Zoë’s Topsy-Turvy Year

1.4.14 ~ Groton, Connecticut


This is the sweet face that I see when I open my eyes every morning. My precious Zoë. We’ve been through so much since she decided to be my friend last year, around this time. She picked me – I’ve never had a cat single me out for special affection before! The beginning of this story can be found here: Second Day of Christmas.

She arrived here by car from Virginia with her sister Scarby, on March 2. When we opened the cat carriers, both Zoë and Scarby bolted out and hid under the basement stairs. But in a few minutes Zoë emerged, adorable with cobwebs clinging to her whiskers, and came right to me for greetings and petting. Cleary she was happy to see me again. But poor Scarby was not at all pleased with the new living arrangements and did not come out from under the stairs for about a week, when she shot upstairs and started hiding under Tim’s bed. When Scarby did come out she would hiss at Zoë, making it known in no uncertain terms how much she blamed her litter-mate for this unfortunate turn of events.

And then on April 4, Toby came to live with us. So much was happening over the next few months. Major surgery for Toby. Nate & Shea installing a powder room for his use. Dima & Larisa’s wedding. Toby hard at work making my garden beautiful. Putting my aunt in a nursing home. My father’s final illness, death and burial. So many people, so much activity, noise and confusion – not the stuff cats are fond of. My sister and her husband finally took them in for some peace and quiet early in October.

But Zoë was depressed up north there, and I finally brought her back home in the middle of November. Scarby stayed on, happy as can be exploring the house and the woods up there, already catching mice. Last I heard she had her sights set on catching a chipmunk – I hope she doesn’t succeed though! She is as attached to my sister now as Zoë is to me.

Zoë, my little couch potato, has been getting fat over this year – she weighed 24 pounds when we took her to the vet in August. We think it is stress eating, something we do as well. So now it’s time for Zoë, Tim and me to get some exercise and stop eating so much!

After she came home in November, I think Zoë started to sense that Toby was very ill. Before she went away she hissed at him all the time, every time he came into a room she was in. But one day after she returned, while I was sitting on the couch with her, Toby came over and sat on the couch, too. She stood up and turned around and went over to him, lay down and put her two front paws on one of his thighs. He started to pet her in a fumbling sort of way, and she didn’t cringe at all, but gazed up into his eyes until he fell asleep. The pain meds he was on made him very sleepy and his hand landed on her pretty heavily when he drifted off. She didn’t seem to mind, though, she seemed to understand. I will never forget that touching moment.

I’m starting to get the urge to take pictures again – so I dusted off the camera and got this picture of Zoë. It’s another start.

There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.
~ Albert Schweitzer
(Cats of Our Lives)

22 thoughts on “Zoë’s Topsy-Turvy Year”

  1. It’s times like these, after reading such a magical and inspiring post, that I wish WordPress supplied a LOVE button…Like is simply too feeble a word! I can see how much Zoë enjoys living with you, just look at her, compared to the photo of her a year ago. There is contentment in Zoë’s eyes now. What a blessing she has been to your family this year. 🙂

    1. Thank you for noticing some contentment in Zoë’s eyes, Joanne. Sometimes I feel guilty for having unsettled her life so much, but she still wants to be with us no matter what happens around here. Now that things are more peaceful she has been getting more spoiled – she loves trout for breakfast and has been trying to get me out of bed before dawn! 🙂

    1. Thank you, Kathy! Zoë has now started to reach out to me with one paw – I think she’s trying to pet me. 🙂 *hugs*

    1. Sybil, I admire people who love both cats AND dogs – I am a “cat” person, Toby was a “dog” person – he and Zoë had lots of trouble understanding each other until the moment described above – I’m happy they made their peace with each other before he died…

    1. Thank you, Jane. When my daughter went to college her cat missed her, too. I’m sure my Zoë misses me now that I’m staying with my daughter for a month, though I left her in very good hands with my sister, who will spoil her rotten…

  2. The story of Zoe has always warmed my heart. I believe that our animal friends come into our lives for a reason. And always at the right time, no coincidences here.

    Wishing you and Tim all the best in this new year that is unfolding before us. And I’m glad you have dusted off your camera Barbara. Your photos are always a delight 🙂

    1. Thank you for stopping by in January, Colleen! This year has been almost as hectic, with a sewage flood in our basement in April and more unexpected house guests in August, and Zoë has been very brave through all the chaos and changes. Her affection and loyalty have been priceless to me. I hope you and your family are doing well and have not had your lives too disrupted by that earthquake and the aftershocks. 🙂

  3. Barbara, this is a truly magnificent blog. I agree with the commenters who wanted a *love* button. You told the story of a very hard year from the viewpoint of a very special cat. It’s heart-warming. Thank you.

    1. Thank you so much, Kathy. As we were getting ready to leave for our trip to North Carolina I had several long talks with Zoë about how my sister, who she knows well, was coming to stay with her and that it would mean a lot to me if she would be a gracious hostess until I got back. My sister reports that Zoë is doing exactly as I requested. She is amazing!

  4. This ‘story’ and how you expressed it, touched me deeply, Barbara. Through the difficulty and disruption for you and your family during the year passed, such a special bond to carry you forward. You and Zoe are blessed to have each other! And so glad Scarby has found her place and best friend (and just looks but doesn’t touch that chipmunk). Hope you don’t mind if I ‘borrow’ the quote from Albert Schweitzer.

    1. Please feel free to borrow the quote, Diane! (I hope you did…) I’m always borrowing quotes from other blogs and books. I’m sorry to report that Scarby has become an excellent hunter, last I heard she had killed four chipmunks, countless frogs and mice, and to my sister’s horror, she swallowed a dragonfly whole! She seems to love her new life outdoors in the swamp and the woods around my sister’s house. Sigh….

  5. Thank you for reminding me that animals are therapeutic, loving, and necessary. I just went to my daughter’s home in SC as she was getting ready to give birth and felt so much love for their miniature Schnauzer, Chief. He seemed to sense something “new” was happening around his house and reached out to me for comfort. Now, I miss him as well as my first little grandson, Lucas. Happy, happy. Glad you have Zoe!!

    1. Susan, I loved reading about about Chief reaching out to you for comfort. In some ways he is like the “first child” and he probably felt jealous of all the attention the new baby was getting. 🙂 He must have been so happy about all the extra attention he got from you! We’re still waiting for our granddaughter to arrive – you and I have something in common, each of us having a grandchild so far away in the Carolinas. 🙁

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