The Queen Is Dead, Long Live The Queen

All Hail the mighty Inanna:

That’s the oldest picture I have — she’s the one in front. The one in back is her sister, Anath, who moved on to greener pastures long ago. This photo is sometime not longer before the September that never ended. They were Chicago alley kittens weighing 6 and 7 ounces, less than 6 weeks old, when I got them; Inanna couldn’t eat on her own at first and had to be fed carefully by me.

You could pretty much always count on Inanna finding a box, and loving to curl up in it. Especially if it was important for something else or too small for her. Here’s Inanna early in the California years.

At first she wasn’t too pleased about the manchild, but within a few weeks she had pretty much claimed him. She outweighed him 3 to 1 when he was born, 22 pounds to his 7 and 6 ounces, and at first I was worried about her crushing him — but you never saw a more careful giant cat with a tiny baby.

She could always be found right nearby, all the time.


She’d help the manchild with anything, too. She was tireless and tolerant and the most patient cat ever to live with a small boy. She would stand still and let him pull up on her when he was a baby, before he could walk. One time he was tugging on her tail and she decided she wasn’t having it, so she left. He didn’t let go of her tail. She dragged him down the hall. It was a long time before he outweighed her, and a real milestone in our family.

Inanna was never supposed to be an outside cat, but she had dreams of being a mighty huntress. She hadn’t learned to meow — her sister did, but Inanna could only make this tiny meeping sound. But she could make all the hunting cat noises, and she would run around the inside of the house chasing birds from window to window, desperately wanting to go out. Finally, there came a time when she simply pushed out a screen in a window, and let herself out. I don’t mean she broke the screen; I mean she bent the screen’s frame. The neighbour behind our house called me up at work one time to say it looked like someone had tried to break into our house. “It’s just the cat,” I told him. “Well there’s a screen that’s totally mangled, and tool marks or something on the outside wall…”

“Yeah,” I said, “Just the cat.” Her sister wouldn’t put up with this crap from the boy; Inanna simply loved him and would let him get away with anything. Even trying to ride her.

She slept with him for many, many years. And as his mother, I can tell you the boy has never been an easy sleeper. This was Christmas morning, 2000.

It was Edward who named her The Queen — one night we were telling him, get settled in to sleep and then Inanna can come in and snuggle with you. He ran in, got himself tucked all nicely, made her a cozy spot, and then hollered, “BRING IN THE QUEEN!”

Summer, 2003, in her prime, the era in her life when she’d bring her prey into the house in the night and lay it carefully on Edward’s breakfast spot or his little rocking chair.

At night, she’d sit at my shoulder while I did yarn stuff, or on Chad’s lap.

She’d keep my chair warm for me, too. Sometimes she wouldn’t want to get out of it when I needed it, and we’d have to share — no small feat. She spent a lot of time taking care of me when my dad died in 2004.

She took good care of all of us when we didn’t feel good.

She helped Edward model clothes I made him…

…one time we all left the house and I left a merino/silk blending project sitting out on the dining room table. Inanna helped with that, too.

Inanna, like me, felt that the Fricke S-160 was a pretty good buy.

No matter the place, she would always strive to find her spot by my shoulder for the evening; her queenly right. Seen here in early 2006, she is not amused by kittens…

…though eventually, she tolerated them too. Eventually, Paimei (front) even taught her to meow a really Siamese-sounding meow. So you can teach an old cat new tricks.

Inanna outlived many, many things. She moved with me from Chicago to California to Ohio, and she was the longest-standing member of my adult family, having loved me since I was a snotnosed 21-year-old kid. She weathered chronic asthma and allergies in California, which went away and she was doing so much better here in Ohio… till a few months ago, she started having troubles.

She was down to a little over 11 pounds, half her weight in her prime, skin and bones and arthritis and misery, almost all her teeth gone, gum infections, unable to keep down antibiotics. The play had gone out of her, and it hurt her to be picked up or to move around too much. She started hiding and trying to disappear; no more was she the everpresent Inanna. By the end, the mighty Inanna wouldn’t even walk out a wide open door onto the deck, and she rode with no fight left in her on my lap to the vet, another sign she wasn’t doing well. And it was there we learned her liver was enlarged and covered in nubbly things you shouldn’t have been able to feel, and there really was nothing more that we could do for her but send her on to play in fields of catnip somewhere, queen of a new place where she slipped off to while we held her.

The Queen is dead; long live the Queen. Rest in peace, Inanna, 1993-2007. Thank you for all those years. We will all miss you.

47 thoughts on “The Queen Is Dead, Long Live The Queen

  1. I’m so sorry for your loss. She might be related to my two oldest–Shadow and Bagheera–since they came from the Chicago area too. And they’re smart, and wonderful, and dealing well with the new short person. And it would break my heart if anything happened to them. Consider yourself given a big, virtual hug.
    (You made me cry with your beautiful tribute.)

  2. What a wonderful tribute to a loyal friend. She looks very much like my first cat Reiley. I wish I had as many pictures of her as you did of Inanna. We think that we own pets, but really they own us. She has gone to be with her sister and the story is complete.

    Blessings and peace to you and your family in this difficult time Abby. You were a wonderful guardian.

  3. I’m so sorry for your loss. She was a beautiful cat, I am glad you have so many pictures of her to remeber the good times.

  4. Made me cry. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family. I can’t imagine how Edward must feel. Words cannot express my sympathy.

  5. Coming to that T-intersection in one’s life is not easy. But necessary. I wrote a tribute to a Siamese cat my son grew up with (Milly) and put it in his photo album. You know, the one you make for the kid to take off with when he leaves, and you have another to keep… when he is gone.

  6. I’m a new reader and just had to leave you my condolences but wow! What a great cat! You are so lucky to have had her.

  7. My sympathies are with you. It is quite clear from your photos, she had a wonderful life with you… because of you.

  8. Dear Abby,
    I am sorry about the loss of Inanna. Thank you for sharing your tribute to her — what a wonderful cat!

  9. Typing through tears. How lucky she was to have you and yours for all of these years. I’m so sorry.

  10. So sorry to hear about the kitty. 🙁 There’s really nothing in the world that compares to the love of a pet.

  11. I am sorry for your loss. I know how special our animal family can be to us adults, but especially for children. Thank you for sharing her life with us.

  12. Sorry to read about your loss Abby. It sounds like she lived all nine of her lives to the fullest. Long live the Queen!

  13. That was very moving and beautiful and I’m sure she’ll be missed for a long time.
    I am so sorry.

  14. There are not enough words to express how difficult I know this is for you and your family right now. We went through this ourselves two years ago with an aged cat (Shelby -15 yo) and and aged dog (Holley 13 yo) so, I know how hard this is for you right now, my thoughts are with you.

  15. I am sorry for your loss, but glad to see that you have so many facets of who she was sparkling in your memory. I have an almost 17 year old dog, Jacko, and stories galore. Tomorrow, I will take a few more pictures. I lost my “shoulder” cat this summer, Seraphina. I still reach up to pet her now and then.

  16. I’m so sorry for your loss. I have my own “Queen” that is coming up to 15 years and starting to not do well, so your post made me so sad as I think its foreshadowing my life in a few months. Its amazing how cats like this are just a huge part of your life.

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