Cat: Bette Davis (American Shorthair) Hollywood, CA (2005 – May 22, 2012)
Dear family and friends,
We are sad to report that our beloved little grey and white kitty Bette has gone on to her next destination, possibly lying on a fluffy cloud, maybe scampering with other heavenly kitties, and most likely curled up comfortably on the almighty’s lap. We will miss her so much, as will her boyfriend Bogey, who cuddled and played with her for the past 6 years.
When we adopted Bette, we were told that she had been found in a chaotic and messy hoarder’s house who had 50+ cats. We assume the experience made her so withdrawn that she spent her days in the animal shelter completely hidden from view by potential human guardians, burying herself in a large Russian Blue cat in a hidden perch, which accounted for the fact that she hadn’t been adopted after 9 months. The moment we heard the words “9 months,” we insisted on adopting her.
The same day, we adopted Bogey, a handsome little guy who was found in a dumpster in Pacoima, CA. Bogey has the cocksure of a cat from the streets, scrappy, dog-like in that tomcat way, loves to wrestle, cuddle, and introduce himself to people, which is why we met him immediately; at 8 months he came right up to Sari as if to introduce himself. All the nurses loved him, even the stoic Eastern European nurse, who told us, “He is very special cat.”
For the first months, Bette was the definition of a scaredy cat, hiding under the couch, eating when nobody was around, generally being a frightened, fragile little creature. But Bogey, with his outgoing charm, endless cuddling and comforting of Bette eventually brought her out to eat, and in time she’d come closer, eat from your hand, sit in your lap.
Our (former) vet gave her a week to live because of her problematic kidneys (most likely nicked by a sloppy neutering) But we kept her hydrated, gave her meds and tons of love. The years went by with Bette playing soccer with dreidels and hair rubber bands, chasing lasers, rainbow reflections and Bogey, and even killing spiders (actually pretty ruthlessly, toying with the thing before eating it. 🙂
For the past several years, every morning Bette flopped in front us on her back and insisted we rub her belly before doing anything else. We happily obliged. She grew to be very affectionate, tolerant of kids and babies, letting them smush her fur, somehow knowing they were kids. When we had guests over she always wanted to join the party and find a new and interesting lap to sit on. She always wanted to sniff and say hi to workmen who would pet her extremely soft fur. She was extremely attached to Barry in particular, and always tried to climb into his lap any chance she could.
Bette curled up with Sari every time she took a nap and sat on her lap during the day at her desk. It felt as if she was helping with whatever we were doing, wanting to be part of it. She seemed to watch the movies we watched, read what we were reading, write what we were writing, and listen to the conversations we were having. But she spent the majority of her time cuddled with her one and only Bogey, who would generously lick her face and fur for hours, upon demand.
We managed her kidney issues, but eventually she developed a liver problem, most likely as a result of the kidneys. This led to her eventual decline, and yesterday was her moment to say goodbye. She left her body while at home with Sari (and a kindly Armenian plumber), and although the death was a bit traumatic for Sari, at least it was fast. Barry came home and we buried her high up on the hillside behind our house under a towering eucalyptus tree at the top of the hill. In the last picture attached (consequently the last that we took of her) she is looking upwards at that hillside from the small outdoor perch located off of the soon-to-be baby room.
Bette, an undoubtedly angelic force for us, taught us so much and pried open unknown places in our hearts with her fragility and vulnerability. When we were told years ago that she only had one week to live, we immediately began to cherish every tiny moment with her. All of the time we got to spend with her was extra. When she kept living, we kept cherishing and appreciating every moment with her. We realized that this is the way to be with everyone we love. Every moment is extra and on loan. More than anything, Bette taught us how to nurture, nourish, and to love an innocent being like parents, things we will surely put into practice times ten come October when our little dude is due to come into our lives…
It was Bette’s time; we know she was never totally comfortable, and we know that now she is peaceful and free. Thank you to everyone who has every given her a pet, a scratch or even a nice glance. We feel good that we got a chance to love her during her time on earth.
Sari & Barry
P.S. The first photo (above) is our favorite; Barry says that she only ever opened her eyes in that large, trusting and relaxed way in Sari’s lap.