I Miss My Cat, Her Soft Belly and Voiceless Meow--Rambling Poetic Prose About Loss

Setzer fat cat in chair on screened-in patio
Setzer fat cat in chair on screened-in patio | Source

My Cat as a Kitten

Setzer as a young kitten. Should I have trained her in the toilet? She seemed pretty comfortable.
Setzer as a young kitten. Should I have trained her in the toilet? She seemed pretty comfortable. | Source

Cat Poem


I miss her soft belly and her voiceless meow.

Setzer! Setzer! I’d call in a high-pitched voice, and she’d come running with belly flopping, eyes wide, and mouth moving in that noiseless meow, hardly any voice, always that way, unlike her loud housemates, Oliver and Katie, always yelling, demanding food, when the bowls were half full.

And she didn’t get high on catnip, either, like the others would, but would join in on with them anyway and roll on the carpet—for their pleasure, I think. She was thoughtful like that.

Always had to explain her name. Setzer, a girl? Yeah, skinny, old stray cat in the yard that came into my house (yeah, demanded), so sweet, hanging out with us, accepted by the cats. Asked the neighbor if she was a stray cat. No, they said, and she was a “he,” but his sissy was having kittens soon. Would I be interested?

That's One Relaxed Cat!

Setzer hanging all out over a box that had a bread maker in it. She could really relax..
Setzer hanging all out over a box that had a bread maker in it. She could really relax.. | Source

Setzer and Little Trudy Jane

Setzer and Little Trudy were together all the time. I feel so sorry for Little Trudy Jane.
Setzer and Little Trudy were together all the time. I feel so sorry for Little Trudy Jane. | Source

When This Special Cat Came Into My Life

So one day the neighbor came by with a tiny orange and white kitty. Named after supposed stray cat of the music group Stray Cats, with lead singer Brian Setzer, so I called her Setzer, softened it with a sweet, feminine middle name years later: Setzer Marie.

Oh, she went too soon, though almost 14. I thought she’d be fine. I thought she’d be fine. Eating less but some, then suddenly none, and no amount of IVs or prayers could help.

Doesn’t God like cats, too? I asked. I prayed. Too busy, I guess, to care about my needing her to be here, to momma the other cats. And to just sit near me on the couch.

Little Trudy Jane, meowing and rubbing against me all day after. Momma, momma. Who’s gonna lick me? Now it's been well over a month, and that little girl still is breaking my heart with her neediness.

And now nearly a year since her death, and little Trudy is now a loner. My household of cats still disjointed after Setzer's departure. The glue that held them all together.

Uncle Simon, who grew up with Setzer, hanging with her on the windowsill, maybe took Trudy Jane under his wing at first. But he's such a loner. He's not the lover that Setzer was.

And everyone has been different. Oliver and Katie cuddling close on the patio, on the settee where Setzer used to join


Setzer on the Left: They Haven't Cuddled LIke This Since She Has Been Gone. She was the Glue.

Setzer with her buddies
Setzer with her buddies | Source

Setzer Accepted All Animals--Even Dogs

Setzer hanging out with Gizmo, the dog
Setzer hanging out with Gizmo, the dog | Source

Petting my Sweet Cat

I thought she was getting better. I was giving her extra attention since she hadn't been feeling well. But I was thankful . . . .
I thought she was getting better. I was giving her extra attention since she hadn't been feeling well. But I was thankful . . . . | Source

A Cat Who Loved Everyone and Every Animal

Setzer the lover. We’d spoon. We had for years, my arm around her soft fur. Naps or just in the middle of the night. She’d be there in the morning, on the bed, staring at me with the others, ready to start their day. Come on, she’d say, with her silent meow.

Why didn’t you meow at me, demand something, tell me what hurt you? Instead you purred at my petting and brushing and gazed at me with clear eyes to make me think you were getting better.

Did you know your time was near? Could I have stopped it? I should have tempted you more with other foods. I should have taken you for IVs sooner. I would have done whatever it took to save you.

14 years are a blur. Memories already fading, but I know we did a lot, played a lot, loved a lot. I have pictures, tons of them. I know you had a life here. I know I spent time with you, right?

Photo Tribute to My Setzer Marie: It Hurts So Much That You're Not Here (songs used with permission)

Book: Cold Noses at the Pearly Gates: This book gives me comfort that I will see Setzer again.

The Longing When a Loved One is Gone

I understand that longing. Just come back for a minute. Let me just hold you for a minute. Let me assure you how much I loved you. I'm feeding the cats more wet foods now to keep them better hydrated as they age. A can every day instead of the occasional treat. I feel guilty. You should be here, too. I would spoil you to heaven and back if you were here. Are you angry with me? That I couldn’t keep you here? That I didn't do more? Would you have left us no matter what? I wish I knew.

Five cats and a dog, yet the house is empty. A hole left by a cat with a heart that purred and never met a stranger, whether cat, dog, or human. The glue. The heart.

That jarring feeling comes in waves, washing through me, but not softening that tight knot in my throat or the stirs in my tummy, coming out in tears I’m not used to shedding. But I do for her.

I long for her soft belly and voiceless meow.

Video Tribute

I felt compelled to make a video tribute to my sweet Setzer Marie. One song that kept coming to mind as I went through her pictures and reminisced was Linda Ronstadt's Goodbye My Friend. But while the song expresses the profound grief and loss I've felt, I wanted songs to better capture the sweetness of Setzer's soul.Plus, I fight against the line that "I know I'll never see you again," because I hold onto the hope that i will. I think the songs I finally chose do capture Setzer's sweetness and the feeling that we will have happy days together again.

Baby Mine by Allison Krauss

You Can Close Your Eyes by James Taylor and Carly Simon

However, those songs are copyrighted, so I can only watch the photos and listen to those on my own. What I found to set the video to music that I can share are these two songs:

Hoping You're Okay by Caroline and Nick

and Piano Music--My First Love (CC License).



Christmas 2012 with Setzer and Gizmo at PetsMart

Setzer was pretty calm (for a cat, at least) to visit PetSmart to visit Santa Claus
Setzer was pretty calm (for a cat, at least) to visit PetSmart to visit Santa Claus

© 2015 Vicki L Hodges

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Comments 55 comments

thumbi7 profile image

thumbi7 16 months ago from India

Lovely Victoria

Your love for the cat is immeasurable. It is natural for any one to feel that one has not done enough for their loved ones immediately after they lose them.

But from the pictures and your explanations, it is very clear that you have taken care, you played with and you enjoyed the days together.

Great article

Voted up and shared


UnnamedHarald profile image

UnnamedHarald 16 months ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Ah, Vicki. You brought a lump to my throat. When I saw your main picture of Setzer, I thought she looks like one of our beloved cats. Then I saw the one with the toilet and she looks exactly like our Dakota (though he's a he) with that little turn of the head. If heaven is without pets, it's no heaven of mine.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 16 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Awwww Vee.......Your story of loss and love has tugged at my heart this morning......I can feel your sadness and I understand.

I'm sure you're the best Mommy in the world!......Peace, Paula ...UP+++


billybuc profile image

billybuc 16 months ago from Olympia, WA

Writing is cathartic. We all understand loss, the putting that loss into words is what we writers do, and it's what you have done so well. I'm sorry for your loss, my friend.


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 16 months ago

You brought tears, but then when cats leave us I always cry. This is a beautiful tribute to Setzer. Vicki please don't think I'm crazy, just a semi-psychic. If a cat doesn't want to leave you, its spirit will co-occupy with another cat in your household. Watch your cats to see if any take up Setzer's habits, especially the orange ones. I was shocked when our beloved 5-year-old black cat , Sylvester, got sick, and died and our young black cat immediately took up some of Sylvester's habits that he had never exhibited before. Then I learned that this is a common thing. It is one way of preserving the love between the owner and the cat. I'm not crazy because any psychic will tell you this can happen. Observe your cats, especially the orange ones, to see if this happens. Setzer may decide to stay with you. I hope so.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 16 months ago from Arkansas, USA Author

thumbi7--Thanks for your kind words. 14 years just weren't enough with that ole sweet soul. She was the best!


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 16 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

MzB......I for one, do not think you're crazy! What you say is VERY credible. I've had feline fur babies all my life and have come to realize they are extremely psychic~spiritual~highly intuitive and they are talented "mimickers!!" So much of their behaviors & activities are what they SEE humans and other animals do!!

Glad you brought this up! Yes, Vee.......watch your other babies!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 16 months ago from Arkansas, USA Author

UnnamedHarald--I feel the same way about a heaven without pets--it's NOT heaven! Aw, your sweet cats. I think orange and white cats (and orange ones) are just the sweetest!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 16 months ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Aw, thanks, Paula. It's been a year since she died--almost exactly. I think that's why I'm thinking about her so much. Thanks. Peace is good. :-)


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 16 months ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Thanks, Bill. It really is cathartic! I actually started writing this just about a year ago--right after she died. I finally finished it! I've been thinking of her a lot on the year anniversary of her passing. Thanks for the kind words!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 16 months ago from Arkansas, USA Author

MizB & Effer: I'm glad you brought this up, and I hope it's true! It's been a year since Setzer died, and I haven't seen it, but maybe the young orange cat that loved her will eventually take her on? I've been so busy since she died--and grieving. And then my beloved dog, Gizmo, died 6 months later, just this last January 2015. So maybe I haven't paid the rest enough attention. I do remember when my Little Kitty died at 5 yrs old of a congenital kidney defect. I was devastated. About 6 or 7 months later, I got another black and white cat that looked like her--and her personality was hers, too! And still is. I haven't really missed Little Kitty once Katie came along, as it feels like it is HER! I want that with Setzer (although I love my orange cat, Trudy, just as she is.) Fascinating to think about! Thanks, gals!


mary615 profile image

mary615 16 months ago from Florida

What a heart break for you. I do believe all our beloved pets go to Heaven, and we will see them there. Cats are such unique creatures, I think. I am terribly allergic to them but I would love to have a cat. I see how much joy my daughter's cat brings to her.

Voted this UP, and shared.


moonlake profile image

moonlake 16 months ago from America

It's so very sad to lose a pet. I'm so sorry to hear about your Setzer.

Our dog at 10 years had to be put down because of cancer. At that time, my husband could still talk, and I had to tell him about Doc, he would repeat over and over " I can't believe our Doc is gone." Doc loved my husband the most, shortly after Doc died my husband passed away. I believe they are now in heaven together.


BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 16 months ago from Victoria, Australia

You must be missing her so much. Having recently lost my beloved dog, I know how you are feeling, they become one of the family.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 16 months ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

She was such a sweet kitty. It breaks my heart that it isn't the same among the kitty clan now that she's gone. I know that they all miss her so much, too.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 16 months ago from southern USA

Oh, I am so sorry about your great loss. Setzer no doubt was loved. I understand about missing our beloved pets for I have lost cats, dogs and others. They do leave a hole for sure.

Hugs


Carb Diva profile image

Carb Diva 16 months ago

Victoria - I am so sorry for your loss. Our little girl died just a little over one year ago, and the house is not the same without her. After her death, it was apparent that our other kitty was missing her. These furry little people in our homes are not "just animals". They mourn the loss of another and recognize when we are sad. Cherish the memories you have of your Seltzer.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 16 months ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Mary--You're right; cats are quite unique! I hold onto seeing Setzer again!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 16 months ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Aw, moonlake, what a sad, sweet story about Doc. I'm so sorry for your losses--Doc and your husband--but they are surely together. I lost my 10 year old dog to cancer, too, just 6 months after Setzer died, earlier this year. It's so hard.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 16 months ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Yes, BlossomSB, they are definitely part of the family. Thank you!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 16 months ago from Arkansas, USA Author

I know you love your kitties, too, Rose. Yeah, it really isn't the same, but maybe in time their relationships will change with each other.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 16 months ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Faith Reaper--Oh, yes, Setzer was adored. She has left a bigger hole than any of the others would have because she seemed to hold them together. She was their common bond. All the cats loved her when they don't always like each other!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 16 months ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Carb Diva. Sorry for your loss, too. It sounds like your household experienced the very same thing. I do cherish my memories of my Setzer girl. I so wish she were still here!


cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 16 months ago from Los Angeles

Victoria,

I can tell how much you still miss your furry girl. What a special cat she must have been when your other babies feel her absence so greatly too! Thank you for sharing your special times with her. I agree with Bill that writing about her helps with the lingering grief. I can tell you have a natural way with cats, and Seltzer knew it. Now your other cats look to you to fill that void. My heart goes out to you:)


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 16 months ago from USA

What a good and noble heart you have. Your love and compassion for her is beautiful, and I wish I could say something to ease your loss. I'm so sorry she went too soon. I lost several old cats in rapid succession last year to age related illnesses and now am down to six cats. They are each important and valued beings. Know that she loved you and doesn't want you to feel guilty, lonely, and sad.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 16 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

I am so sorry for your loss, Victoria. This is a lovely hub and a beautiful tribute to Setzer.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 16 months ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Thanks, cat on a soapbox. She certainly was a special gal. One in a million. Such a sweet spirit. Thanks for your kind words.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 16 months ago from Arkansas, USA Author

FlourishAnyway--DOWN to six cats? Wow, you have such a heart for cats. I have six right now. That's my maximum; I hope not to go over that. They're all so unique. I'm sorry you lost yours. I have a 15 yr old and two 13 yr olds, so I know something could happen to them at any time. Thanks for your encouraging words!


Lynn Savitsky profile image

Lynn Savitsky 16 months ago from New Jersey

This was a beautiful article. As long as we always remember our furry friends who've left us, they're never really gone.


annart profile image

annart 16 months ago from SW England

What a wonderful cat and a wonderful tribute to her. It leaves a terrible void when we lose a much-loved pet. This cat of yours seems to have meant much to the other animals as well as to people; a real character. Great that you have so many lovely memories and great photos; she's never gone when she's in your heart.

Ann


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 16 months ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Thanks, AliciaC. I really appreciate that!


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 16 months ago from Houston, Texas

I am so sorry for your loss Vicki. We are still trying to get over the loss of our Dusty who we had gracing our home and lives for 15 years. Peaches, his playmate who was with him for 13 of those years is still grieving. It is hard losing a beloved pet. Lets both keep cherishing those memories. Your Setzer Marie was a sweet looking cat and from what you wrote, a true lover of animals and people. Nice that you have all of those photos.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 16 months ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Thanks, Lynn. True, and I'll never forget!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 16 months ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Ann, I love your comments. She really was a special one, bonding everyone together. I do have great memories and photos of her. I wish she could have lived forever. I guess she does, really, just not physically present.


annart profile image

annart 16 months ago from SW England

Indeed she does, in many memories, animals' and people's.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 16 months ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Peggy. I'm sorry for your loss of Dusty, too. How long has it been? I'm sorry for Peaches, too. Pets really do grieve. Yes, there are so many memories, and I have tons more pictures! And now I have this article and video to turn to when I want to reminisce over Setzer. She was such a true lover of every living creature. It's been a year, and I miss her so much.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 16 months ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Thanks again, Ann. :-)


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 16 months ago from Houston, Texas

It has only been about two months since Dusty died. Like you, we have loads of photos and memories. You did a great job memorializing your Setzer with this hub.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 16 months ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Aw, Peggy, two months isn't long. It's so hard. Thanks for the compliment on the hub. I'm glad you, too, have lots of photos and memories of Dusty to enjoy.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 15 months ago

You have had so many sweet memories from such loving pets. Thanks for sharing your personal experience and wisdom.


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 15 months ago from California

I am so sorry Vicky! It is wonderful to have these bonds, but it hurts so much when they go--hugs to you


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 15 months ago from Home Sweet Home

Soery to hear about your cat departure, may he or she rest in peace.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 15 months ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Teaches--I do have a lot of special time with my pets. Thanks for appreciating what I share. :-)


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 15 months ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Yes, it does, Audrey. Thanks so much for your comments. :-)


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 15 months ago from South Africa

Losing a special pet like Setzer Marie leaves and empty space nothing and nobody seem to be able to fill. How wonderful will it be when we indeed meet all our beloved pets and relatives in the world beyond!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 15 months ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Thanks, peachpurple. She was such a sweetheart.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 15 months ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Martie--And I believe that one day we will! Thanks for your words of encouragement!


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 14 months ago from Home Sweet Home

did you get another cat later? mine was run over by a car but survived


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 14 months ago from Arkansas, USA Author

peachpurple--I had 6 cats at the time, so I didn't get another one. Setzer was my favorite, and the one who held all the others together. Not all of them got along, but they ALL loved Setzer. They would cuddle with her on both sides. I miss her. Glad your cat survived a car! Wow! And it was okay?


truthfornow profile image

truthfornow 13 months ago from New Orleans, LA

I miss my cat too. I got another one, but each cat is different so I still miss the one who passed. It is 6 months now that she has been gone.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 13 months ago from Arkansas, USA Author

truthfornow--I agree. They're all different. I miss my Setzer so much, and it's been over a year. Sorry for your loss, too.


alexadry profile image

alexadry 12 months ago from USA

So sorry about your loss. I lost my cat a couple of years ago. She was in my parent's care and when I visit them I miss seeing her. I think writing about our lost companions is therapeutic and helps ease a bit the pain.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 12 months ago from Arkansas, USA Author

alexadry--I'm sorry for your loss as well. I agree that writing about our lost furry friends is very therapeutic.


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 11 months ago from California

I bet you still miss your baby! My sasha is getting older and this winter is tough for her--and for me--hugs to you!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 11 months ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Audrey, I do! She was the best cat ever. We used to spoon. I miss her so much. Here's to you and your Sasha! And getting through the winter!

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