Portia died one year ago. It seems fitting to commemorate such an occasion with the sweetness of words, although I must acknowledge how far words fall short when it comes to capturing those we have loved and lost; their beauty, their quirks, and the empty places they leave in our hearts.
This is not a bleeding heart blog. Nor is it an opportunity to extol the virtues of adopting a rescue animal (something I do believe in, by the way). There is no sermon nestled between these lines—only stories shared in memory of my girl who adopted and rescued me in simple and profound ways.
She was my rescue cat. She auditioned well on the first day we met, stepping out of her box, giving the world a curious sniff, then making a beeline for me. She pushed her tiny calico head into my hands and my heart did a somersault. That was the point of no return.
That was the point of no return.
They say tortoiseshells have quirky personalities, and they are not wrong. Portia had an unusual way of running to me sideways, with a little hop in her step. I came to call this her ‘bunny hop’. She frequently got a case of the ‘zoomies’ and would zoom from one end of the house to the other. There was no lack of energy with her.
She loved to play with soft toys and featherwool. She also loved to play with things I was quite attached to, such as my ankles. She would hide around the corner, anticipating my approach, then leap out at me and wrap her tiny paws around my ankles. She never considered it might be important to retract her claws in the process. Then she would scamper off, looking for something else to hunt.
She stayed a kitten at heart, throughout her nineteen years on earth.
She stayed a kitten at heart.
Even when Portia developed health issues, she was still affectionate and playful. And vocal. She would often sing through the night, acting as though she had forgotten I was there. She would try to jump up on things, though arthritis prevented her from jumping as high as she could before. She developed thyroid problems, requiring daily medication, but she was still Portia.
When she stopped talking, playing, and interacting, that’s when I knew something was seriously wrong. I took her to the vet and discovered I was right. Mercifully, her decline was swift, and the decision was clear. I gave her painkillers to ease her last few days on earth, and then she left my world as softly as she had entered it.
Amongst those who wished me well in the days following Portia’s death was a comment from a friend about seeing our furbabies again in heaven. It gave me a sweet hope, not that Portia is in any way magical, but that Jesus’ resurrection stretches to include all living things. That hope is still alive in me.
It gave me hope…that Jesus’ resurrection stretches to include all living things.
Rest well, Portia. Here’s hoping we will meet again.
Have you loved and lost a furbaby, featherbaby or scalybaby? Do you hold hope of seeing them again? Share your story. Let’s have a countercultural conversation.