The Sweetest Little Bitchface

I have some very sad news: last Friday morning, we had a vet come over and put our sweet kitty, Zoe, to sleep.

Zoe cat

We never knew Zoe’s age, but she was probably between 15 and 17 years old—a nice long life for a cat (she was about one and a half to three years old when I first got her). Zoe had a lot of health problems over the years but her condition had been declining as of late. John and I had planned to go to Hawaii after our Labor Day trip to LA, but we canceled the vacation for reasons unrelated to Zoe. When we returned from LA, Zoe’s health took a sharp turn and it became very clear that it was time. The universe was telling us not to go to Hawaii, to be home for our girl.

A trip to the vet confirmed that Zoe was in end stage kidney failure, which I actually didn’t find out until after we put her to sleep. So we 100% made the right decision for her. Her quality of life was no longer there, and had we not had a vet come last Friday I doubt she would have made it through the rest of the day.

Though it was the right thing to do, we’re heartbroken to have lost Zoe. The fact that we went through this with our other beloved cat, Walter, last October, doesn’t make it any easier. I thought I would share memories of Zoe here and include some photos of my beautiful little weirdo.

A Little Backstory

In October 2005, a friend sent an email around saying she had found a wet, crying cat on the street in Brooklyn. The little tortoiseshell had been a bodega cat down the street from my friend’s apartment, but the place closed and abandoned their kitty. My friend said the bodega left the door open and the front gate lifted a bit so the cat could get out. She wasn’t able to keep the cat and wanted to see if any of her friends were interested in taking her. I went over to my friend’s apartment and fell in love with this quirky little lady, so on October 30, 2005, I brought Zoe home to my studio apartment in the East Village.

As a tortie, Zoe was a bit of an odd duck. She was never one for human affection, though she chilled out some in later years and learned to love head scratches and chin rubs. She always hated being picked up. Zoe did love being near me, though, which I always appreciated. She was a lot like me, actually; I think she was my familiar. I sometimes joked that we were so alike that I might as well have given birth to her.

Memories of Zoe
  • My nickname for her was Monkey because of the way she used to sit up on her hind legs when I would offer her a treat.
  • She loved chattering at birds and squirrels out the window.
  • She HATED other pets. My ex-boyfriend and I adopted a dog at one point and Zoe hated him so much that she took to hiding from him on top of the fridge and even peeing and pooping up there because she didn’t want to deal with the dog. Fortunately the ex and I broke up and he took the dog. 😛
  • Zoe never got used to living with Walter, even after seven or eight years. He wanted to be her friend so badly but she hissed at him literally every day. It was rather charming, actually. We had a baby gate up for years to keep them separated.
  • While in Brooklyn, Zoe enjoyed catching mice and bringing them, still alive, into my bed at 5am. THANKS BUT NO THANKS.
  • Zoe could be quite chatty and at times it almost felt like we were having a conversation.
  • She had a truly excellent bitchface.
  • She climbed onto my lap exactly one time in the almost 14 years we lived together. I’m not even exaggerating. The heat wasn’t working temporarily in one of my apartments and she jumped onto my lap for warmth. She didn’t stay for long but it was a memorable moment because of its rarity.
  • Zoe LOVED basking in sun spots. She had a knack for seeking out the sunny spots in whichever apartment we were occupying at the time. The evening before we put her to sleep was overcast so she didn’t get to sun herself on her last night, which broke my heart. But at least she some good sun time in the prior evening.
  • She was such a fan of eating plastic bags that I couldn’t leave them out. She had a nose for finding them and would start by licking them, then chewing pieces off of them (then barfing). It was some weird Pica thing. And for some reason, she’d attack me when I brought out a new plastic garbage bag to line the can. There was something about the sound of whipping the bag open that made her super mad.
  • More recently as Zoe started spending most of her time lounging in her bed, she would end up with super cute kitty bed head. It made me laugh every single time.
  • Her all-time favorite toy was this beaver that I ordered from as a “get to the free shipping minimum” item. Once Walter was gone, she started playing with the beaver a lot, and making a whole lot of noise while doing so. She’d carry the beaver around the house in her mouth and meow really loudly. After we moved into our new home, this became her post-dinner nighttime activity. We’re keeping her beaver toy, of course.

From unknown origin to Brooklyn bodega cat to Capitol Hill resident, Zoe had very a nice long life. She put up with moving quite a bit over the years and lived in eight different places with me! East Village, Greenpoint, Crown Heights, Sunset Park, Park Slope, Windsor Terrace (all in NYC), then our first apartment in DC and our new townhome. We will miss our little lady and all of her quirks dearly…even the loud nighttime beaver play sessions. I picked up her ashes and paw print yesterday, and it’s such a relief to have her back at home with us.

If you’re interested, I’ve added a Zoe highlight to my Instagram profile (@sheiman) where you can watch some of my favorite Stories of her. And of course, here is a gallery of some of my favorite photos of my beautiful little lady over the years. You can click on any photo to enlarge and scroll through the gallery.

We miss you so much already, baby girl.