This past Sunday Momma Kat lost her beloved Bear Cat.
To those outside of the Anipal community, Bear was "just a cat." I'm blessed to be on the inside of that ridiculous notion. I know, like everyone reading this post, that Bear was more than just a cat. He was Katherine's everything. He changed her life, and gave her back her sense of well-being, just by being there for her.
For those who build their social media around one predominant fur kid, losing that kid knocks the breathe out of you. Katherine herself said how she now feels like she's lost her identity with Bear's passing.
It's understandable. For me, I started building my social media around Herman TattleCat, never once contemplating what TattleCat would be once he passed. As he aged, tolerating camera intrusion less and less, I leave him be. And therefore, TattleCat's social media with 12,000+ has faded into a shell of what it once was.
Of course I have lots of cats to take his place, but NO ONE can ever take Herman's place. He is one of a kind. And so, with Herman in retirement, I struggle to find my voice. I knew the voice of Herman!!! (he never goes anywhere without his 3 exclamation points). Just like I know the voice of Dori and Rabbit (God help me). Herman has always been sweet and soft, as opposed to brash and unashamed of being naughty, and I miss posting current photos of him. And when his time comes, I will not announce it to the world. He is in retirement ... for good.
Losing Herman, like Katherine lost Bear, hits me in the heart unlike the other cats I've lost. Yes, there have been many before him who could have easily hit high social media numbers because they were truly awesome. But Herm is exceptional. Half Turkish Van, half Angora, his round head, round intelligent eyes, and tiny body reach deep into my soul and have never let go since the day I found him. We bonded instantly, like Love at First Sight. It's that connection, like an addiction, that makes losing him agonizing to even think about. And that's why I choose not to share his passing with the world. I will grieve in private. I cannot bear to see his name on a rock during the Tribute Rides, nor announced every year on his Angleversary. To me that's like ripping the scab off a horrific wound, Every. Single. Year. I'm told many people take comfort in the celebration of Angelversaries. I am not one of them.
It is my opinion that by sharing our fur kids with the World elevates them into another realm. They become 3D; larger than LIFE. I saw for myself the way people reacted when they met Herman at Blogpaws. I have a photo of women surrounding Herm in Mosey, his stroller. He even got mobbed in the hotel bathroom! Herm took the adoration of his fans in stride, sitting patiently while they took his photo, often posing with him. At his first Blogpaws in Vegas a group of Japanese tourists surrounded him, on their knees, excited to be taking pictures of "TattleCat," like he was Harrison Furred, David Meowie, Catrick Swayze, or The Cat Formerly Known as Purrince.
The fur kids have no idea what all the fuss is about, but their manager moms and dads sure do. So when we lose them, we do experience a particularly heartbreaking realization that it's all over. We all cried when Debbie lost her Katie, but luckily we had our love for Waffles who was ready to step forward. Cathrine had her B-Team when Bionic Basil passed. Jacqui lost Eric and Flynn, but turned her blog into a celebration of their lives. I'm confidant in time Katherine will find her footing and do the same with Ellie.
Herman's TattleCat account will soon undergo a change, featuring him in retirement, enjoying such recreations as lawn bowling, fishing, croquet and boating with his beloved wife, Belle. I have allowed Rabbit to successfully dominate Instagram with his notorious, unashamed naughtiness, and soon will bring him forward on Twitter to bump tails with the other Bad Boys of Twitter.
I asked Dori if she wanted to take over Herman's account with his high numbers, but she said she is satisfied to have a small group of close furends, and doesn't like the spotlight shining too brightly on her. I'm not surprised considering she spent her only Blogpaws appearance reporting LIVE from under the bed and behind the bath towels.
Since Herman went into retirement, I have struggled to find the spark I once had when blogging and tweeting. I cherish my memories of those fresh fun days when the Anipals were young and vibrant, and we had to deal with indecent spammers infiltrating our Twitter pawties. We set up Jail Accounts because we would tweet fast and furious, and Twitter would put us in Jail for an undetermined amount of time to cool us down, especially at charity fund raising pawties. At the Anipal Prom, Herman went to jail five times. He set a record that night.
And the Anipal Weddings... Herman and Belle had the largest wedding party Dana Pixie ever made. The wedding and reception trended Number One on Twitter.
Afterward, Dana recruited me to join the AWP helping her to make the scenes, which was an eye-opening experience. But that was yesterday, and living in the past ain't my thang.
My heart goes out to Katherine during these first days and weeks following Bear's passing. She in particular shared so much of herself through Bear. I got to hang out with Katherine in person at three Blogpaws, in fact stepping out of an elevator and directly into her arms! Always felt like I was reconnecting with a dear dear friend. I will never forget how she wanted to meet Dori so bad, but Dori was in seclusion until the very last day when I dragged her out for breakfast. Kat had just sat down to eat when I casually mentioned Dori was here. Kat said, "Screw breakfast," and ran to kneel beside my darling fraidy cat and fawn over her.