In Loving Memory of the Very Best Studio Cat: Dickens

Art is impossible today. In fact doing anything other than wandering aimlessly through the house seems impossible. The pieces of my broken heart are rattling around in my chest. I had to say goodbye to my beloved kitty after almost 20 years.

I found this adorable little white kitten in the bushes under the stairs of my old apartment. He was pure white with the bluest eyes you can imagine. He was one of the prettiest kittens I’ve ever seen and his fur, the softest of any cat I’ve ever had. As he grew up he began to get orange striped bits on his beautiful white fur. I named him Dickens because he got into everything. He pestered the other cats, he got into the cupboards, he attacked anything that went by.

At the beginning of his life he disliked being held and hated being kissed on the head. I used to tell him that he just had to deal with it since he was so cute. For the last few years he let me kiss his head endlessly and purred and curled around me when I picked him up. He had a warm, rich purr that vibrated through both of us, I already miss it so much.

He was my best friend. He followed me from room to room. In the bedroom he slept on my shoulder or on my feet. In the office he lay near me on a couch. In my studio he insisted that the spot on the table by the window was his, whether there was artwork there or not. He’d lay right on it. He liked it best when I put a towel on that table.

As he got older his eyes faded to gray and his vibrant orange fur became tan. His kidneys were trying to shut down and, through the miracle of IV fluids lovingly administered by my husband, Greg, Dickens had almost three extra years of laying in the sun, purring in my ear and eating handfuls of cat treats and ham. Oh, how he loved cat treats!

Every evening we’d cuddle on the couch and, when he stopped climbing the stairs four weeks ago, I’d sleep downstairs on the couch with him until I woke up with a crook in my neck. We knew his body was changing again, but we were so glad to see him still doing the things he enjoyed. He had a terrific weekend. He’d go out front and watch the world go by, come in and roll in some cat nip, bop one of the other cats for good measure (he was the alpha cat, without question), and then settle in his nest on the couch for a good brushing.

Our goal was an excellent quality of life with no pain or suffering and I’m so glad we were able to honor him with such. He gave us an excellent quality of life, too.  He soothed us when we were sad and stayed by our sides when we were ill.  He always seemed to understand when we needed him. He was funny and sincere and feisty in a way that belied his age. He had such a presence about him. Today our home feels so empty. I’m terribly sad that he couldn’t live as long as we will. But I am so grateful for every day of those nearly 20 years. 

Perhaps when I move on from tears to happy memories I can create art in celebration of such a special soul.

~Ginger

www.gingerburrell.com

10 responses to “In Loving Memory of the Very Best Studio Cat: Dickens

  1. so sad you will miss him for such a long time
    ….Linda T in Lethbridge Alberta

  2. I’m sorry…what a great cat.

  3. Oh, Ginger. So sorry you lost your baby cat. Hugs.

  4. Oh Ginger, what a beautiful tribute to Dickens!
    He was such a sweet cat! I am so glad I got
    To know him outside of the hospital! He was
    a special little guy; always missed and never
    forgotten. He was lucky to have such a wonderful life with you… so full of love.

  5. Hi Ginger

    Losing a pet is something many people don’t understand. A loving cat can be a sole mate, a secret pal, and a cuddle friend who gives unconditional love. He does not care if you had a bad hair day or if the weather is icky (bad weather makes for more cuddling). Your photos of him are charming. You should do a book!

    Best regards and condolences, Viviane Schupbach

  6. Sorry for your loss — a very beautiful ulogy (don’t know how to spell this) for him. They do leave wholes in the spaces they owned. Have a good cry, your pet is worth it.
    Donnasue

  7. One of our cats died recently (in August) and I miss him terribly so I know how you feel……..poor darling.

  8. I had a cat named Dickens, too, and lost him this past January. My heart aches still, so I understand, though Dickens was with me only five years. I named him Dickens because not only was he always into mischief, he was also a hungry, unwanted little thing when I found him. There will never be another one like him.

    • Elaine, Thank you for your kind words. My Dickens was into everything and chewed on everyone when he was a kitten 😉 We’re coming up to one year since his passing and I still miss him every day. I wish you the comfort of happy memories and I’m terribly sorry that you lost your kitty. ~Ginger

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