Yesterday, my parents kitty, Bear, passed away of old age. Bear was certainly part of the family, and especially when compared to other cats at my parent’s house, she survived the longest. Possibly because she became a grumpy cat pretty young. Bear will always have a special place in my heart, I have a lot of memories with Bear and even a lot of the circumstances around her hold a lot of significance to me.
It all started with this cat, who I found, quite literally, ripping apart a bird in the woods (well for dramatics I’ll say she was ripping it apart, but I actually interrupted her after she had eaten most/ all of it). I had just started grade 8. So, the logical thing to do in my mind was to lure this mean, pretty feral, but very hungry little cat back to my parent’s house. Once I got her there, it was pretty easy to talk my parents into letting me bring her inside (after I had already started feeding her and she started to let me pet her once in a while, and I had named her all in all it took less than a week, I was pretty proud of myself). I named her Kricket, because she made a soft constant sound much like a cricket. I always loved cats, and wanted to help all the stray and feral kitties that hung around my parent’s house, to be honest I never really understood why my parents let me bring Kricket inside: she was afraid of loud noises, very skittish, was not litter trained, would frequently bite at you… But I was very determined to get Kricket to love me. I slowly gained her trust, and eventually got her to sit on my lap once in a while. So, the next spring Kricket is meowing right at my mom, my dad and I in the living room, and pacing, at this point I was joking and poking fun saying that she was pregnant and that she was going to have kittens. My dad kept insisting that she was not, but then all the sudden a gush of gross stuff came out of her, and fell all over my dad’s newspaper: “uh, I guess she’s having kittens”.
I had never *actually* seen a cat have kittens before, and so wanted to watch the entire thing. Kricket made terrible noises the entire time and all the kittens came out looking the same: covered in goo and weird-looking. But once they were cleaned up, and opened their eyes, one kitten stood out from the others:
Not only was Bear the only orange tabby, she quite literally towered over the other two kittens. I named her Bear, partially because of her impressive size. She was a really playful kitten, I remember her chasing me all over the place, like we were playing tag.
Of course, I was begging to keep them. Kricket, as it turned out, was a dead beat mom, and eventually stopped coming back to feed them or care for them. I’m not sure if she just decided living in a house was not for her, or if maybe she was killed on the road and my parent’s never mentioned it. Either way, I was allowed to keep Bear, based on the fact that most orange tabbies are male. I don’t think my dad was very happy to find out that Bear was definitively a female, he was not a fan of orange cats (although I have no idea why), and would have probably preferred one of the grey tabbies. But I’m sure that he is happy we kept Bear instead, Bear was my dad’s cat, she really only cared for him once she got older.
Bear always had a big personality. One time when I was in high school, I woke up to her sleeping on my face. Another time she dumped my wooden shelf of beanie babies on to my head when I was sleeping. Bear was frequently the subject to my photography. Which I’m sure she hated, especially when I was using a crappy film camera with a fixed flash.
Bear was a fat, and generally grumpy cat. But she was part of the family and part of my history. It’s weird to think about visiting my parent’s house with out her there. She would keep my company late at night when my parents would be in bed, sitting with me or playing with a blanket, when no one else could see her being nice (I liked to think that she still remembered being a kitten and playing with me so many years before). I will miss her greatly, and I know that others will miss her greatly also.