sihayadesigns: (Me: Illustrated)
[personal profile] sihayadesigns
How can I put into words what Nox meant to me?

Nox became a part of our family in late summer, 2009. In a way, he picked us. On the way out of the cat cages at BARCS, something swiped my jeans. I looked down and saw nothing. But then when I got to my knees, I saw him: pitch black, skinny as a whip. Giant radar dish ears and a shaved tail. I held him and fell in love instantly.

The new kitten

Nox on his first day home.

He was very sick the first week. He had a terrible respiratory infection, and I spent two nights sleeping with him on the floor of my office so that he wouldn't be sick and alone. He slept on my pillow. He knew he was safe. I fed him nutritional goop off my fingers until the meds kicked in and he could eat on his own.

We were best buds pretty instantly.

The new kitten is Nox!

He was, however, NOT instantly best buds with Olive, who didn't quite know what to make of this gangly kitten. They were always sort of strange around each other. I think it was that Olive wanted to be Alpha Cat, but as her legs failed her, that became more or less impossible. He wanted to be her friend, but also hated her constantly hissing at him. Most of the time, they just steered clear of each other, but occasionally, he'd sneak in a kiss. Probably to pay her back from the time she did this:

Olive & Nox

He did not submit easily.

Olive & Nox

One day, a skinny little underfed runt showed up at our back door, and we adopted her, too. They got on like a house on fire. They bonded pretty immediately, and with lots of smooching.


Mim & Nox didn't stay that close, but they always played together. Usually she'd goad him into a chase, and they'd spend ten minutes furiously rushing around the place, crashing into every wall and door they ran by. On his last day, Mim tried to get him to play-- she knew something was wrong, but she loved her buddy.

Still, the three of them were a pack. We got very lucky with them.

Kitten cuddle party

Nox's favorite things in the whole wide world were kisses. He'd rub his cheeks all over my face any chance he got, and I'd kiss his head in response. Every day, I got so, so many kisses. He'd run up to the door when Jason got home and give him kisses. Any time either of us sat on the floor, kisses. Breakfast time? Kisses. Dinner time? Kisses. The first time I fed the girls after he passed, I was in tears the whole time. I kept expecting him to run up to me, put his paws on my knees, and kiss my face. I felt so alone.

Here's a video of some of Nox's kisses.

One of our sacred rituals was couch snuggling time.


Noxman's the best snugglebuddy.

It got to be a regular thing-- three or four times a week, when Jason would leave for work, I'd move out to the couch and grab his favorite blanket. He'd cuddle up into the curve of my belly and purr his deep bass purr. We'd nap together until I had to get up for work. I'm pretty sure I missed days of productivity because I didn't want to get up. Those mornings were so, so precious to me. I was acutely aware of how blessed I was to have him in my life, and I cherished every morning we spent together.

He had this little mannerism-- if he was the little spoon, and he was sharing my pillow (which he loved to do), he'd periodically crane his head back and glance at me out of the side of his eye. This was my cue to kiss him on the top of his head and tell him I loved him. After about three or four kisses, he'd relax and fall asleep.


He knew what "I love you," meant. Maybe it was repetition-- I told him every day that he was the most beautiful cat I'd ever seen, and that I loved him to the moon and back. And when I told him I loved him, he'd slow blink back at me. He knew.

Nox & Daddy

The thing about Nox is that he cared so much about us. He chatted with us all day. He hated when we were behind a closed door and he couldn't see us. When one of us was sick, he watched over us. The night before my wedding I was so sick, and he curled up on me on the couch, smothering me in kisses.

And if Jason and I were spooning on the couch, it was jackpot for him. He'd climb up on us and stretch out so his body laid in the little ridge between our bodies. The three of us spent many nights curled up together.

Noxman & Dad

Nox was a gentle giant who LOVED to play. And you could do practically ANYTHING to that cat, and he just did not care. He trusted us implicitly. Whether it was us attacking him with our "claws" or raspberries on his tummy, he just went with it, because he knew it was playing. He'd grab my hand with his two gigantic paws and bite down-- almost never with any real pressure. And then he'd immediately lick my hand. On the rare occasions he did put some force into it, all we had to do was fake-whimper and immediately he'd let go and lick to kiss it better.

God, he put up with so many of our shenanigans. He knew we would never hurt him on purpose.


I don't care what you do, so long as you feed me.

He loved his little fuzzy mice toys, and would play fetch with them. He'd bring them up and drop them at our feet, then walk his paws up our knees until he knew we saw him. And we'd play. Sometimes he'd leave "Mousy" where we could find it, because he knew we'd find him and throw it. Here was a memorable time:

Nox sends us a message...

And then sometimes he'd do this weird thing where he'd throw Mousy in the air and let it land, and then he'd go over and just put one back foot on it. It was hilarious, and he did it for years.

Here's Nox with Mousy last month.


Nox felt like silk. So many times, vets expressed surprise and told us how much his fur felt like a rabbit's. For his younger life, it was pitch black and so shiny. Once he was put on prednisone, it began to rust, and became a deep, rich brown that looked red in some lights. He looked like a gleaming ember when he napped in sunlight.



He loved Christmastime. Even when we only had a little 4' tree, he'd squeeze himself underneath it for naps. He loved the lights. It's fitting that his last night was next to the tree, curled up with us under those same lights.

Nox & The Christmas Tree

He did not, however, appreciate the time we tried to put him in a Santa costume.


Nox was my studio cat. So many times I got up to make tea, and then came back to him sprawled out across my desk. He routinely slept through hours of hammering. A few days before he passed, he was curled up next to me while I worked.



My kitty bff

And if it was a particularly sunny day, he'd yell at me until I put my work down. He demanded sunlight cuddles at my desk. So I'd pick him up, flip him over, and rub his tummy as he dozed. Few things made him happier than having his tummy rubbed in the sunshine. In those moments, he was perfectly happy.



Nox also liked to herd me to bed if I was up working too late. Snuggling on the couch was one thing, but if Jason had already gone to bed, but I was still in the office, it wouldn't be too long until he let me know it was bedtime. And he definitely knew the word "bedtime." His ears would perk up and he'd run into the bedroom and settle himself down. He knew "bedtime" meant "snuggles."


Even when he got sick, he remained the sweetest, most trusting companion. He took his pills so easily. He comforted me after the thick, impenetrable fog of sadness settled on me in the wake of his diagnosis. The cancer exacerbated his already-picky appetite, and we developed a daily routine: he would not eat unless I was sitting next to him.

Depending on how he was feeling, breakfast or dinner could take ten minutes or an hour. And I'm not going to lie and say it was always easy. It was super frustrating some nights, chasing him around with his plate, or hand-feeding him to get the calories into him. But he never seemed to hold it against us. For my part, I was so grateful for the rare mornings when he woke me up at 5am because he was actually hungry that I wept.

I calculated it once-- if we stacked all of our feeding time (just mine and his, not Jason's and his) back to back, I sat on the floor with him for over a month of my life. Every minute, however frustrating, was absolutely worth it.

There were weeks where all he would eat was turkey, either from Boston Market or the deli. That earned him the nickname "turkey toes," one of the constellation of nicknames he answered to. (Rooster. Buddy-roo. Dooster-roo. Rooster Sauce. Sauce Boss. Nox-Fox. Nox-Fox-Bigox. Noxman. Buddy Boo. Boo Bear. House Panther. Pantherman. So many.) And then, like a spell had broken, he'd snap out of it and go back to eating regular food.

Nox is pretty huge.

One of his funnier habits was that he was fastidious to the max-- to the point where he could not abide food dishes being left out after mealtime. So many times, we went to collect the bowls only to find that Nox had attempted to bury them.



He was so sensitive to stinky smells that on one memorable occasion, he tried to cover up one of my farts. The memory never fails to make me laugh.


Nox loved to watch Animal Planet. There was this one show that followed a litter of kittens that he loved. He was absolutely transfixed by the kittens on the screen. I am so sad that we never got to see what his kittens would have looked like.


Nox knew how to say 'hello.' It sounds nuts, but he did. I told some guests that once, and they looked at me like I was nuts. When I went to the bathroom, he followed me, sitting outside the door. "HELLOOOOOOOOOOO? HELLOOOOOOOOOOO???" he whined.

"Your cat just said hello!" "Yeah. Told you so."


Nox was always fascinated by the shower, and on more than one occasion, liked to sit between the shower curtains while I showered. And then there's that one time he got tangled in my bra while I was in the shower...

His other great love was toilet paper. We could not leave toilet paper rolls anywhere he could get to them, because he loved biting into them and shredding them. Once we forgot that we left a brand-new 8 pack on the counter before heading out to grab food. We came back to what looked like a winter wonderland.

And the zucchini. For some reason, he loved to bite zucchini. We had to watch vegetables, lest they be covered in kitty vampire fang marks.

Nox or Toothless?

In a lot of ways, the last month of his life was one of his best. The time we spent in Virginia was great for him. Bob had windows everywhere, and he had a fantastic view of squirrels, ducks, and a big pond. He loved looking out those windows and was so excited that he often yelled at us to come join him next to the window. I am so grateful for that time.


I'm running out of things to say now. I'm sure I'll remember other things and edit them in.

Mostly, I just... well, he was special. That once, maybe twice in a lifetime cat who just steals your heart entirely. He was meant to be with us. And we were meant to love him. My days were full of kisses and love because he was with us.

In my grief, I at least have the assurance that we did everything we could to give him the best life possible. We did right by him, right up until his last moments. The grief is thankfully untinged by guilt.

But I miss him so, so much. My days are so quiet. There are so many holes in my life. I miss his scent, the feel of his unbelievably soft fur, the sound of his voice, the sweetness of his kisses on my cheeks. He was the most regal, beautiful creature I've ever beheld, and he loved me so much. He was my heart. He was my fuzzy bestie, the feline love of my life. I kissed him every morning, every night, and about a dozen times in between. I will always miss him by my side. Seven years will never be enough. Not for a soulmate kitty like he was.




Rest in peace, Noxman. I love you, and I hope I get to see you again. Either on the other side of the bridge, or if you find us again. I don't know how it works, but I do know that an eternity without your kisses is unthinkable.

You made me so very happy. I was so proud to be your momma. I will never forget you, fuzzy son.

So many people have been reaching out with condolences. Thank you for them. But please know that I am really, very overwhelmed and deep in my grief right now. Every text or email or card starts the waterworks again, and I need to give myself permission to not engage for a while. I hope you understand.

Date: 2016-12-31 04:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Such a beautiful post! <33 What a blessing to have had the chance to share your life with such an adorable, affectionate cat. So sorry again that you had to lose him. *hug*

Also omg @ him burying his bowl with toys, that is too funny.

Date: 2016-12-31 07:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Such a beautiful boy, and so much love. ♥

Date: 2016-12-31 04:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This post is beautiful, Christina, as was the cat it's about. I'm sorry again for your loss. <3

Date: 2016-12-31 08:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That's a lovely and worthy tribute, Chris.

Date: 2016-12-31 11:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Such a loving and moving tribute. Thank you for all the years of sharing the Nox-man's shenanigans--I was certain at one point that you had adopted a small panther, he was so big. I'm sorry for you and your family's loss. He was a unique creature and will be missed.

Date: 2017-01-01 02:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
What a lovely memorial for an extraordinary cat. I wish you comfort and peace.

Date: 2017-01-02 05:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I am so deeply, deeply sorry, Chris. I love you, lady. <3

Date: 2017-01-03 04:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
So beautifully written and I'm so sorry for your loss. <3 Thank you for sharing the love Nox shared with you.
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