My Beau

Beau on 10th BirthdayHe had me at hello. From the moment I took him out of the cage at the adoption center at PetSmart and he wrapped his front paws around my neck and snuggled his head under my chin, I knew he was my cat. What I didn’t know was that he was a one-woman cat, and I would be his woman.

At PetSmart his name was Jellybean, but that just didn’t seem to fit. I had gone cat shopping because I read an article that a solo cat might become depressed. I’d looked over at our cat, Molly, and assessed she was. What she needed was a beau! So Jellybean became Beau Brummett.

As it turned out, the two cats never really bonded, and truth be told, Beau bullied Molly a bit. But for 13 years they enjoyed one another’s company from a distance, established their own rules about whose couch was whose, and had a workable détente.

We had to let go of Beau three weeks ago, and I’m just now able to write about him. It’s been a heartbreaking loss, not just because I loved him, but because he loved me so completely and so unconditionally, and there was nothing I could do to save him. The third round of cancer was too much for all of us. He was only fourteen and a half so it seemed too soon to see him go, yet it was time.Beau in collar

This won’t be one of those tributes touting perfection, however. Beau’s biggest character flaw was that he was afraid of small children, possibly the victim of being carried around in a neck hold by a toddler before we adopted him. As a result, he was labeled “the mean cat” by all of our grandkids because if he couldn’t avoid them, he hissed at them. I know their parents wondered why we kept him around.

We did because of who he was the rest of time. Part Maine Coon, Beau came when called, was trainable, and loyal beyond description. He was the most excellent of cats in terms of his cat-like characteristics. Beau in pantryCurious to a fault, he got shut up in the pantry more than once while checking out the supply of cat food. He would be the first to jump into an empty box and found Christmas boxes especially fascinating.

And he was a quick learner. Just one leap off the second-story deck in an attempt to catch a hummingbird and he decided not to do that again!

He was the most affectionate animal I’ve ever been around. Often he would come up to me and put his front paws on my legs, look up at me with those big golden eyes, and want me to pick him up. I was putty in his paws, so most of the time when I was home he was in my arms, perched over my shoulder, or on my lap—even when I was at the computer.

We had two official snuggle times, right before my husband Jim and I went to sleep and first thing in the morning. He never missed one of them, and usually waited in the hallway from about 9:30 PM on to remind me it was time to go snuggle. Any wonder my arms have felt achingly empty? (Jim reminds me that he is willing to snuggle any time, but apologizes for not being fuzzy enough!)Beau typing

I don’t know what else to say. I miss him. It hurts. I’ve always been sensitive to the grief people feel when losing a pet, but will be even more so now. I don’t want to compare this in any way to the deeper grief of losing a family member or close friend, but I did lose a close and loving companion. No doubt about it.

I’ve cried my way through three PetSmarts and the Humane Society where I went just to visit the cats. I don’t know why. There isn’t a cat alive who could replace Beau, and I know that. Besides it’s too soon to even try to love another cat. Somehow I just had to look.

And while Molly won’t snuggle (please! she just can’t be bothered) her “personal assistant” purr-sonality has her following me all over the house, and she is blossoming now that the whole house is hers. We love her, too, and she deserves to be queen for a while.

Beau's Last PhotoWhen I was praying over Beau for healing, and yes I did, I heard the Lord remind me, “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” To comfort me in my grief, He’s whispered, “Think of what a great gift he was to you, not what a great loss you feel now.” OK, Lord, I’ll try. But he was my buddy. My Beau.

To those readers who think they don’t like cats, may I say it’s just like any other bias. Get to know just one well, and you will change your opinion.

Comments

  1. Jim B (your loving huzzband) says:

    As much as Beau bugged me at times, I too really miss him. Whenever Nancy wasn’t around he actually would nuzzle up to me (although it took about 5 yrs before he would lower himself to approach me). He was definitely a one-woman cat. He gave Nancy so much companionship and affection and he is truly missed.

  2. glad to see the picture of him in your lap while on the computer! i couldn’t imagine it !!
    hang in there and train Jim!!

    • Yes, Jimmie. I realized he was the source of my right shoulder ache! He would sneak up there and I would be concentrating and not even notice the weight on my arm!

  3. Pat Scott says:

    It is absolutely true that animals can own at least a portion of our hearts. My furry sweetheart was Lady, my long-haired dachshund, the canine equivalent of your Beau. Even now, 27 years since she died in my lap, your loss brings tears to my eyes. You and I were both richly blessed!

    • Oh, Pat, I lost a dog named Lady, too, a golden retriever, and I never had the courage to get another dog! Sorry for your loss, too. They do leave pawprints on our hearts.

  4. Marylou Gonzalez says:

    I’m so sorry, Nancy. I understand the loss of a loved pet.
    I pray for your comfort. Our ani,als are such sweet blessings.
    May your sweet memories flood your spirit.

  5. Deborah B Turner says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Nancy. It sounds like Beau had a wonderful life with you, and yours was enriched so deeply by him. I’ve always been afraid of cats (and allergic), but I know my friends who have them love them almost as much as any family member, and I understand how sad it is to lose any pet who is loved. I’m so sorry for your grief. I hope that with time the memories will bring more smiles than tears, but even tears can be comforting at a time of loss. Your blog is a wonderful tribute to Beau!

  6. Elizabeth Van Liere says:

    You made Beau sound so special. When I was growing up we had cats for pets as well as dogs, but when Chet and I married we had only had dogs because that’s how he grew up. Since then, I still have only dogs, two of them. If I were younger and on my own I’d probably have a huge fenced in yard with a dozen different kinds.

  7. Jan Keller says:

    So special … and I appreciate the photos to accompany your thoughts!

  8. Dear Nancy, Whenever I lose anyone, human or fur baby, I always think back to the counseling you gave me when I lost my dad back in 1992. Your reflections and observations have always been remembered and been of comfort to me each time I have a loss. Among other things, you told me of now being part of a “club” of people who have experienced their own loss. I was surprised in some of the co-workers who had reached out to me and at those who did not. We had discussed how losses compound each time, leaving people more and more compassionate each time. I know that the biggest thing I learned from losing my dad was to actually be a nicer person and let people know what they mean to me before it is too late to let them know. It was the biggest lesson I learned from that loss.

    I, too, am still missing my little cuddle bug female ginger kitty, Sophie, who I had to let go in October. My heart sends you a giant kitty hug in your loss of Beau. Thank you again for the heartfelt counseling you gave me when I needed it. It has never been forgotten, and continues to steady my ability to be nice and thank those who have been there for me (and for others). My compassion for everyone else’s losses are genuinely sincere as another member of “the club.”

  9. Nancy, you have me all teary again. Thank you for this tribute to an incredible buddy. I can see Beau and Logan hanging out in heaven. Beau on Jesus’ lap and Logan backing in for a hip massage. Our boys with all their little quirks will forever live on in our hearts and our memories. Loving well is always worth the risk.

    Big HUGS to Jim and you,
    Beth

  10. Pat Crane says:

    Nancy, I loved your sweet tribute to Beau. I have always been a dog person, and having loved and lost several over the years, I can relate to your grief. I had to smile at you admonition to get to know a cat if you think you don’t like them: That was me until I met Boo, our daughter’s totally black, long-hair Persian cat. He thinks he is a dog,and is the most lovable creature I’ve ever known.
    So here’s to cats, dogs, and other critters who wrap themselves around our hearts❤️
    I’m so grateful that God knew some of us would make room in our hearts for pets.
    Thank you, Lord.

    • Amen, Pat. Thanks for testifying to the likability of cats! I used to be afraid of them until Tim convinced me we needed one to keep mice out of the house back in 1986, Then I moved from “I don’t like cats” to “I like just this one!” They are amazingly unique, individualistic animals. But how we loved our pre-children dogs, huh? They were cuties.

  11. Malinda martin says:

    Nancy….that was sooo beautifully written and so heart felt from those of us who adore our fur babies…. we winter in Florida, live on a golf course and have 4 dogs…3 long haired chihuahua and a papillon…… Divot.. Bogi.. Birdie and Buncker and by the way… we have 2 rag doll cats..Chipper and Putter…. they all fill our life with unconditional love… to the point we spent $7k dollars on Divot for a congenital defect and is fine….for all of us who are animal lovers you will find a place in your heart for another…… as one breeder told me when I said I have three dogs “yes u do… but you have for chambers in your heart…… she was correct💔😿

    • What a lovely comment, Malinda. Thanks for taking the time to send it, and hugs to all your fur babies!

  12. Awe, Nancy . . . hugs . . . and love. xoxo

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