A week ago today, I let go of my lovely little kitty Harley. She was my family, my companion for almost 14 years and lived a long, wonderful life (plus nine years with three other families).
Here's the earliest picture of Harley I found during a flip through some old photos. She has always been a princess, sitting on her throne ...
Harley came to me in the spring of ’97. My roommate at the time had just adopted a kitten (that he returned by the end of the weekend!) and I came home with Harley – adopted from friends of the family. She saw me through four apartments, five jobs, many bouts with bronchitis and a load of holidays.
This little kitty cat was my family and taught me many things, including:
Being present is the most important thing: Harley was not a cuddle cat. She hated being held and only let me when I also let her lick my cup of ice cream.
Random photo of Harley - always the watchful one.
But anytime I was sick, sad or injured, she sat right next to me and just watched with a light purr and a slight snuggle to my legs. With anyone she knew, she’d do the same. Like the time my brother cut his finger badly at Thanksgiving. He laid on the floor and she sat next to him. Just watching. Making sure he was okay. No words, purrs or meows needed. The most important thing is just being there in a time of need.
Life is more important: This probably should read Harley is more important. Sometimes, we all get wrapped up in what we’re doing. Focused on working, watching TV, cooking dinner, talking on the phone, playing a game,
Harley - always angling for attention, no matter what I was doing. She was always more important.
etc. Harley was the best interrupter. If I worked too long on my laptop, she’d climb up the chair and onto my desk, stopping me from over focusing. She’d come sit near me when I was on the phone or wake me up when I overslept (I miss my little alarm clock). No matter what, life for Harley was more important than the task at hand.
Always say hello and goodbye: it’s an odd habit but I always greet my kitties when I walk in the house and say goodbye when I headed out. They seem to behave better that way.
Enjoy the simple things: Just like a little kid, Harley’s favorite place to sleep
Harley in a box - Summer 2009
was either in a box or on my bed. No fancy kitty beds needed, simpler was better. She also almost never played with any fancy toy – just the little jingle balls and she loved the laser light too. Whatever brought her joy was simple and at a minimal or no cost. I should practice that more often too.
How about you? What have you learned from your family? Your pet?
I do miss Harley more than I can explain and I’m grateful to have Chompy (who has been relatively patient with the nightly crying jags!). Yes, it’ll get easier with time, yes, she had along full life but I still miss her quiet confidence and calm reassurance whenever I needed a little boost.
May you walk with the angels Harley.
Harley - always the beauty queen.