Saying Good-bye To Black Cat Claudette On Napping Day by feline editor Clyde.
The words churned in my furry little black head but sputtered. I will share instead these edited words from our Saturday Instagram post and a little Zen wisdom. It is indeed Napping Day and I in need of a very long nap where I will dream of green fields and leaping from cloud to cloud with my dearly departed panthers.
Clyde (Yes, I’m in the St. Patrick Day spirit)
In 1360, at the age of 77, Zen master Kozan Ichikyo gathered his pupils and told them that, upon his death, they should bury his body, perform no ceremony and hold no services in his memory. Sitting in the traditional Zen posture, he wrote the following Haiku poem and promptly died.
Empty-handed I entered the world
Barefoot I leave it.
My coming, my going —
Two simple happenings
That got entangled.
Sit back dear ones, and please take a moment to read. It’s long but timely. Scroll to the end for an important announcement. We’ve mourned the sudden death of two book contributors recently and today, I sadly announce a third. What makes it more tragic is the story. Last year, a video of three black kittens filled me with joy. They jumped and tumbled with glee in a fairy tale forest in France. Their pure aliveness captured in photos enthralled and I knew I had to include them in my book Black Cats Tell All: True Tales And Inspiring Images.
What made it more perfect and feel-good was the kindness of their humans who adopted a cat mom Sasha and her three kittens Boudine, Frisbee and [email protected]
The kittens grew up and last autumn a grizzled black tom cat appeared one day and decided he had found his long lost fur family. And so Baldrick, the black cat dad completed the happy family of five. Life was as good as it gets. Doting human and feline parents, a beautiful home in the stunning green countryside near the Pyrenees mountains of South West France, the freedom to enjoy the natural beauty as fully as any cat can hope or dream of. The property gated, the rural area protected, the roads quiet, the cats knew the lay of the land and were kept safely home each night. All were hunters except Claudette. She had no interest in killing but loved washing her sister and mom several times a day. Outdoors she ran like the wind, climbing higher and faster than the others.
As I cat behaviorist, I feel the quality of life versus the risk of being an indoor/outdoor cat in a safe supervised situation, is a risk but one that I choose for two of my four cats. It’s an individual choice every cat parent must make. Years ago, my cat Merlin who lived to almost 22 was hit by car. He survived and I have no doubt his indoor/outdoor lifestyle added to his longevity. He lived life to the fullest and so did Claudette until her life was cut short from a hit and run. Her cat mom, Debbie and cat dad, Tom found her lifeless body but rushed her to the vet anyway. We won’t know exactly what happened but she is buried in a special spot in the garden where wild flowers bloom.
We mourn her loss and shake our heads at the randomness. As a cat parent, I would have done nothing different. Accidents happen. In the home, outdoors, in a car, even the vet’s office. We can’t predict when it’s our time to stay or go but we can savor the preciousness of life and our pets. A sudden death especially a young cat like Claudette is a double shock and with it a myriad of emotions. I hope it’s a small comfort to know they are not alone, and that’s not only important to honor a loss but that it’s okay to grieve.
For those of us who know the heartache of pet loss, know the wild ride of emotions and also know that our cats grieve too. The entire Instagram cat community has suffered enormous losses (pet and human) in the past year and I’m grateful for the support of our big-hearted friends. The legacy of Claudette’s beautiful spirit will live on in our book to inspire other to adopt black cats. She was an exquisite beauty and I chose her a photo from her last photo shoot to create her memorial tribute. She was the most sensitive one of the kittens and shared a deep bond with Debbie who always kept an eye out for her.
There is something wise and all-knowing in her gaze. Soar with the angels and shine on dear Claudette. You are in our heart forever. We are creating a new weekly memorial feature and our @BlackcatsofIG community on Instagram to honor and support all those grieving the loss of their cat. Please use our new hashtag #coitribute so we can visit your post and each other. Our pet loss research study continues and a special little book of comfort for cat lovers will be published this year.
Debbie has reposted the joyful video of the kittens in the forest and a glorious sunset pic with a heavenly sign from Claudette. Take a peak at @thelittlecat.diaries