Cathy Reilly

Cathy Reilly, Front Desk Coordinator 

RIP, Lee Lee the killer calico. You were the best at communicating fierceness and cuddliness, sometimes all in the span of a few seconds. And no cat could ever mouse the way you did. You were loved and you will be terribly missed.

As a wonderful former therapist used to say to me, “It is a good day to die.”

Before you interpret this as endorsing suicide, let me assure you that she meant life is short and could end at anytime. Lee didn’t appear to be ill until earlier this week, and her fast decline reminded me not to take loved ones for granted.

We went to the vet yesterday after fortunately securing an emergency appointment and in my heart of hearts, I knew that we’d be coming home without her. She went easily over the Rainbow Bridge and my husband, our older son and I were there to pet her as she passed.

Lee and one of her littermates, Sam the silver tabby, came to us as kittens in the late spring of ’05. Their provenance was the barn of my husband’s cousin. My husband and our eldest child had gone to Oklahoma to visit family there and while gone, Vincent, our cat at the time, had escaped our house via a door inadvertently left open by a visiting neighbor. So I tasked my spouse with bringing home two kittens, thinking that they’d entertain one another. My son picked out the pair. 

Six weeks to the day Vincent disappeared we had the deck door opened on a hot summer night after the fur babies were in bed. And in walked Vincent! We instantly became a three-cat family.

Fast-forward to the holidays that year when my youngest announced “Lee has a lump in her tummy.” I realized I had not had either cats fixed yet. Lee had a litter of four in January 2006. Three of the kittens survived and we kept a male orange tabby. There was harmony in the cat world at our house and that continued until Sam left us in late November 2015 — he had a mass the vet was certain was cancerous.

We are now down to just one cat, an elderly male with white hair and he is at least 18, probably closer to 19. I know that we might not have him much longer either as he has some health issues. Vincent van Ghost has already spent some of his nine lives anyway escaping the house another time and hiding in, of all places, the grass catcher bag of the lawn mower. Like every being that lives and breathes, he is on borrowed time.

Another therapist I saw for years taught me that new loss brings up old loss and every time I am faced with grief, I channel her and that wise lesson as she was and is so very right. Right now, my heart is aching not only for Lee, knowing she is gone forever, but also over our other losses over the last several months — the passing of our beloved Tessa pup last fall and that of one of Lee’s offspring, Tygie, who left us in late March.

Lee’s absence will take some getting used to. In the meantime, I’ll be seeing her around in my mind’s eye until I finally grasp that she is truly gone.

Good night, sweet girl. Thank you for loving us as we loved you.