the heart is a lonely hunter

Recently, my son moved out. It’s not the first time, it’s the second, so I wasn’t overly traumatized, but it is a big adjustment.

We are empty-nesters once again. Dynamics change, patterns shift, life changes. And goes on.

We miss him very much, but we are happy to see him moving forward in life.

Two weeks after he moved and got settled in, he came to pick up the one of our five cats that is his.

Another adjustment.

She is the playful little girl cat, the one who gets along with everyone, the mediator. My son found her in the middle of the road when she was just three weeks old. We had a hard time getting her to eat at first, she wouldn’t take formula from a dropper, and finally we made a mash of food and formula that she dove into, face first.

Every time she ate, her entire face would end up coated with food, and she cleaned herself so often that she rubbed all the hair off her nose. She is the cat that has always made us laugh.

But, we are adjusting, we know that she is safe and is on the next adventure of her life.

Our other cats however, are having issues.

We can’t explain to them that she isn’t truly gone forever, she is just someplace else. And so, they search for her, they mourn, they wander the house.

The kitty in the photo (Missy)  is our second oldest, the mother hen, the brooder. I took her outside with me the other evening, and she kept searching the horizon with her eyes, scanning the woods near our house, looking for Charlie.

Our second oldest cat, Pepe, is the silent type, the steadfast sentinel. It’s hard to tell what he is feeling, but he wanders the house and keeps trying harder than usual to get outside.

Naughty kitten, “He Who Must Not Be Named,” is hardest hit, Charlie is his best friend, in truth, the only other cat in the house that truly likes him. He is lost. Two nights ago he somehow managed to wiggle his way up under the quilt on my bed, and lay there like a lump under the covers for quite some time. He’s never done this before. He has spent twice as much time inside as normal, he is restless, angsty, needy, sad. He misses his playmate.

I try to explain to him that she is not gone like George, she is just somewhere else. But, of course, you can’t explain these things to a kitten. And yes, this means I talk to my cats.

Only our oldest cat, the Queen, is unaffected. She has never cared much for any of the other animals that have come into our lives.

You may think that I am crazy, attributing all these thoughts and emotions to cats, but I have lived with them all long enough to know their patterns and habits, and the change is clearly visible.

This weekend, we plan to have my son bring Charlie for a visit. Hopefully, that will make everyone feel a bit better.

Because as far as these cats are concerned, this empty nest stuff is for the birds.

And I am a a slightly crazier crazy cat lady.





12 Responses to “the heart is a lonely hunter”

  • brian miller Says:

    aww…i feel for them…esp the one that crawled up under the covers…that about breaks my heart…they are like children and it is hard for them to understand these things…and for you as well…transitions take time to settle in…

  • sooz Says:

    That is so sweet! And so well-put! It’s really true about animals missing each other. Usually people are not tuned-in enough to them to notice. Only we “special” people notice that our critters have feelings. We lost our beloved Hopkins this past year, and he was little TeaCup’s special buddy, and she’s never been the same…

  • Amy Says:

    You’re not crazy. =) Cats do have personalities and emotions that are observable, tangible. And I not only talk to my kitties, I sometimes sing to them.

  • missing moments Says:

    Oh, how I love this post and all the personalities of your kitties. We have only one kitty right now, Kramer, 14 years old … and quite content to be the only kitty. Very spoiled and we cater to his every whim. His loyalties get divided with our daughter home from college. He now spends most of his time upstairs with her but when she’s gone for the weekend, he brings down his ducky toy and lays it beside our bed. A gift. ~smile~

  • Kathryn Dyche Dechairo Says:

    I talk to my animals too, I swear if people heard me they would think I’m crazy. I guess that’s what happens when you ditch people in favor of animals. Spending all day with them I know their nuances too. Wishing your son and Charlie all the best as they pave their own way and I hope their visit this weekend brings some happiness to everyone. :0)

  • Graciel Says:

    i love this tale of your cat family. of course, you talk to them because they do understand. and they also reflect our own inner turmoil ,as my 2 boy cats so aptly do.

    keep us updated on the queen and the minions she suffers. especially the little lost naughty one. xo

  • Debi Says:

    well, phooey – you made me cry. poor things – if only they would deign to understand human talk, perhaps you could explain it. perhaps. xoxox

  • Claudia Says:

    oh i think you did a wonderful job in capturing their characters…each of them so individually different… yep…can imagine that they’re suffering..think my son will move out in a bit as this prepared me a bit mentally…

  • beth Says:

    no need to explain… sister’s favorite outdoor cat just came home after a 3 day get-away {she was so worried} and has the best personality. we truly believe she should have been dog.

    anyway, all of her cats, like yours, can be described by their personalities. and hey, cat crazy is good. it’s when you’re described as bit shit crazy or crazier than bat shit, that one needs to worry.

  • Pat Byers (Tilda) Says:

    i especially liked the name of “he who must not be named”, and wondered the reasoning behind that
    but then, i probably know. naming him means you KEEP him.
    i thought everybody talked to animals !
    even myself, today, when faced with the SNAKE in the barn, that the farmer refuses to kill for me, even when i swear i will have a heart attack on these unwanted encounters, got a few choice words. but probably not your sweet words.
    and he does have a name. he is Oliver, usually with additional adjectives attached to his name.
    in fondest, tilda, the snake hater

  • Kate Says:

    Oh, how I loved this post. I was going to suggest having him bring Charlie for a visit because it is such a difficult adjustment. Cats have personalities, just like humans do. So I know exactly of what you speak.
    Good luck to your son as he goes forth on his new adventure.

  • the blue muse Says:

    […] kitty reunion went well, (that story is here), and everyone was content and relaxed and enjoyed the first weekend of […]

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