Monday, January 25, 2016

Requiem for Velma

Darlings, it's been a couple of weeks since my last blog. I apologize. I've been in kind of a funk lately. My beautiful tiny black cat, Velma, died in her sleep early in the morning on January 8th.

I'd had Velma and her sister, Roxie, since they were tiny baby kitties. When I brought them home, they each fit in my cupped hand. I was there when they learned how to purr. Velma saw me through eleven and a half years. Four apartments. Five significant others.

Around Thanksgiving, I noticed that she was developing some growths on her chest. Around Christmas, I saw that those growths were impeding her lung capacity. Through it all, she ate, drank, played, and snuggled just like always. But I knew I had to do something. I was waiting for my first paycheck after our holiday break from the opera to take her to the vet. She had other plans. My roommate, Sarah, woke up first that morning. She went into the kitchen and saw Velma lying on her side under the kitchen table. On a normal morning, Velma would bounce up when someone entered the kitchen in the morning to see if there was kibble or fresh water to be had. This time Velma didn't move a muscle. Sarah came into my room and said, "Dawn-Marie, wake up sweetie. Something is wrong with Velma." I got up quickly and dashed to the kitchen. I touched Velma's cold little body. She was gone.

Sarah and I surmised from Velma's position that she hadn't suffered. She was lying on her side, all four legs extended, tail curled gracefully behind her. It appeared that she had gone to sleep and simply forgotten to wake up. The silver lining is that Roxie got to see Velma. Got to know that she had died, that she hadn't just gone away and not come home. She got to mourn Velma as Sarah and I did. Roxie was disconsolate that day. She was listless and occasionally let out a mournful caterwaul. I was scared that she would never be my happy, silly Roxie again. Thankfully, in the past couple of weeks, Roxie has learned to love her only child status.

Velma was the alpha cat. However, she was a savvy alpha cat, allowing the physically dominant Roxie to believe that she was the alpha most of the time. It was beautiful to watch her machinations! Roxie played checkers while Velma played chess. When We moved into the Barbie Dreamhouse, Roxie stayed in the cat carrier for so long that I worried that she was sick (She wasn't; she was just chicken!!). Velma, on the other hand, sprang out of the carrier to find out what new adventure she was on. She explored every inch of the apartment and rubbed her face on everything, claiming it as her own.

Velma loved gyro meat and french fries. She loved ice cream -- the cow milk kind, not the coconut milk kind, thank you very much -- and was rather disappointed with me when I went vegan. She loved yarn. Oh, how she loved yarn! Roxie lost interest in yarn very early in my crochet journey. But Velma was obsessed with it til the very end. One of my favorite pictures of her was one I took just over a month ago. I was crocheting in bed and she fell asleep in the middle of the skeins of yarn. I captioned the photo, "My shop foreman, sleeping on the job!"

Velma had just this summer discovered the joys of iced coffee. I tried to shoo her away from my glass, but she just kept sneaking back to lap it up. Just what I needed, a caffeinated cat!!

Velma was a beautiful, funny, nurturing little weirdo. My world got much smaller when she left me. I took comfort in the fact that she died on David Bowie's birthday. And then Bowie died two days later. But that's another story for another blog.

That's all the news for now. This week's Stitch 'n' Bitch is Thursday at 7pm at R Public House. I hope to see you there. They make a mean vegan pizza. Until next time, Peace, Love, and Yarn!


  1. It's always sad to read about death in writing. You did a great eulogy in your writing to a special little lady cat. She will forever be batting at your yarn strings, in spirit. Love you!