Goodbye, Cleopatra’s Cat…

Cleo in a box

We got him when he was only 8 weeks old. He was almost pure white with just a few hints of pale tan that became the dark brown seal points he grew into. We named him Cleopatra’s Cat because we first thought “he” was a “she” and he looked like something Cleopatra herself would have owned. He was OH so pretty, and boy did he know it! From the beginning, we knew Cleo was special. He was talkative and smart and was always a ‘lap-cat’. He was the world’s biggest cuddler, even approaching strangers to find a warm body onto which he would slink like oil. One minute, your lap would be empty and the next thing you knew, you would have this warm, fat, glossy purring ball of fluff peering up at you with eyes of sky-blue and an expression that convinced you that your life would be so much better if you just let him stay in his comfy spot. In fact, if he got especially comfortable and blissed out, he would start drooling on you.

Cleo beggingCleo was the kind of cat that you could see him thinking or figuring out a problem before ultimately finding a solution. At one place where we lived, there was a sliding screen door that led out onto the patio. It was Cleo who figured out how to hook a claw and pull sideways to get the door open for him and his brother, Max, so they could both go soak up the sunshine in the great outdoors and snack on the grass salad bar while they were there (and then come back inside to regurgitate said “salad” on the floor). At the same house, he was not allowed in a back hallway area of the house and we put up a foam-core board (very lightweight) tall enough that he couldn’t jump over. Cleo didn’t need to jump over it, because he figured out how to hook that same claw under one corner and methodically work the corner out enough that he could squeeze his head through and eventually his fat body followed. We finally discovered a solution by taping a bunch of fake flowers at that particular corner of the board – apparently, they stymied him enough that it wasn’t worth the effort to burrow under them to get to the corner.

That one claw became Cleo’s subtle ‘weapon’ of choice. In the morning, when he wanted fed, he would use that single claw to great effect, barely poking my face with just the sharp point of it. Poke, poke. Merroow. Hey. Get up. I’m hungry. Poke, poke. Hey, you. If that didn’t work, he was not the least bit concerned about walking on my head or getting up on the pillow and blatantly laying down on my head. Let me tell you, a 12-pound ball of fur either draped across your head (or sometimes your face) and stepping on your hair is enough to wake even the heaviest sleeper. The funniest part about how much he weighed was that although his body was heavy and covered in the softest, thickest, most luxurient fur you can imagine, he had these skinny legs and bony feet! If I could draw a stick figure of him, it would be with a big, round body and stick legs and feet. 🙂 Now imagine that feeling when you’re trying to sleep and the cat decides it wants to walk all over you.

He was a pure-bred, Applehead Seal Point Siamese. These are of the “true” traditional cat line that descended from Siam (now Thailand). Through careful breeding, they don’t have the crossed eyes or wedge-shaped head of the other Siamese breeds. They are also very friendly and their voices are soft and cultured, not scratchy or whiny like the other Siamese. Even though he was a pure-bred, through most of his life, Cleo acted like more of a Heinz 57 variety of house cat. He was the pauper prince of the household. Actually, in his older years, he reminded us more of an old drag queen because of his mannerisms (such an attention monger!). He adored having his belly rubbed and would flip over if he thought there was even a remote chance at that kind of attention. Of course, in that position he was so cute, and he knew it, squirming around on his back and using his feline wiles to persuade anyone nearby that he deserved a good tummy rub. Come on, pet me. You know you want to.

Oh, BEhaveAt 18 years old, Cleo went to the Rainbow Bridge today. He was in the latter stages of kidney failure and life was no fun for him anymore. He stopped eating and drinking a couple of days ago and although I dreaded it, I knew it was time to let him go. People think that cats who die at home just go peacefully in their sleep, but the truth is that in the later stages, once they stop eating and drinking, they get weakened, dehydrated and suffer from dementia and a slow starvation…so euthanasia is a kinder ending. As their mom or dad, you owe it to them to make sure they do not suffer. It is the last, great gift you can give your dear friend, to hold them and be with them right up to the very end. Luckily, we have a vet in the area who makes house calls, so I didn’t have to stress the poor old guy with fear of a vet office visit. We buried him under the rosebush because it was one of his favorite outside spots and so that when I see the roses I can think of how his beautiful spirit is helping the flowers grow and become beautiful, too.

Rest in peace my sweet, old friend. You will be sorely missed.

The winkThe Rainbow Bridge

(inspired by a Norse legend)

        * * * * * * * * *

By the edge of a woods, at the foot of a hill,

Is a lush, green meadow where time stands still.

Where the friends of man and woman do run,

When their time on earth is over and done.

For here, between this world and the next,

Is a place where each beloved creature finds rest.

On this golden land, they wait and they play,

Till the Rainbow Bridge they cross over one day.

No more do they suffer, in pain or in sadness,

For here they are whole, their lives filled with gladness.

Their limbs are restored, their health renewed,

Their bodies have healed, with strength imbued.

They romp through the grass, without even a care,

Until one day they start, and sniff at the air.

All ears prick forward, eyes dart front and back,

Then all of a sudden, one breaks from the pack.

For just at that instant, their eyes have met;

Together again, both person and pet.

So they run to each other, these friends from long past,

The time of their parting is over at last.

The sadness they felt while they were apart,

Has turned into joy once more in each heart.

They embrace with a love that will last forever,

And then, side-by-side, they cross over… together.

© 1998 Steve and Diane Bodofsky. All Rights Reserved.

About dragonkatet

Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.
This entry was posted in Animals, Cats, Life, Nature. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Goodbye, Cleopatra’s Cat…

  1. Jo Bryant says:

    Oh Dear Corina…I wish I could say something to make it easier but I can’t. My tears right now (yes I am crying) are sadness for you at his loss…and joy that you had each other for all that time. I wish I could hug you. He was gorgeous and sounds like he was a definite character…one that burrowed deep withing the walls of your soul. I know that you will miss him and that right now will be a time of sorrow…but remember those blue eyes and the love he held your image in them with. Take care of yourself and let yourself feel whatever you need to. We all (the furry kids included) send you our love/our sympathy/our thoughts to you.


    Safe travels Cleopatra’s Cat…may you find lots of bluebirds to chase…

  2. I’m with Jo on this one. There’s nothing I can say to make it better, but you created a brilliant portrait of Cleo, his life, and his impact on your life. The Rainbow Bridge is beautiful, and I know he enjoyed it. By the way, Cleo has so many personality similarities to Lyra, it was a joy to read about him and think of how Lyra mirrors many of his actions.

    • dragonkatet says:

      Thank you, John. All of the ‘fur-babies’ which grace our lives are special, but some stand out a little more than others. Cleo was such a one and I know that Bastian and Lyra are for you. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment and also for being there.

  3. Sorry to read this post Corina! A special tribute to a special sweet creature!

  4. lengesinski says:

    Thanks for Letting Us to get to See a Glimpse of Cleo in Action, and get To Know the Story Behind.
    It’s Not Easy in the Least bit to have to Put The Fur Kids Down, but Letting Them Suffer More and More is Even Tougher.
    My Wife and I are Parents to Seven Cats and One Little Dog–Our Kids,

    • dragonkatet says:

      Thank you, leng, for your compassion and understanding. For those of us without kids, the fur-babies do indeed fill that role. I agree with you about letting them suffer being the tougher choice. Congrats for being such wonderful parents to those lucky animals. 🙂 Thank you again for your kind thoughts.

  5. wightrabbit says:

    What wonderful memories you have of Cleo, thanks for sharing them at this time. May your roses bloom abundantly, in memory of him. The poem is so reassuring and uplifting, too _/!\_

  6. Sonne says:

    Oh wow, looks exactly like my Siamese Alice aka Lucy. even in the character traits you’re describing. She’s 12 now and I can already see sign of aging but she’s still unstoppable.

    • dragonkatet says:

      Thanks, Sonne, for stopping by. I hope you have many more years with Lucy. Siamese cats are some pretty special animals – those blue eyes always carry that extra sparkle of intelligence and mischief! 🙂

  7. This brings tears to my eyes. I have some sweet pups waiting for me on the rainbow bridge…it’s so hard to let them go, isn’t it?

    • dragonkatet says:

      Well, I didn’t want to make anyone cry, but it IS very hard to let them go…especially when they have been with us for so many years. I’m sure they will be waiting for both of us with tails wagging and eyes shining when we get there!

  8. Luke Prater says:

    kinda worked out in the end… touching… I have some crit but I wouldn’t post it here. Of you want it you know where 😉 Greet to you, sister

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