw him at the shelter, all the other little dogs showed off by leaping and barking, but Kelso, a blonde long-haired Chihuahua,  just rolled over in his doggie bed and offered up his belly for a rub.

He had me at “Herroh.”

I still get teary-eyed when I think about all the love Neferkitty gave me and how much I miss her beautiful self, but I know Kelso needs me as much as I need him.

And the void has become a little less deep.

One of many artist trading cards Neferkitty inspired.

Kelso on his first day home.

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15 thoughts on “Farewell to My Muse

  1. I feel so sorry for your loss but so happy for your gain. Losing a beloved furry friend is rough. Neferkitty sounded like such a cool cat when you wrote about her. I hope in the not too distant future you’ll publish posts about the antics of Culvey and Kelso, maybe they’ll make a great dog and cat team like Ren and Stimpy.

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  2. I’m so sorry for your loss.
    Congratulations on your new Kelso!
    My daughter’s beloved Smoakie had an embolism due to cardiomyopathy last month that blocked the femoral arteries. He was only 17 months old. RIP Smoak.
    But I did the same as you, took her to look at adoptable kitties, and she came home with little Shea, an adorable long-haired Siamese.

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  3. So very sorry to hear of your loss – RIP Neferkitty ♥ and Welcome ‘Kelso’. He is adorable. :o)

    I lost 2 beautiful cats in the past 8 months, 2 months apart. The first one to go was 23 years old (RIP, Mer), and next was 16 years old (RIP, RC). My deepest sympathies for you — I know how hard it is to lose these wonderful ‘fur-babies’ — they become so much a part of the family.

    Not sure how you believe, but I like to think our beautiful pets will all be waiting for us, at their ‘Rainbow Bridge’ where they will be loved and cared for, while waiting for us — their family. ♥

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  4. I am so sorry for your loss. One of my screen names is Nefercat, for my dear little lilac point Siamese who passed away many years ago. I wish you and your whole family the very best with little Kelso, who now has a loving new home.

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  5. We rescue so you have our condolences. The risk of reaching out is always loss. But moreso good on you for making a new home.

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  6. I work with a very large dog rescue and I am so glad you found Kelso. All our animals are on loan to us and we do not get to keep them forever which is the hard part. ,All the time you had with your Neferkitty was golden and she was certainly well-loved.

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  7. So sorry for your loss of Neferkitty, and how wonderful that you found Kelso and could give him a place in your heart and your home.
    Neferkitty has been my muse ever since I saw her; It was her as the “girl with the pearl earring” that inspired me to create artist trading cards and I will always cherish the eight ATC’s that I have of her.

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  8. I want to thank everyone for their kind expressions of sympathy, but especially you, Kim! I remember very well you purchasing the original ATCs of my series “Great Cats in Art” and am delighted that they (and Neferkitty) helped you start creating artist trading cards of your own.

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  9. That is my favorite picture of Neferkitty. I’m so glad you ran it again. I remember laughing the first time I saw it… the fact that she’d wedged herself in between the utensils and the paper towels on that cutting board struck me funny. She OWNED that darned board. She had the perfect name, since she obviously descended from royalty.

    Kelso is a cutie pie! It didn’t take him long to assume a contented look.

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  10. I am so, so sorry you’ve lost your wonderful Neferkitty (whose photo is still on my fridge, on the ATC magnet you made!) She was a wonderful cat and I know how much you’ll miss her. It is awful losing our furry friends. They never live long enough!

    But welcome to Kelso, and how great that you were able to open up your heart so soon after you loss and give this adorable little guy a forever home. Sniff, sniff. I love a happy ending. 🙂
    Hugs to you…

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