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. Oh Abby, I am so sorry for the loss of your beloved cat. This was a beautiful and touching tribute to her, and while it made me cry, I also enjoyed reading about her life with your family. I understand the loss and pain you are going through, as I have many beloved cats and dogs as well, and have buried many other best pet friends through the years. They certainly enrich our lives immensely, dont they? But having them is never long enough……….Hugs to you,

  2. I’m so sorry for your loss. When we have a pet for that long they really become part of your family. Maybe your lovely black cat and my handsome black poodle are playing together up at the rainbow bridge.

  3. I’m so sorry for your loss! What a blessing to have had such a wonderful kitty as a member of your family! I can’t believe she let your son ride her. Reminds me of my first kitty, Lola, who let my daughter dress her up and wheel her around in a doll carriage. So much love. *hugs*

  4. What a lovely tribute to a good friend. Thank you for sharing her story; she sounds like she was a very special cat.

  5. How fortunate you were to have such a wonderful friend, and how fortunate she was to have people like you.

  6. So sorry about the loss of your fur person. We had to say good bye to one of our boys this time last year and we still miss him. It does look like Inanna left you with some wonderful memories. How lucky both you and she were to share your lives.

  7. I’m so sorry for your loss. It sounds like she had a good life with you and your family. Treasure those memories!

  8. I’m so sorry for your loss. It seems appropriate, though, that she was named after the most complicated (and interesting) deity in the Mesopotamian pantheon, the “lady of heaven”.

  9. Black cats FTW!
    She looks very like my Bonington cat who shuffled off her mortal coil last summer at the age of 21. Bigger though — in her prime I don’t think Ms. Bon weighed more than about 6 or 7 pounds.

  10. Oh, hell hell hell I just saw this. I met Inanna, didn’t I? I must have, considering.

    Oh, goddammit.

  11. Im sorry for your families loss, it’s very hard to lose a kitty who’s shared so much of your life.

  12. I am so sorry for your loss. My cats have always been as well-loved as my children. I think she had a great life with you and she is enjoying that catnip field as I write this.

  13. I was very touched by your tribute to your beloved cat. She obviously lived a great life with people who appreciated all her glory. So sorry you had to lose her.

  14. Wow. That was, I think, one of the very lovliest cat stories I’ve ever seen. Thank you – it made me remember lots of the silly things about several of my wonderful cat friends and I chuckled through the big lump in my throat. I know I still feel one of them, long gone, jump into my bed at night!

  15. Knowing how I felt when my last cat was taken from me, you are still hurting and The Queen knows you still love her. In many ways she reminds me of my first cat who lived to be 18. I am trying to prepare myself for the day when my 16 year old leaves us and give her lots of love and laps as time marches on. I don’t want her to suffer and I am keeping an eye out for signs (she has a cough).

  16. Aw, hell, Abby. Catness pointed me here last night. So sorry to hear about this.

    Inanna was a brilliant cat; I adored her. I remember watching the boy try to ride her that day in the yard, and marvelling that she didn’t simply kill him and eat him. She was truly a magnificent creature.

    RIP, indeed.


  17. I just wanted to say that I happened upon this post tonight and cried. My boy Hunter looks just like your “little” queen. She looks like she was a great cat. I know what it’s like to loose a friend. One who’s company you’ve come to expect. I’m touched by your pictures and her story. Animals are the best friends we’ll ever have. They don’t judge us, they love us unconditionally, and in the end, no matter how they go, they pass with a silent and great dignity. I only hope we can achieve the same.
    Your yarn and fiber is beautiful but your love for your animals is exquisite.

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