She used to be my girl

Squishie. Hoochie. Big Gray Girl. She had many nicknames. Our 18-year old matriarch, Sidra, crossed the Rainbow Bridge a week ago today, leaving a gaping hole in our little family.

We adopted Sidra in May 2002 from the Humane Society of the Black Hills in Rapid City, SD. She was supposedly about a year old at the time, and had recently given birth, making her teats a little prominent. Because of this, we named her Sidra, for one of Jerry Seinfeld’s girlfriends on the show, whose breasts were both “real and spectacular.”

We didn’t realize when we brought her home that she had a highly contagious upper respiratory infection, and our resident cats, Sputnik and Biscuit, were behind on their shots. We were rewarded with three sneezing, snotty cats for almost a month.

In her younger days, she was a gorgeous, plush, gray shorthair who appeared to have some Russian blue in her genetic makeup.

Photo of a gray cat with gold eyes

She almost always looked grumpy, even when she was purring happily, being cuddled in our arms or on a lap.


Regardless of that, she was a very good-natured, tolerant cat, toward Loving Husband and I, anyway.

Photo of blonde man and gray cat asleep on green couch

(You wouldn’t believe how many photos I have of Loving Husband asleep with one or more of our pets.)

Sidra never once clawed or bit me, like all our other cats have at one time or another. She was very, very tolerant.

Photo of gray cat laying on side with toys on top

Most of the time, she was a terrible bully to her sister, Nemo–but she was capable of sharing at times.

Photo of two cats on a lap   Two cats on a lap

She was such a bully, in fact, that we came very close to rehoming her a couple times. It’s very painful to remember that in the context of losing her last week. Words cannot express how thankful I am that it never came to pass.

To a lesser extent, she also bullied our former boys, Sputnik and Biscuit. But they weren’t as easily intimidated as Nemo.

photo of two cats and a box

Even though she didn’t actively bully Chai,

Photo of two cats on stairs

he was, nonetheless, well aware of his place in the pecking order.

The dogs she simply ignored.

Sidra & Rye Lee

She was the only one of our four-legged crew who lived in all five houses we owned from 2001 till now.  In February 2007, she moved to Harrisburg, PA, with Loving Husband, who moved there four months ahead of the rest of us to start his new job, while I stayed behind in Rapid City to sell our house.

Photo of blonde man and gray cat

Sidra loved being carried around in a laundry basket, with or without laundry in it:

Photo of gray cat in a white plastic laundry basket

She was about 14 lbs. at her heaviest, so laundry could be a serious workout at times–especially since our washer and dryer were never on the main level.

She really, really loved being in the laundry basket.

Photo of three cats laying on a bed with a dark pink cover. one cat is in a laundry basket.

Lounging in the sunshine was also a favorite activity.

Photo of a gray cat laying in a sunny window near a pot of cactus.   Photo of gray cat and pug dog laying in sunshine

Like every one of our pets, Sidra brought us more laughter, love and joy than we could ever have imagined when we first brought her home. She was a gift to us from a loving Universe, and I will miss her every single day, like I do Sputnik, Biscuit and Kyllo. I feel confident in my belief of what happens to humans when they transition back into Nonphysical–as explained by Abraham-Hicks–but I don’t understand as well what happens to our pet-children. I don’t see any reason, though, why they can’t also be part of my Posse.

I do know this: the Universe is telling me that she’s okay, and her energy is still very much present, as evidenced by this link a friend sent two days after she died:

Photo a black cat from a humane society web page

According to my friend, this cat has already been adopted.  Sidra is working her magic from behind the scenes.

I like to think she’s found another laundry basket in a patch of sunshine.

Sputnik 2.0

Let me be perfectly clear about this:  I believe my cat, Chai, is the reincarnation of my former cat, Sputnik.

I am completely serious.  I believe in the recycling of souls, also known as reincarnation.  Of course, billions of other people also believe this, but I suspect a significant number of these folks are Hindu or Buddhist.  I, on the other hand, was raised in a church-going Lutheran family.  I started questioning things pretty early on, however, and have not been a Lutheran–or even a Christian–for the majority of my life.  Though I believe very firmly in a higher power, I choose not to refer to it as “god,” since I associate this word with Christianity.  And pretty much everything about Christianity makes me intensely uncomfortable.  Instead, I think of it as Source, or Source Energy, the term used by the teachings of Abraham-Hicks.

The biggest shift in my worldview began in 2003 when I began attending classes at Creative Living Institute at the recommendation of a friend.  Mary Graham’s lessons opened up a whole new world for me that made more sense than anything I’d ever been exposed to before.  I learned about numerology, tarot cards, astrology, auras, chakras and meditation, among other things.  I knew what reincarnation was, of course, but Mary talked about it in a way I hadn’t considered before:  that souls travel together through time and have “contracts” with each other, and that everything comes from the same source energy and is thus connected.

With this abbreviated background in place, let me tell you about The Man.

Sputnik was my soulmate, my familiar.  We found each other at the Dumb Friends League in Denver, Colorado, in February 1991 when he was about six months old.  He was the first cat I adopted on my own, and for whom I was the sole caregiver.  I loved him with every fiber of my being.

photo of kitten in a window
Sputty in our Denver apartment, 1991

From the first moment I saw him in his kennel, I knew.  An adoption counselor placed him on my lap in a visiting room, and he immediately rolled over on his back, waving his paws in the air.  I named him Sputnik because I liked the sound of it, and because I liked the band Sigue Sigue Sputnik.

My friend David almost immediately dubbed him “Little Man,” and that nickname–along with several variations like “Little B” or “The Man”–stuck till the end of his life in 2010.  He was extremely naughty, with a penchant for blueberry muffins left out overnight on the stovetop.  He tipped the trashcan over and dug through the contents almost every day until I wised up and bungeed it shut.  One day I returned from work to find every piece of jewellry I owned strewn from one end of the apartment to the other.  Oh yes, he was naughty.  And I adored him.  He particularly loved playing stalk and chase, and being held above my head to be “flown” around the house, complete with airplane sounds.  David tied a rubber cockroach to a long piece of dental floss, creating a cat toy for Sput second only to “Mr. Purse Strap,” which we finally just threw out a few years ago.

photo of two cats curled up together
The Boys in 2008, age 17 and 18

I adopted a brown tabby kitten from the Dumb Friends League in 1993 and named him Biscuit.  “The Boys,” as they were known, provided my husband and I with many years of love and entertainment.  They left this world within a year of each other at the ripe old age of 19.

photo of two cats laying on blue carpeted stairs
Nemo & Sidra, 2012

We moved from South Dakota to Oregon in early 2012, and, though we had Sidra and Nemo, two female cats we’d adopted in Rapid City, I knew I had to find another male Himalayan mix like Sputnik.  In May 2013, I found him on Petfinder.com.  Actually, I found a brother-sister pair who had been rescued from the shoulder of Interstate 5 near Springfield, their mother having been killed on the highway.  I made a phone call, loaded a pet carrier in the car, and off we went.

photo of a kitten in a cat carrier
Chai, 5/26/2013

Though we were prepared to adopt both kittens, the rescue assured us that, based on their young age and personalities, they wouldn’t be the least bit traumatized by being separated.  So Chai came home with us on May 26, 2013.

Chai is very self-entertaining, as are many cats.  One day I noticed him playing alone in our guest room, and watched as he pawed at the rug (like he was digging a hole), then put his head down and did a front roll into the spot where he’d been “digging.”  Sputnik used to do the exact same thing.  I’ve never seen either of our girl cats do it.

photo of a cat in a sink
Chai 2015

Last week, I was in the bathroom flossing my teeth, and Chai joined me on the counter.  Then he did something he’d never done before:  he got into the sink and began pawing at the sides, curling himself up in the round space and looking up at me.  Nemo will sometimes get on the bathroom counter, but she has never once gotten into the sink.

 

photo of cat in a sink
Sputnik 1992

I took an almost identical photo of Spunik in our apartment sink in 1992.  I spent a lot more time in front of the mirror in those days, and he was right there with me, most of the time.  I think he even supervised the night I tried to pierce my own nose with a sewing needle.  (That didn’t end well.  I had to have it done professionally.)

photo of kitten meowing
Chai, 2013

 

If it’s true that souls can choose to travel through time together, it’s entirely plausible that the Little Man bided his time out there in the Nonphysical from 2010-2013, saw an opportunity to come back to me and took it.  This probably sounds pretty crazy to someone who doesn’t subscribe to this particular worldview, but that’s OK.  I don’t really care, because the truth of it resonates within my higher self.

photo of cat yawning
Sputnik 2006

It was only within the past five years or so I actually looked up the word “Sputnik” and discovered its literal meaning is “fellow traveller” or “travelling companion,” depending on which website you use.

There are so many reasons to feel connected to Source.

The Law of Attraction at work.

If, like me, you’re a student of Abraham and the Law of Attraction, the following will make a lot of sense.

Yesterday was not a good day.  Sometimes the smallest thing sets me off.   More often it’s the combination of the smallest thing coupled with perimenopausal hormone levels.  Then, because the Law of Attraction is a real thing (like gravity) and is in effect every day all the time, most times things just deteriorate from there–unless I’m able to reroute my attitude, which doesn’t often happen.

The thing that set me off yesterday was a trip to our local Safeway for my favorite yogurt and discovering they apparently no longer carry it.

Nancy's yogurt

Let me be clear that this kind of thing inexplicably happens to me with disturbing and irritating frequency.  This leads me to believe I either have really bad taste or I belong to a very small, elite minority with such highly evolved taste that the rest of the world simply can’t keep up.

Anyway, the AWOL yogurt was another one of those Final Straws I mentioned in an earlier post.  It prompted an f*bomb-laden text to my darling husband, who is painfully aware that I don’t always respond to these types of personal challenges with my Highest and Best Self.  The text said:

You know what?  Fuck Abraham.  Sometimes I really just want to be able to hate my fucking life without the fear of attracting more shit.

Ew, right?  Right.  Enter the Law of Attraction.  Or, if you prefer, the very similar Threefold Law, as stated in the Wiccan Rede:

“Mind the threefold law ye should, three times bad and three times good.”

In other words, like attracts like.  That which is like is drawn unto itself.  As within, so without.  You get the picture.

Back to the yogurt.  I decided to try the Corvallis Safeway about 15 minutes away.  Guess what?  No Nancy’s yogurt there either.  So I went to Market of Choice, and SUCCESS!  All the Nancy’s yogurt flavors I could ever want and then some.  Hurray for me!

[Insert thoughts of rainbows, butterflies, unicorns, playful kittens.]

At this point, I should let you know that I had brought puppy along for the ride.  Remember happy dog from the other day?

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I thought you might.  She is cute, isn’t she?  Unfortunately, she also gets carsick.  But I naively thought she was over it–with good reason, as she hadn’t gotten carsick for almost a month.

Here’s where things started to get weird.

We were in the Trader Joe’s parking lot, and I was just about to go in when she barfed up copious bright pink vomit containing all manner of yard debris, including grass, plum pits (hence the bright pink hue), scilla bulbs, mulch, and a rather unhealthy amount of colorful string from the rope toy she’d been busily ripping apart for days.

“Hello, friend,” said the Universe.  “This is especially for you.  Thank you for your order.  I am happy to comply.  Please come again.”

Can you see where this is going?

Poor sad puppy.  Poor grossed-out me.  I cleaned up her travel crate as best I could, and we headed straight home.  I then found myself following a garbage truck for the next 15 minutes.

“Hello again, friend,” said the Universe.  “Aren’t I doing a good job giving you exactly what you asked for?  Enjoy your drive home.”

When I got home, I realized I’d forgotten about leaving one of our two cats out on the patio in the kitty cabaña.

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She, of course, had barfed up a large hairball and was meowing at the top of her lungs to be freed from the vomitorium.

“Hello, friend,” said the Universe once again.  “Have you had enough?  I can keep this up all day, if you like.”

I’ll wrap this up.  I apologized to the pets for being the worst mom ever, fed them dinner, cleaned up the car and the patio, threw a load of vomit-splattered towels, blanket and crate pad in the laundry, and thanked the Universe for being so responsive.

Husband came home from work shortly thereafter to find me tear-streaked and sprawled on the couch in front of the stereo listening to Rush loud enough to shake the entire house in a manner akin to the classic Maxell audio tapes commercial, drinking wine straight from the bottle.

“Mind the threefold law ye should, three times bad and three times good.”

Indeed.