Monday, August 13, 2018


I started writing this post a while ago.  Then realized I needed to download some more photos from my phone.  Then, well, I just didn't.  And then couldn't for a while.  And after that I didn't want something else to go up first, because she deserved to be the next post.  Or maybe I just didn't feel up to it.  Between Star and Buddy, 2017 was best viewed in the rear-view mirror.

July 31st, 2017, my beloved Star passed away.

Just shy of her 13th birthday.  It was not a surprise, in that she had contracted the cryptococcus fungus, and it had made its way into her central nervous system.  It was only a matter of time, and we loved her fiercely for that last year.

It started those thirteen years ago when my wife saw a posting at her work for two kittens to a good home. The usual sort of post and she broached the idea, knowing I had lost my last cat not too many years ago.  She asked if we should get one, and I said 'why not both?'  Thus Star and her brother Tyr came into our lives.

Here she is, in her very first photo: (yes, it's an actual polaroid that was scanned)
Her name came from the little white 'star' on her chest.

We brought them home in the next few days, and ever since then they have been a feature of our house.

Here she is with her brother, in a typical 'cat pile' on the couch:

While Tyr was the more laid back one, Star would be the first to explore a new place, a new thing or just check out what was going on.  During the drive across the country, however, they swapped roles.  He was chill and happy so long as 'his people' were there.  Star, however, was not amused and just wanted to cuddle down with daddy every night.  She was also the 'library cat.'  Her favourite place was the footstool to my reading chair in the library, whether in our house in Orangeville, ON or now here in Victoria.

She would also purr at the drop of a hat.  Neither loud nor soft, she had this consistent motor that would activate as soon as you touched her or paid her any attention.  She would happily be picked up (she had no problem being carried), climb halfway up my shoulder and purr away while I walked around the house with her.  Star and Tyr bonded with me over the years, I was definitely their 'cat daddy.'

She was also my whisky drinking buddy.  Star had a fascination with any sort of liquid, particularly held in cups.  When you were in the bath she'd come and dip her paw in to see the water move.  If you left a glass of something she'd play with it to the point of knocking it over.  So, one day I was having a wee dram, and Star came over to see what I had in my glass.  Well, she came over and jammed her face into my glass, and got a face-full of Laphroaig Quarter Cask single malt Scotch whisky.  As you can imagine, what she really got was a face full of peat smoke!

She jumps off the couch and across the room, huffing and sneezing the whole way.  I figured that was that, and she'd be gone to go have a nap somewhere where her nose wouldn't be full of delicious, molten campfire on your tongue.

I was wrong.

The next thing I know, she's back on the couch, crawling into my lap and this time bringing her head slowly towards my whisky glass, carefully sniffing it.  From that day on, she was hooked.  Every time I have a dram, she had to come over and check it out.  She had preferences too, the smokier the better.  Laphroaig, Jura, all the good peaty ones were her favourites, while many of the Speysides left her bored.  Over time, she occasionally would lick my finger if I dipped it in, but for her the smell was enough.  I figure with her sense of smell, it must have held so many different flavours.

When she started having seizures, I took her to the vet, and ultimately some bloodwork revealed the fungus infection.  I did some reading and if it gets past the blood-brain barrier, it's only a matter of time.

We decided that that time would be nothing but love.  And it was.  No matter that she would have seizures, no matter that towards the end she couldn't control her bladder as well as normal, she always had a place on the couch, in front of the fire, or anywhere else.  When she couldn't jump up on the beds, we would lift her there.  She kept catpiling with her brother and enjoying the big windowsills in the house.

Eventually she decided that my daughter's room was the place to be, and that became her sanctuary away from the others.  We moved some food and water in and kept her favourite blanket there for her.  Sure, she had 'accidents' there but nothing that couldn't be washed out.

One day, she was on my daughter's bed, both of them napping.  It was just another weekend day, a Sunday. I was folding some laundry and my oldest comes into the room saying there's something wrong with Star.

While napping, she had slipped away.

Knowing it was coming didn't help.  I've been down this road before, and it's never easy.  Nor do I want it to be.  I want to feel it, to know that there's a hole in your heart and rage at the universe because it took away your little cat.  But it is the way of things.

So instead, I leave this tribute. No one may ever read it, and it may languish in a small corner of the internet but let it be known that this one, small cat mattered.  To me, to our family, and the world is dimmer now that she left it.

Shine on, little Star.  I love you.  Always.

All three of the 'original crew'

She had the best 'laser beam' eyes.  A beautiful green.

Keeping an eye on things

Nap time in the library

Not a lot of photos of one without the other

Making friends

Checking out Spot the gerbil

What a pretty girl!


Anonymous said...

This is a beautiful tribute. I can only imagine what a wonderful friend and companion Star must have been, and I wish to have known her. I hope you can find solace in knowing you have been an amazing friend to her, too, through thick and thin right until the end. My heart goes out to you.

Anonymous said...

Such a beautiful tribute to a precious friend. Our pets are family and they are treasured deeply and the void left when they leave is hard to contend with. My heart was touched reading your words, reminding me of my heart thoughts about my own fur baby, Buster, who passed just a few days before Star. I pray they are good friends at the Rainbow Bridge, waiting for us to come and play too! Hugs and prayers. Star mattered.

Rowan said...

Thank you both. It's been a year, and taken that long for me to post something. They never really leave you, but their absence is felt nevertheless.