Friday, July 30, 2010

She was Old and Cranky, but I Loved Her

 July 2002

I was quietly having my morning coffee on the front porch one summer day of 1994, when I spotted this small gray striped kitten weaving in and out of the potted plants on the steps. She was starving, flea-ridden and skittish... but obviously looking for a home, or at least for food.

Once fed, she stayed... and I named her Baz for the main character in a book I was reading. The character later turned out to be a terror, and so did the kitten as she grew into a big, fat and cranky cat who never stopped being hungry.

Fearless Hunter
Baz and I lived in nine different places from 1995 until now, and she was always a willing companion, a guard cat, and 'fearless hunter' when she was younger. I never walked the garden without her trailing my every step.

I wish I could say she was a most intriguing cat, like Tom Jones in May Sarton's The Fur Person, but in truth she was a rather ordinary-cat kind of cat, with an obsession for food.

Playing 'possum while watching the squirrels

Baz loved to be warm, in front of the woodstove or sleeping on my feet at night. She loved to sit in the sun, and in winter as all cats do, she would follow the shafts of sunlight as they moved across the floor.

There are joys and tribulations inherent in sharing one's life with a cat. Baz would lie next to me on the couch and purr if I wasn't feeling well, and she made sure I was "safe" if I went in the bathroom. (I couldn't go alone!) She 'talked' to me, although mostly when she was hungry, but she was a 'Johnny One-Note'... and her one-note was strident. Her voice was the same whether she was being petted, or louder if you accidentally stepped on her tail, or when she was protesting the tardiness of dinner. 

She loved to sit outside on the warm walkway in summer, and always came in when called by name (especially at dinnertime) or for the night. Four days ago she didn't come when called for dinner, and that had never happened in all the 16+ years she lived with me. I haven't seen her since, and I know in my heart she is dead.

Several neighborhood cats (including the barn cat I inherited when I moved here) have disappeared recently, and the rabbit population seems down as well. There is talk of a predator in this very wooded rural area, and I am convinced something must have taken her.

She will be missed, strident tone and all, but most especially at dinnertime.

Update: I just found her body in the weeds close to the creek, under a low clump of trees. She has been mauled but not eaten. Judging by the matted area in an 8 foot diameter, I'd say she put up a good fight.


  1. Oh Darius, I'm so sorry about poor Baz...we all know that kitties are special to us when they let us become owned by them. Please consider yourself hugged. (((Darius)))


  2. Darius, I'm so sorry about Baz.

  3. Lucky Baz to find you when she was a kitten. I'm sorry for your loss.

  4. Thanks, everyone.

    My younger cat went over to sniff at Baz yesterday evening soon after I found her, and I'm relieved. Now she knows Baz is gone, and won't keep looking for her. We both made our goodbyes.

  5. Darius, I am so sorry for your loss. I know how you and Baz were.

    It's always hard, even though we know we will outlive our furbabies (except "Smoke") and yet, we keep them coming. They are wonderful companions in our lives.

    We lost Snowy last October. She was getting so terribly old and in pain from arthritis and failing heart, helping her pass was a blessing for her. Jeremy handled it and he cried like a baby.

    Luv and miss you.

  6. Thanks Molly. In many ways Baz was like any aging pet. They are a part of us, and like aging parents or wayward children, we love and tend them... and miss them when they are gone.

  7. I am so very sorry to hear about Baz. She was surely a contented companion to have stayed with you so long!


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