My OBT

What if you spent every day looking for One Beautiful Thing?

The Abby Show

22 Comments

You may have read that our wonderful, terrible, hilarious, completely lovable cat Abby met with a terrible end a few weeks ago. We are still not even a little over it, and two sentences in, I’m already a blubbering mess. This tiny creature filled our house and our lives, and she has left a giant emptiness in her wake.

Let me back up a bit. At the beginning of Covid, right before the shutdown, I read an article that said that shelter animals were in trouble because the people who worked in the shelters weren’t going to be able to go to work. They were each taking home as many animals as they could, but they couldn’t handle all of them. We decided we’d better help, so we went on Petfinder and looked for Maine Coon cats. Our Big Boy Henry VIII had been a Maine Coon, so we wanted another large senior cat like he was. We stumbled upon Abby, who was listed as a Maine Coon/Abyssinian mix, and we fell in love with that face. We applied and were approved to foster the little darling. Off we went to Westchester to pick Herself up. The nice lady who had been fostering her told us she was “a little defensive” around new people, but she would warm up to us eventually. We learned that Abby had been kept in a basement for 12 years by people who got her as a plaything for their grandson. I guess Abby’s difficult temperament was too much for them, so they locked her in the basement by herself nearly all the time. She never got to love or be loved. She didn’t know how to handle affection, even though she was truly desperate for it. She must have been so terribly lonely and bored. She was essentially feral, and very, very angry when we got her.

We brought her home and let her out in the living room, thinking she would hide until she got hungry or felt more comfortable. Wrong. Though she swatted at us when we tried to pet her, she immediately set herself up on our favorite purple chair (where she looked magnificent) and proceeded to ignore us. We had company that night, since it was going to be our last get together for what we assumed was a few weeks. Abby stayed on her chair and we just warned the little ones to leave her alone. All seemed fine.

We opened up the guest room for her. It’s got a very comfortable low bed and the room was always warm and got lots of sun. She loved it right away and claimed it as hers. Every couple of hours, I would go in and sit on the edge of the bed. I talked quietly to her and left my hand on the bed near her so she could get used to my smell without feeling threatened. Beloved was a little more… let’s say direct. She’s more of a dog person, so she would go in there and talk for a minute, but then she’d get impatient and try to touch her. “She’s my pet. I’m going to pet her.” By the end of the first week, Beloved had been scratched and bitten so much, she looked like a cutter. Abby (then dubbed Stabby Abby) made that poor woman bleed nearly the entire time we had together. She absolutely came to love Beloved (who could help it?) and they spent plenty of time cuddling, but Abby always played extra rough with her. When Beloved got up in the morning, she had to put on boots or sneakers before she left our room to protect her ankles from our little house monster who stalked her daily.

After that first night, we were all in lockdown, so it was just the three of us for months. Abby began to relax and started coming to us for affection. Eventually, she learned to love being picked up and carried around, as long as it was on her terms. She played hard every day, and definitely wanted to be where her people were. It was obvious she was a very, very happy cat, at least during the day.

Every night when it was time for me to go to bed, my floofy darling would try every trick in the book to keep me from going upstairs. She wanted to play, she wanted a treat, she wanted me to chase her, she wanted me to pick her up, she needed to give me kisses, she wanted a drink water (the little weirdo would only drink from the running faucet in the bathroom). And while Abby never meowed and only ever made little chirruping noises when we were awake, in the middle of the night, she would stand in the hallway and scream and cry. It was just heartbreaking. We wondered if she had bad dreams and woke up thinking she was alone again. Whatever it was, she made a terrible, LOUD, lonely sound. We eventually had to train ourselves not to get up and go to her because no one was getting any sleep. On her worst nights, one of us would still sneak out of bed to hug her and tell her everything was okay. It was like having an infant, and it really brought me back to those days when my baby would wake up scared and need me to comfort her. In her odd way, Abby made us feel important.

I do a lot of work from home, so every few hours, Abby would come in to the office and chirrup at me to let me know it was time for a break. I’d pick her up, and we’d spend a perfect 5 minutes together until it was time for me to get back at it. And when I’d come out of our home office for the day, Abby would come running to greet me. When I had to be someplace other than home, I spent a lot of time wishing she were with me.

If we went out, even if it was just from a brief errand or trip outside to do something, our return to the house was always a big deal. Herself would run to the door and wait anxiously for me to put down my bag, remove my coat, take off my mask, and pick her up. Then Beloved and I would need to take at least 5 minutes for hugs and love and kisses and snuggles and head scratches. Beloved and I hate walking in the door now because our ridiculous welcoming committee is gone.

The remarkable thing about this little creature is that we thought we were doing her a favor, but it turned out we needed her at least as much as she needed us. When I told the woman who gave her to us that Abby was gone, she said “When animals like her love, they love hard.” She was really exactly right. Abby may have been a weird collection of tics and bad behavior and dislikes and quirks, but life without her is unspeakably empty, and the hole she’s left in our lives can be seen from space. She turned our lives into The Abby Show, and I miss it terribly.

It’s hard to imagine that our time together was just short of 2 years. I know she’s made as big an impact on me as the animals I got to love for much, much longer. I’m going to have to figure out how to get over this, but right now it feels impossible.

Beloved and I have talked a little about getting another pet, but we always come to the same conclusion. We don’t just want some average pet. We want OUR pet. We want our weird, funny, frustrating, heartbreaking, gorgeous little idiot. It may be a very long time before we’re ready to do this again, and when we do, I suspect it will be a lot less exciting.

You can find your own furry family members on the Petfinder website and you can follow them on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Author: Donna from MyOBT

I have committed to spending part of every day looking for at least one beautiful thing, and sharing what I find with you lovelies!

22 thoughts on “The Abby Show

  1. Jan loved cats. Me not so. I was a dog person. BUT we had one cat that would not allow me to get close to Jan without a fight. We did a lot of rescue work so some animals were only with us until we could find a better home for them. Between the two of us, we probably had 18 or more of each. Today, I have two dogs. Sometime in the next six months, I hope to sell my house in Florida and move back to the greater Memphis area. I will be 82 in June and I need family. OR, they need me 🙂 So one dog is going with me and I will probably add a cat after I get there. The dog not going with me is going to a person who really wants her and will take care of her. I plan on living in a small apartment and a large dog just wouldn’t fit. Just like humans, I don’t think any two animals are the same. Each one has its own personality. Hal

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  2. I am so sorry, as a fellow adopter of weirdo animals I understand that a merely average pet would never do once you are ready for a new rescue. What would it be like to have a dog I didn’t have to explain to people? “Please don’t look her in the eye, she will come around to you if she wants” and “that’s her blanket and if you pick it up she’s going to hump it” etc.

    It sounds like you gave Abby the best possible life and while it was short it was glorious. Big hugs to you and Beloved.

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  3. So very sorry for the loss of this little darling. Hopefully, another weirdo will come into your life again!

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  4. I do understand…I wasn’t ready yet either . After Tobie had to “go to sleep” I didn’t want another pet just yet…but my husband after seeing an add for a mixed Corgie thought different. Babe came into our life and things changed from day one. She couldn’t go into the pastures to fix fences because she always ended up in the road. So….a dog proof fence was put on the side/back yard. So far so good until my husband passed suddenly . Babe just couldn’t handle it and in short order dug up my beautiful flower garden. Today, five years later I am still trying to get my beautiful flower bed back. Babe is a big part of my life now and even though the Grands still are uneasy around her …she is here to stay. I just can’t go any where because no one to look after Babe. We do get attached …don’t we.

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  5. In time, I’m sure you’ll find another equally worthy pet

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  6. I was so heartbroken for you both when I learned of Abby’s passing. She had a big personality and had clearly made a massive impact on your lives. Your words are a beautiful tribute to a very special feline companion.

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  7. Continued love to you. Abby was lucky you guys lived with her.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Cats make you work for their love, and I’m glad you three stuck it out and got there, even if it sucks now. Big hugs. and the Hissing Booth pic cracked me up. I had a cat rather similar.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh sweetie, so many hugs to you both and maybe one scratch for the memories.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Dear Donna & Beloved,
    We could write a story about our own sweet Pennie, who recently went to heaven. She was a feral cat who lived in our yard for 4 years, always afraid and hiding from us. During the worst of winters, she lived under our porch. One miraculous day, my husband called to her and she came to him, rolled over on her back and he rubbed her tummy. It was that quick from feral to friend. Since then, she’s lived in our house for the past 6 years as the most well-behaved and most affectionate pet we’ve ever had. She had a lot of health issues from living outside, she had no teeth, and she must have been very clever to survive like that. We’re heartbroken when she succumbed to her health issues, and went blind and deaf in a few short days from a brain tumor. We are heartbroken, we cry regularly, I’m tearing up right now, and I’ve saved her whiskers and claws that I’ve found while cleaning. And like you, there’s a big hole in our hearts. And like you, we don’t want to get just another pet when we had the sweetest girl in the world. I’ve always enjoyed your blog, but this one touched me deeply. We’re sorry for your loss, but thank you for giving Abby a good life in a loving home.

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    • Oh, Brenda, I’m crying for your little darling, too. You gave her a wonderful life! Maybe that’s why we’re on this earth in the first place. I think making a little, deserving creature like yours and mine happy is enough. I just wish I had more time. I wish you did, too. XO

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