29 May 2017

In Memory of Nora

by Jan Grape
Sometimes a writer can't help memorializing a a purrsonal moment. Prolific short story writer and mystery maven Jan Grape is in the throes of rearing kittens: a pair of black felines made for mischief and murder most feline. It seems they claim a kinship to a certain "uncle Louie." (They are so wet behind the ears from Mama lickings that they have not even learned to Capitalize.) Still, they are Chiclets's off the old gumshoe. Seems there's a mystery in the neighborhood that needs the feline touch…
— M.L.
This was the appearance of Nick and Nora in short story form in the anthology Midnight Louie's Pet Detectives. Edited by Midnight Louie and his owner and author, Carole Nelson Douglas.

It was 1997 when I wrote the story, "Kittens Take Detection 101" and the book was published in 1998. That's how I know for sure my cats were born in 1997.

I did let the kittens write and talk and solve the mystery. It was fun to have them in the story and let them be big heroes and win the day for my protagonist, PI  Jenny Gordon.

Nora turned 20 years old on March 30, 2017. As I mentioned in an earlier post my cats were a big part of my life and after Nick passed 2.5 years ago it was just Nora and I around here. Twenty years is fairly old for a cat. However, she and Nick both were indoor cats and never went outside to be in danger from predator animals for automobiles or disease brought by another animal into the yard. All their lives they had vet care. Check-ups and shots. Same vet for ten or eleven years.

On May 2, 2017 I had to have Nora put to sleep. She had developed hyperthyroidism but was really too old to have to be put to sleep to have blood drawn or to even try to poke pills or even get liquid medicine down. Treatment would only have given her a few more weeks and no telling what other things in her body would go wrong. There is no way I would ever let an animal suffer.

The vet gave her a sedative and as she drifted off to sleep, I rubbed her ears and face which she always enjoyed. I thanked her for being such a good kitty and told her I loved her. The vet came in then and gave her the final shot and I left the room. My friend and neighbor had driven me there and back. Which was great so I didn't have to drive while tears rolled down my face.

It's been really hard without Nora. As I laughingly said in my previous post about having pet in your stories. "Nora was with me longer than any of my 3 kids, who went off to college or got married."

I can think about her now over than Rainbow Bridge where I think animals go to wait for us. She's healthy and happy. She's with Nick, her brother, litter mate and they run and play and chase squirrels.
Good bye, little baby gal. You gave me many smiles, purrs snuggles and head bumps. I will always love and miss you.


  1. Saying good by to a beloved pet is a sad day, but many would trade for having had such a happy life.
    It is a great thing to have made another creature happy.

  2. Jan,

    This sounds painfully familiar, and we keep on doing it. Barb and I have had from one to three cats with us for 31 of our 32 years together, and the year off was after Seffy (short for Persephone) left us at 20, too. Her kidneys finally failed and she let us know it was time to say good bye when she walked into the bedroom and collapsed by my side of the bed.

    Pets help us find new ways to communicate. They're great listeners. Cats are great editors, too. And they show us how to love. But saying good-bye always sucks, especially to such long-time companions.

    Thanks for sharing this. Barb and I will be going through it again, too.

  3. It's tough to say goodbye to a feline member of the family. I'll have to give my VBKs an extra rub and kitty treat today.

  4. I'm sorry about your loss, Jan. Nora sounds like a wonderful cat. Our Ari is eighteen--still in good health, but I'm having a lot of poignant thoughts about him these days. He's like Nora--he's the one who stayed when our children went to college. I'm grateful for the years we've had together and hope we get at least a few more.

  5. Our pets are as much our family as anyone human; sometimes more so. It took me two years after her death to quit calling my first beloved cat's name as I walked in the door. And my second... It's hard. But they're worth it!

  6. They are with us for too short a time. Far too short.

  7. They are with us for such a short time. Far too short a time.

  8. Didn't mean to post twice. My computer said the first one did not go through. My computer is a cat. It does what it pleases.

  9. Thanks everyone for your kind thoughts and words. Also for sharing your thoughts of your own fur children. Nora was a sweet and loveable kitty but she got very vocal and bossy the last couple of years. I imagine if I were 94 or so I'd be rather vocal and cranky too. I think my next pet will be one of those huge turtles who live over hundred plus years. That way I won't have to say goodbye.

  10. I just read this, Jan. I'm so very sorry.

  11. Jan, I'm truly sorry for your loss. They are truly part of our family and, as you say, you had them in your house longer than your kids. But in very real ways they truly never leave us.

  12. I'm sorry for your loss. Nora sounds like a wonderful cat. I don't have any pets these days but I sure miss the way a cat will listen to & comment on people's conversations.

  13. Jan, so very sorry for your loss. And I am as glad as Nick and Nora surely were for all the love you shared with them through the years.


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