Wednesday, 27 November 2013


Isabella Elizabeth
May 14th 2007 - October 18th 2013

My candle burns at both ends
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends -
It gives a lovely light.
~ Edna St. Vincent Millay ~   A Few Figs from Thistles, 1920

Bright eyes, burning like fire
Bright eyes, how can you close and fail?
How can the light that burned so brightly,
Suddenly burn so pale?
Bright eyes
~ Mike Batt ~  for Watership Down



Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.
~ Christina Rossetti ~  


I Am Not There
Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn's rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there, I did not die.


This year the glowing embers of Autumn were snuffed out.

Our home is very quiet and still as if blanketed with deep snow.
It’s Narnia without the magic.
For the moment it feels safe here, silent, wrapped in all things white,
we are numb and dim of pain. 


We will return to posting when the ice that grips our hearts begins to melt.




It had been a long time since a kitten had come to share our home. We had lain to rest our three elderly cat companions, moved from life in town to a remote part of Devon and taken on two completely wild ferals to roam the farms. Then she came.

Issy ruled our house and stole our hearts and those of the two wild cats who hissed and growled at us, but were her 'Big Cats'.

Mrs Black and her husband who had once had their own kittens took Issy under their paws and brought her up as family.  They taught her to climb, to fight and to hunt.

She taught them to play and to trust in humans. Without Issy Mrs Black would never have become the excellent housekeeping and shoppe keeping cat which she is today.

A classic Tortoiseshell, from the beginning she was the centre of attention. Known as ‘the naughty kitten’. She was a pouncing contradiction, fiery yet frail, wanton yet affectionate, fearless yet timid. Always into everything, ferocious defender of her territory and a fierce hunter.

Her star burnt ever so brightly. She was, quite simply, luminous.

We took thousands of photographs of her.

It was impossible to resist her. She was a Peter Pan, never really growing up, a Tiger who was afraid of her own shadow if she thought her humans or the Big Cats were not near to protect her. Always reaching out to us with an uplifted paw - she is our eternal kitten.

Being feral and having lived rough before we took them in, the Big Cats had fragile health and many vet bills. We did not know that Issy was ill until it was advanced. We lost her to one of the big three of fatal cat diseases, FIPs (Feline Infectious Peritonitis). It is a secret killer, we seldom know when it strikes, it takes those with weak immune systems, and there is no effective treatment or cure. It is always fatal and takes the form of many disturbing and horrific symptoms before it finally stills the life which it has crept up on.

Issy fought it like a Lion inside of a beautiful kitten and hid the deadly disease from us. She suffered with resorption ulcers and had dental surgery .... and more dental surgery. She began to fade away and the bright light to ebb.

Her fever could not be controlled, she had blood tests, then an operation, we kept faith with Hope, who abandoned us. FIPs was found to be active in the tissue of a lymph node in her stomach. The vet visits and operations terrified her and we chose to have her put to sleep before the disease had the chance to frighten her further. She was recovering from the lymph node surgery and yet the evil disease would still claim her. But we did not let the wraith take her.

The Angel of Death - Evelyn De Morgan, 1880

We entrusted her to gentle Death who came on great silent wings and softly wrapped her in her cape while we held her in our arms. 

You cannot reach the age I find myself now at and not have loved and lost, pets, parents, lovers, friends and colleagues. I have known great love and am grateful for this. Yet in the face of all reason and logic - the truth remains that I have never loved any person or anything more than I loved this bright kitten.

In the greater scheme of events we realise the life of one small cat was rather insignificant. But to each of us our own sorrow is a deep dark ocean that we must cross without a lantern, boat or sail.

Our hearts and thoughts are one with all who have the courage to love.

 There is a light that never goes out.
 "Resembling a London street lamp it stood in the middle of the forest and shone day and night.
A lone connection to the outside world."


  1. No life is insignificant ... your Issy proved that. To share such wonderful love and light is a true blessing. My heart weeps at the loss of Issy. She was beautiful and loved and will be in your heart forever as you will be in hers.

  2. I seriously doubt anyone will read this post without feeling a wealth of emotions!
    Thank you so much for sharing with us and sending thoughts and prayers. May you always remember the good times!

  3. Izzy sounded like such a bright sprite so well loved and deeply intertwined with your soul .
    I understand the depth, and impact a very special creature such as Izzy brings .
    As unfathomable as it may seem to some I truly understand how a special animals love can surpass so many other connections as they truly touch the very core of our being.
    Blessed you were to have had her in your life and blessed she wants you to continue to be .
    Although her bright face is no longer looking up at you ,her bright spirit lives on.
    It does take such a toll to adjust , wishing you strength in the process my friend.

  4. Well, I am crying now with you. Pet death is the hardest---pets don't come with the baggage that people often have and somehow, at least to me, their love seems more pure. My own Tiger Baby is my "soul cat". I hope the pain fades somewhat for you and eventually the happy thoughts of her will outweigh the sorrowful ones.
    Take Care, Tilda

  5. My hear aches for you. I know the love and wonder and warmth of cats.
    Such a wonderful tribute--I am truly sorry

  6. Oh dear Minerva, I hear your sorrow and your abandonment but I can also hear the sheer joy and complete love that you had for your dear Issy. I am at a loss at what to say....x

  7. Bello e toccante ricordo, mi sono commossa.

  8. But what wonderful memories she has given you x Jane

  9. Deepest condolences.
    This is a beautiful remembrance for a beautiful companion.

  10. I sit here reading your beautiful words through a haze of my own tears shed in solidarity and understanding.
    Issy truly is luminous - a twinkling little star amongst felines.

  11. Dear Minerva,

    So sorry to hear of your sweet Izzy's death. She looks beautiful on your photographs. I hope she will be in a beautiful place! Thinking of you!

    Take care,

    Madelief xoxo

  12. Minerva, my heart aches for you and your loss of Issy. I had a calico, who had the same beauty and character. I remember how I felt when she passed away, a hollow spot inside me. It a hard thing to explain to those who do not have furry family members, they don't understand the sense of loss. Issy will always be with you and in time the stories you tell and remember about her will make you feel happy, not sad. For you knew her and she knew you. Big {{hug}}. Ann

  13. I am so sorry to hear of the death of Issy, and of your pain. Even from her photos, she looks somehow special. I'm trying to figure out what it was that made her stand out. An intensity, a fierce lust for life. I really can believe that she was a most remarkable cat - and a terrible loss for you. I'm glad you took lots of photos, and when you have got over the first blow of her loss, I am sure they will console you.

  14. I am so sorry. It is one of the saddest things we face. Watching sick animals is one of the hardest things to do, and making the final decision is even harder. You are such a kind and loving lady. Issy had had a lovely home and special life even though it was not as long as you wanted it to be. I know there are special animals who come to our lives. They give our lives meanings. Please love your other cats more and do love yourself. All love, x

  15. Oh I'm so sorry. She is now in cat heaven together with Zeb.


  16. Oh, dear...I am so sorry about Isabella. I have loved many a cat in my life too. They are all so very special and when their presence is departed they leave such an empty void. They say cats are very human in their personalities. They experience human emotions. I have felt at times that cats are more like women, and dogs more like men. Because you have to win your way into a cat's heart, and with dogs they become your immediate friend, especially if you provide them with food. Yes, it took me an entire year to become friends with a feral cat who had kittens in our yard. She finally would meow when I saw her, but would never let me pet her. The kittens were just as wild as she was. But, yes! A tame kitten can win the hearts of feral cats, and I am so happy to hear that Isabella won the hearts of Mrs Black and her husband so you could treasure their friendship too. Cats are amazing, and I share in your grief.
    Teresa in California

  17. I'm so sorry to read this. You must still be holding yourselves quietly at home, missing your Issy. It's so hard.
    Thinking of you.

  18. I'm so sorry for your loss of Issy... our Fur Babies have all come to us as Ferals or Strays and so I understand that you never quite know for how long you will have the Gift that is their Presence in your life. We've had some stay for a very short but poignant time and yet others that somehow, in spite of rough beginnings, remained for many years. May the many happy Memories of your Fur Baby sustain you thru the Grief of her loss.

    Blessings from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian

  19. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to all of you for leaving us such kind and loving comments.

    Our lives will never be quite as bright without our naughty kitten, but we know this is the price we pay for having and loving an animal companion. We will always miss her and search for her in vain. Many are those who feel the loss of true love - which never dies. Slowly, very very slowly the ice is melting. Blessings to you all.

  20. What a beautiful homage to a lovely and giving cat. Such a sweet tribute.

  21. Oh my goodness. How did i miss this when you posted it?? I'm so sorry for your loss. Hard to type through my tears. She was absolutely beautiful. Such sweet eyes and such a soft, lovely tortie.. I wish i could hug from across the miles. So sorry i was remiss and not writing sooner. Profoundly sad. My love and comfort.. if that helps some...

    1. I'm so late in replying to everyone but I did read and really appreciate your kind comments. x

  22. Thanks for coming by for a Holiday Blog Visit and leaving such sweet words. Who know, perhaps I am a reincarnation of that Bewitching Auntie who Collected doorknobs? Lord knows I have generations of them Hoarded at this Old House! *LOL* Dawn... The Bohemian

    1. I can just imagine your doorknob stash! Made me smile again. x

  23. Merry Christmas my dear blogfriend.


    1. Elna, I hope that you enjoyed a wonderful holiday season. x

  24. I am so sorry for the loss of your beloved Issy ~ may her memory stay with you.

    Sending best wishes to you and yours for a happy holidays and blessed New Year ~


    1. Amanda, I know you too have felt the joy of a close animal companion, and so you understand how deeply the loss is felt. I hope you and your family enjoyed the holidays! x

  25. I was so saddened to read this this morning. Your heart is just laid open and bare within your words. I also wanted to thank you for your kind words to me this morning but you are "no reply comment" so I was unable to email you back. It has been a few weeks now since you lost Issy and I know the loss is a forever one, but we all know the pain slowly turns to a sadness which then morphs into a longing, until we meet our loved ones again.
    May this New Year bring you joy.

    1. Thank you, I appreciate your comments so very much. I'm not sure how to fix the 'no reply' so you can email. I will attempt it once more. technology is not as easy for me as playing with cats though. x

  26. Dearest Isabella,
    What a touching story... glad I read it now, after my heart did heal somewhat from losing two in 2013. One was about Isabella's age, she got killed by a car and one we also had to put to sleep. Heartbreaking and they came into our life for a reason and they actually never leave our hearts. Who knows what mysterious connections they are, where they came from and why? Daring to love that much makes us vulnerable for having to grief one day but still, it is worth it. After a while the grief is not as raw and we can intensely enjoy the many pictures we got from them.
    You got precious ones yourself and what a rich and happy life she lived. Imagine if we had not given shelter and love to them?!
    Hugs to you,

  27. Mariette, Thank you so much for your wise and kind words. You are right, it is the oy of having loved them which brightens our lives long after they are gone. Hugs to you. x

  28. This week is the 1st anniversary of our magical Isabella Elizabeth leaving us. The pain of the loss of her has not diminished at all, but we are getting better at living without her. She is never far, we feel her presence in the gardens where she played and her light step on the staircase each morning as she ran down to the kitchen her eyes filled with joy for a new day full of adventure. Her memory is sometimes bright, so close that I can smell her and feel her soft fur. But time is fading her from view. All who love and lose will know this feeling.

    Today it appears that this world of ours is so full of sorrow. We must all love all be as kind as we can and not forget love. Even when we lose it the light still shines.


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