One Girl’s Remembrance of Her Kitty

Angelica & AlexBefore there was a fiesty little mixbreed rescue named Jasmine, before there was the doting lovebucket that is Sadie the Chocolate Lab, our family only had one pet:  Angelica. Our beloved Maine Coon, Angelica, came to us via our work as foster parents for various rescue groups in New York City. She stayed with us thanks to our status as foster failures. She was a beautiful, caramel-colored thing who loved nothing more than nestling at the end of the bed or hopping up on the sofa with her trademark 'trill'.

Angelica was there when we brought our new daughter home from the hospital for the first time, and the two grew up with that special fondness that comes from sharing early childhood with a beloved pet. Kitty wasn't the friendliest creature to other things that had four legs, and she didn't always take kindly to the sight, smell or sound of other youngsters in her domain. But she always loved Alex and felt perfectly safe with her nearby.

When we lost Angelica after a long battle with degenerating kidney function and general old age, we were all devastated. But none of us took her loss as hard as Alex. Having been blessed not to have lost any immediate family members that she knew during her cognitive childhood, the passing of her beloved kitty served as that awful first awakening that all children must endure at some point.

We tried to help Alex cope with the loss by creating a remembrance candle which we lit in honor of Angelica whenever she had a particularly rough day thinking about it. It was only a little thing, but it served to help maintain some type of connection between our little girl and her best furry friend.

So when we had to tell Alex yesterday that my mum had had to say goodbye to her cat Smoky recently, it awakened all those horrible feelings of loss and hurt once again. She's 10 years old now, and while she's starting to put all the pieces of our big, bad world together, she's still an innocent, sweet girl, and this news really knocked her back. We told her that we'd light Angelica's candle alongside a new one for Smoky, and that helped. But Alex took herself off for a few minutes of quiet time, and when she came back, she showed us the type of beauty that only a sweet 10-year old heart can create: she had drawn a picture of Smoky and Angelica in 'kitty heaven', complete with a bright blue sky, heaping bowls of yummy food, and smiles bigger than the Cheshire Cat as they gazed at one another - providing support not only to each other, but to their favorite little girl as well.

Beautiful...

My daughter Alex created this to pay homage to two of her favorite cats - Angelica & Smoky.

My daughter Alex created this to pay homage to two of her favorite cats - Angelica & Smoky.


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Positively Expert: Victoria Stilwell

Victoria Stilwell is a world-renowned dog trainer best known as the star of the internationally acclaimed TV series, It’s Me or the Dog. A bestselling author, Stilwell frequently appears in the media as a pet expert and is widely recognized and respected as a leader in the field of animal behavior.


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