Stages of Feline Grief

Saturday February 28, 2009 @ 02:45 PM (UTC)

Ryan periodically takes a week off from his fifteen foot commute and goes down to California for some face-to-face meetings.

This is the single greatest tragedy in Qubit’s life.

She has a very short memory. One could probably figure out its precise length from the fact that she treats Steve, with whom she once lived, like an acceptable piece of furniture, and Ruth, who picked her for Ryan as a kitten and lived with her for a while, as a potential moving man or monster. But she is particularly prone to forgetting times when she was less pampered than today. In her mind, I’m sure, Ryan has ALWAYS worked from home, and I have always been semi-unemp a writer. Unfettered access to humans at all waking hours is a Ceiling Cat-given right.

And then Ryan goes to California. Which brings us to the Stages of Feline Grief, as observed in Qubit. They may also occur when I leave town, but I doubt they’re as floridly expressed.

Alarm. Marked by whining and running around, trying to figure out why the schedule is off and Ryan is using his luggage to pack things in (instead of letting her sleep in or scratch up said luggage.)

Indignation. Once he’s actually gone, she stalks around with an air of affronted dignity. He’s not in this room! Well, I never! He’s not in this room, either!

Affection. This is my favorite part. She really doesn’t bother with me much, these days. My workspace doesn’t even have a door, after all: I’m her secondary human and I’m devalued by my constant availability. At this point, and periodically throughout the absence, though, she jumps in my lap constantly, purrs at the least provocation, and generally treats me like I’m the center of her world. I think she wants to make sure she holds on to the backup human, at least.

Suspicion. Qubit starts eyeing me from a wary distance, then searches the house. She chooses a closed door (usually the bedroom, since it stays closed) and sits next to it, wailing her distress. This is the door behind which I have obviously imprisoned Ryan, because there’s no other reason he would leave her for over 24 hours. This stage will randomly occur in between bouts of affection.

Joy and Nonchalance. I see her rehearse this every time I come back from a walk or a grocery trip. She runs to greet me, utters a few sharp exclamations about the nerve of leaving her all alone or surprised pleasure at seeing me again, then runs off for a few minutes to make it clear she didn’t miss me. She exhibited this behavior just now, when her horrible ordeal ended and I brought Primary Human back through the door*.

As you can tell, K├╝bler-Ross didn’t study cats.

*This was supposed to post last night. I guess I failed to press ‘Publish’?


Kaylee gets very excited when Steve uses his sweet voice to invite her over to sit with us. However, she has to languidly stretch and look around for something more interesting to do, showing us that she’s bored and just coming over to patronize us, before trotting over.

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