Chloe. She was much loved, but not always.

Chloe left this world and our lives in February. She was much loved, although not always.

In January of 1998 we left New York City, Brooklyn Heights to be exact, to reinvent ourselves in Providence, Rhode Island, buying an 1806 historic house and a bit of a different life style. We’d toted along 20 month old Grayson and 2 sibling cats on our new adventure. It was the middle of winter and we were unpacking boxes in our topsy turvy existence when Chloe, left by an unseen hand, appeared on our door step, together with a bag of food. Cautiously opening our front door she tumbled inside and into our lives. She was pregnant.

Early in the morning on May 16th I penciled the words “Chloe has her kittens 5/16/98” on the woodwork in the safe harbor closet where they were born.

Six weeks later, weaned, vaccinated, and on the advice of our vet, we gave them up for adoption to a pet store, wanting nothing more than that caring families would be found for them. But carrying the peeping brood of six into the store that day I felt I’d reached the saddest day of my life. I didn’t know the sadder part remained when we returned home. It was Chloe howling through the next days over her loss. Nothing or no one had prepared us for that and we had failed to intuit the painful outcome.

Chloe tried unsuccessfully in the coming months to be accepted by our resident city pair, Nick and Nora, but they would have none of it, or her, and the ensuing years were full of feline household chaos. This usurper, who with her arrival had upset our intended domestic bliss, was assigned all the blame and we emotionally shunned her. It was only Grayson’s bond with her that first year that kept her tenuously in our family.

But years passed. We softened.

Nick, and later Nora, passed away and Chloe, coming into her own, stretched out into the space of our lives and intertwined her being with ours. We began to experience her in the way she’d always wanted but fate hadn’t dictated.

We’d never fully appreciated the beauty of her mysterious golden eyes set in dark rings of fur around her eyes, or her special walk, or the way she had of knowing exactly where to sit on one to soothe.

So caught up in the dysfunctional cat family dynamic, we’d missed all that for years. But Chloe was intent on our loving her. She had us to her own at last. She had prevailed and we loved.

This last year as she passed her own 18 year mark, with advancing heart disease and a tumor, her desire to live on with us was strong. We loved and supported her through it all until she let us know it was time.

We had opened the door that winter day in 1998 and later we learned to open our hearts.

Chloe, she was much loved. We miss her every day.