|Birth: ||Jul. 4, 2000|
North Carolina, USA
|Death: ||Oct. 6, 2013|
North Carolina, USA
Sweet black cat with touches of white on her chest, toes and mouth. We lost her a little bit before 3 am on Oct. 6, 2013. She was 13 years old. Sweet girl, all 6 pounds of her.
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Losing Cleo was really hard. She was the first cat I had ever had and we had her for 13 years. She was a stray who had adopted John Brewer. One afternoon he was leaving for work, and I was standing on the porch saying goodbye, (we were newly weds then!) when Cleo came walking down the sidewalk toward him.
I said "you aren't feeding that cat, are you?" since she acted like she was used to being there and to him. He said "no, but watch her." As she approached him, she flopped down on her back and just laid there like "ok, you can love me now" and he reached down and scooped her up like she was a baby. She let him hold her that way all the time, but never me.
I guess since his hands were larger than mine, she felt more secure with him. I did too. Anyway, that went on everyday for a long time with me threatening him if he fed her, which he swore that he was not feeding her. I asked him if he knew her name and he didn't. She was mostly black with a few white places and I just said "Cleopatra," which was shortened to Cleo.
I finally consented and let him have her for Christmas that year, 2000, and my daughter helped me gather her up and put a bow on her neck. I told him since I had never had a cat, I wasn't sure how much I would like it, but we'd try it for 30 days and if that didn't work out, I would find her another home. We had a cat bed from John's mom – I think we had brought it for my daughter but she didn't use it, or something like that, but we had a cat bed the day we brought her in and put that in the corner.
She was leery at first, but liked the food we fed her, and I think she was happy to not be outside any longer. It was over the Christmas holidays and the next thing I know, we are awakened by a squalling cat. I asked John what was wrong with her and he laughed. "she's in heat." Oh great! The Vet wasn't opened until the day after New Year's – two days away!
We took her to the Vet on January 2nd and learned that she wasn't an adult cat after all, she was only about 6 months old and it was her first time in heat. So we decided that she would have been born around the 4th of July and made that her unofficial birthdate. She spent 3 days, and over $500, at the vet, while she recovered and we went to Roanoke Rapids for our Christmas with family.
Anyway, although it was "odd" for me at first, but we eventually became fast friends. No one ever claimed her, which was good since she had thoroughly become our pet. She was really cute and had a white "mustache" on one half of her face. We called her "half-stash." She often would jump off John's lap to come to mine when I came in the living room.
We often ate in the living room and she learned quickly that she couldn't be on either one of us while we ate. She would wait beside the couch, my spot, and just look at me, until I was through and I had put my plate on the coffee table. Then I could tell her it was OK, she would jump up to be with me. She always waited until I told her OK. She was so smart!
When we moved into our last house, she was so frightened that first time, that when we opened the crate we had transported her in, she went immediately under the first thing she saw – the bookcase at the end of the stairs – which was only about ½ inch off the floor! We didn't see her the rest of the day. Later that night she jumped onto the bed, so we knew, that she knew, she was at home.
My office at the new house was upstairs and for some reason, Cleo loved it there. When we first moved in, as well as much later, the "rec room" upstairs was used for storage, so it was full of boxes, around, on, and under, the ping pong table that the previous owners left for us. She loved to hide among those boxes, which could be a problem when I wanted to go downstairs and close the door at the steps. She also loved to slip into the attic which was a walk in room off the "rec" room. I soon discovered that I could get her out from hiding in the boxes by starting to open the attic door to fake her out. She would come out expectantly and I could grab her then and take her downstairs.
Often, if I was just going upstairs for a few minutes, she would start up the staircase after me, I could turn around and say "no" and she would just stop and wait. You could almost see her little face fall with disappointment, but she would wait for me. I usually said that she minded like a dog – she knew what "stay" meant.
I think she liked the stairs because when we lived at our other home, there were skylights in the loft. One night, as we were coming home and I made John stop and back up in the street because I thought I had seen Cleo in one of the skylights! Sure enough, she was! When we went in we figured out that she had jumped onto a box in the loft and somehow jumped even higher onto the ledge of the window! I couldn't even imagine that – it was straight up! Well, there was a spiral staircase leading to the loft and she would run up it, around in a circle, at full speed. The next thing I knew, John had built a ladder from the staircase to the windows so that she could easily get up the wall to the windows and get down again. She loved that too, sitting in the sun, and we hated to leave it when we moved. But the stairs to the 2nd floor substituted for that at the new house and she would often run up them just to turn around and run back down again. Sometimes she would slide when she hit the hardwood floor and keep going into the dining room. She could be very entertaining! But mostly she was sweet.
She was a really sweet little cat and she was a lot of comfort to me, especially after John died. She mourned him, too. He was home with her a lot and most often they were both asleep in his recliner, with her on his chest and often with a warm blanket on them! She never climbed on my belly until after John died. She always slept on his side of the bed, at our feet, but after he died she would come up to me, after she knew I was awake – because I wake up slowly – and then either get in the crook of my arm or try to get on my chest. It bothered me when she did that, although my daughter always asked how could it bother me when she was such little bit of nothing! I would often wake back up and she was in the crook of my arm with her little head on my shoulder, sleeping too. It was really sweet and I sure do miss that.
I think she was so sweet because we, especially John, were sweet with her. John loved to tease her with a laser light or when she was on the stairs, they had a game they played. John would act like he was just walking by and she would swat out at him from between the posts, like he couldn't see her. Then it was on while each of them grabbed at the other between the posts. I know she missed his playfulness, because I do, too.
At the end, the doctor had taken her back to the exam room and took us back there after they had run some tests. She looked so small and so sad, but it was obvious that she recognized me and and my daughter when we walked over to her. That made me feel somewhat better, that she knew we were with her, but the decision still had to be made. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done, but we didn't want her to suffer, so it was done. It was really sad at the end, but my kids helped me through it and we buried her in the back yard.
We do get attached to our pets! The vet sent me a small round clay disc with the imprint of her paws and her name on it and I know I will always cherish that. I would have never thought about that. I have received several cards from thoughtful friends who care and also the Vets. My daughter ordered a marker for her and put it on her grave this week.
I think one of the hardest parts is that she was "John's cat" and it is just another loss associated with him. Life is hard, especially when you love people and pets. But ultimately, it adds so much to your life that you just have to accept the risk and love anyway. It is what makes life worthwhile. Rest in peace, sweet Cleo. Thank you for the love you brought to us.
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On a personal note, I would like to thank nancy murray (#47114597) for sponsering Cleo's memorial. If you have a moment, please click on her link at the bottom of this page and visit some of her special memorials like her sweet cat Molly Murray.
Specifically: Family Pet buried at home.
Created by: Lanie
Record added: Oct 06, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 118266853
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