Chad and I had to say goodbye to our little cat Nelly Bean recently.
She came into my life while I was living in a tiny apartment in the 9th arrondissement of Paris, at a time when I needed the sort of simple companionship that only a pet can offer.
During our time in Paris together, Nelly enjoyed exploring my balcony and lying in the sunshine. She once alerted me to a fire in my apartment building. Mostly though, she sat on my lap and slept by my side.
She did just as much purring and lap snuggling as any other pet cat, but considerably more traveling than average.
Nelly traveled by plane nestled near my feet in her carrier when I moved from Paris back to North Carolina.
A few years later she spent ten days in an RV, as I moved from NC to Utah to start my life with Chad. In the same RV, she moved with us to Oregon, and then back again to Utah.
Traveling was far from her favorite activity, but I know she was grateful to arrive, and grateful to be taken along instead of being left behind.
The last year of her life was not the happiest, poor little thing. She had several health issues that caused her a lot of discomfort. Knowing that she doesn’t have to suffer any more dulls my pain at losing her – just a tad.
Cats and dogs don’t tell you when they’re feeling poorly in quite the same way that humans can, so it took us some time to understand what was going on with her.
Yet despite her suffering, she still enjoyed snuggling on our laps, or sitting next to me while I did yoga, taking furtive sniffs of my hair.
Those of us with pets in our lives gain so much by the presence of these companions; the pain of losing a cherished pet is something that only fellow pet-parents can relate to.
While I still have the extraordinary companionship of our remaining cats to enrich my life in their particular feline ways, each cat is so different. Nelly’s presence in my life will never be replaced and there will forever be a Nelly-sized hole in my heart.
I will always be grateful to her for her love and companionship. Rest in peace little Nelly Bean.