Friday, October 20, 2006

Be-Bop, RIP. 1994-2006

That photograph was taken last night. Be-bop was my first cat after I left home. In college I worked for a flamboyant woman prone to fits of rage and fierce moods, but she did some nice things for me. One of which was to take me to the animal shelter and pay for the adoption of a kitten. He was the runt of the litter but the most persistent in climbing to the front of the cage, and so I took him. His ears were enormous on his tiny head. Other parts of him were tiny as well. My boyfriend and I thought he was a girl at first until my friend Sarah used her uncanny knowledge of cat genitals to set us straight. The feminine "Tayla" was quickly replaced by "Be-bop"a nickname that derived from my boyfriend's family somewhere.

Be-bop went with me after the boyfriend and I split up, and lived with me in a couple of less than perfect situations. When my mom and i, both newly single, moved in together again for six months, Be-bop and the late Dylan--a border collie/australian shepherd mix--were mortal enemies. A fence was erected to keep them apart in the hallway. Just as I was moving out at last to move to Santa Rosa to be closer to the man who is now my husband, they had crossed the species divide to become best friends. Unable to tear them apart--and frankly a little glad to be free of the responsibility--Be-bop became my mother's cat.

When my Mom met her now husband Paul, Be-bop quickly made his allegiances clear. He was Paul's cat, end of discussion, and would fall slavishly at Paul's feet to be loved while sneering in disdain at the rest of our attempts.

After the ferocious wild kitten Mojo joined the family, followed by special-needs, distemper baby Otis, Be-bop became a grumpy old curmudgeon, wandering the house muttering under his breath and taking out his frustrations with the fellow cats on his scratching box. He spent most of the last few years outside to find some peace.

He was never a cuddly cat, but he had character and pride and was the best hunter I ever saw, slaughtering (and yes, that's the proper word choice) birds, lizards and the occasional mole and even squirrel! over the years. He was a good cat, and he will be sorely missed.

Last night as I visited my mom, when it became evident that he was not doing well and that he shouldn't be allowed to suffer any longer, we had to keep pulling little Otis off of him. Otis, the youngest cat in my mom's household, kept running up to him, and climbing on top of him, wrapping his little orange paws around Be-bop's back, as if he could keep him in the world a little longer, or stop him from hurting.

I fed Be-bop his last meal of raw hamburger.

Our animals all share parts of our lives, and when they go, they take parts of our history with them.

JPR

9 Comments:

At 4:34 AM, Blogger Ellen said...

I'm so sorry, Jordan. I love how you describe him--I get such a strong sense of his quirky personality. I'm sure he'll be missed. My condolences.
Love,
Ellen

 
At 5:25 AM, Blogger Myfanwy Collins said...

This is a beautiful tribute to Be-Bop, Jordan. You clearly knew him well and loved him well.

Sorry for your loss!

love,
myf

 
At 8:03 AM, Blogger Jessica Lynn said...

I am so sorry. I remember those times with my first cat Angel.

Sorry for your loss,
Jessica Lynn

 
At 12:48 PM, Blogger Leora Skolkin-Smith said...

That's so sad, Jordan, I'm so sorry. I'm so attached to my two cats, Igor and Lilliput and they are growing older so I feel close to that feeling of loss.

This is a great blog, Jordan. I've just wandered into it again! What interesting articles, too, about the Golden Gate bridge suicides and... I thought you looked ravishing on that TV program, Quills--
You've made my Saturday.

-Leora

 
At 9:54 AM, Blogger Susan Henderson said...

I'm sorry. : (

 
At 6:53 PM, Blogger Jenny Snarr said...

Jordan,
Just read your tribute, brought tears to my eyes. Saw Paul and Flo today and they are doing better but so sad. Its horrible to lose a well loved pet, they really are family. I'm so glad you were there on Thursday to help make a very difficult decision.
Jenny

 
At 6:54 PM, Blogger Jenny Snarr said...

Jordan,
Just read your tribute, brought tears to my eyes. Saw Paul and Flo today and they are doing better but so sad. Its horrible to lose a well loved pet, they really are family. I'm so glad you were there on Thursday to help make a very difficult decision.
Jenny

 
At 4:32 PM, Blogger Jesse said...

I'm truly sorry for your loss. Be-bop was a special guy right from the start, and he saw you through some tumultuous times. Please pass on our condolences to your Mom and Paul.

 
At 6:05 PM, Blogger paulspence said...

I just want to say,thank you jordan for helping us through a very sad time with be-bop.He was a great cat,he always would run out and greet me when I drove up,no matter where we lived,always happy to see me,god I really miss him.Life goes on I suppose,today I rescued a baby barn owl at work that fell out of the buiding and was almost run over by a big piece of equipment,I brought him to the wildcare place in san rafael,his name is rocky,they are going to let me help release him when it is time,pretty cool.Sometimes there is death and sometimes there is life ,you just never know. thanks for all the peoples kind words they are heartfelt,and thank you jordan, you are simply the best love paul n flo

 

Post a Comment

<< Home