Posted by: jevcat | July 27, 2010

Sofia the Snowshoe Departs

I’m thinking quite a bit today about love and pain and how they are inextricably woven together in this life.  If there is proof of Original Sin, that may be it.

Last evening, I cuddled our twelve-year-old snowshoe cat, Sofia, while the vet sent her gently to a place where she won’t be miserable anymore.  What I had thought was just a senior cat’s understandable reaction to a weekend of unbearable heat and humidity turned out to be massive kidney failure.  By last evening, despite the better weather, she was not just lethargic but visibly uncomfortable, bringing on a trip to the vet and the diagnosis.

Sofie had only been with me five years.  Before that, she had been a stray kitten who found a home with a friend’s grandmother, coming to me after her original person died around the same time I lost a cat to cancer.

Sofia was a diva – maybe it was the Siamese ancestry – and her talent for finding people’s veins with her claws when displeased – primarily when having to share attention – led first my brother, then my Beloved and his son, to independently nick-name her “The Evil One.”  Those blue-grey eyes and round face frequently wore an aggrieved expression.

 Ah, but when Sofia had a lap on which to be enthroned!  That was a different story.  Then she could be gracious – magnanimous even – in bestowing her purry affection.  (I confess to having been somewhat miffed that once my Beloved moved in, Sofie would walk across my lap in the evenings to get to his.)  She could be the world’s biggest “moosh” when she wanted to be, at least to people, although she never entirely gave up the idea of trying to kill Ozzie, the marmalade tabby whose presence in my life preceded hers.

She was difficult but she was irresistible, her need for love and attention somehow endearing – and when you wanted cat-comfort, she was always there to curl in your lap.  I’m not sure how I shall manage my morning meditation without Sofie in my lap, and my morning exercise routine will need adjusting without the difficulty of compensating for her climbing onto me or walking under me.  My Beloved will no longer have to risk her wrath by digging under her to retrieve socks and underwear from his drawer, where she liked to nest (of course, he would leave it open for her).

 With all her faults, she was an Excellent Cat – and what greater praise can be given? – and I told her so at the end, cuddling her as she left.  After, I went to sit by the water, while a full moon climbed past the towers and cables of the Verrazano Bridge, silvering the surface of the Narrows.  I wanted the quiet, the sound of the water.  And just before full dark, it seemed as though I could see her, round as she was before recent thyroid troubles, treading softly on that shining path and looking once over her shoulder at me, as if to tell me that, “Yes, love and loss go together, but we will meet again, anyway,” before turning to continue her journey.  Catnip mice in that world:  be afraid, be very afraid.



  1. Hail and farewell to sweet, wondrous Sofia. You know I loved her, too (other readers, I am the “friend” mentioned; my Grandma was her first human). It certainly is a bittersweet thing.
    These little ones are sent to us (and we to them) by G-d, for scant handfuls of years. The love we share is so huge and the time so short. Yes, give thanks and anticipate heavenly reunion. And let yourself mourn. I am oh-so-sorry. Praying for you and your Beloved.

  2. It’s hard to lose a friend, be it the two-legged or the four-legged variety. I cried reading your post. Cried for you and your beloved Sophia, cried remembering a dear departed kitty from my life, and cried seeing my oldest two cats, Gus and Lauretta, who were once big and strong, and are now tiny, almost bird-like in structure, as hyperthyroidism takes its toll. I used to be mad at G-d because our furry friend’s lifespans are so much shorter than ours. It just didn’t seem fair. But, I think perhaps it’s G-d’s way of helping us deal with mortality in general, and our own eventual inevitable end whenever it may come. May G-d’s peace fill you during this difficult time. I know His love will keep your heart open to loving other special four-leggers in the future. It’s just part of who you are, my friend.

  3. Thanks, Francesca and Robin. Sofie was our lap cat, so she is missed in a special way. I’m hoping the new kitten, George, will grow up to be a lap cat, but right now all he wants to do is ricochet off the walls.

  4. Sorry for loss. Sad as it is we all share it with you, those of us who have also lost pets.

  5. Aw man… that pretty much had me on the verge of tears (and that’s something I don’t admit to easily). My heart truly goes out to you for your loss. Our oldest cat (whose name oddly enough is Sophie) is in the twilight years of her life, but thankfully she isn’t acting that way. At the ripe old age of 19 she’s still bouncing around like a 5 year old. When you referred to Sophia as being a diva it immediately made me think of her. It must be the names. They are very regal after all. 🙂

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