by Jim Markitell
(Greensburg, Pa. USA)

Cleo in her prime

Cleo in her prime

Cleo found us in December 2003. I frequently throw table scraps out in my yard and noticed a buff colored, somewhat mange-y cat sometimes eating them. She was skittish and ran as soon as I opened the door, but eventually grew more accustomed to my presence.

We went to Disneyworld over New Years and I told my family that we could take her in when we got back... if she would get close enough. She would meow to me and when I finally got to touch her, it was like I was her best friend. Cleo was skinny, had ear mites, and had a bent ear from her life in the wild... and had a skinny, long tail. Despite looking ragged, she adapted well. The scraggly 6 month old cat turned into the softest, fluffiest, and friendly cat I would ever know. She talked to me regularly and would raise her paw, as in saying Hi, whenever I would see her.

Cleo became "my" cat and seldom left my side. She was smart, amusing, and always had a sparkle in her eyes and purred louder than any other cat I've known. Last year, Cleo had an ear injury, right before we left for our yearly trip to the beach. Cleo had to wear a bonnet to keep her from scratching her ear as it healed... we ended up taking Cleo to the beach with us and snuck her into the hotel, carefully avoiding the housekeeping staff for the 10 days we were there. She loved to look out over the beach!

Earlier this year we lost another orange cat, Thor. He died from an autoimmune disorder and suffered with labored breathing before he passed over the Rainbow Bridge. We noticed Cleo was breathing a bit harder than normal, so we took her to the vet where she was diagnosed with a mass in her chest, which was pressing against her lungs and other organs. She lost a lot of her appetite and began to lose weight. The vet mentioned putting her down at that point, but our family couldn't do it. Cleo hung on for another 6 weeks, when I was forced to take her to the vets for her final trip. While we knew she was better off, the heartbreak our family went through was unbelievable, and tears were shed by the gallon.

Today was a coldish, rainy, miserable day and Cleo left our world around 3:30. On the way home, the sun broke out and gave us an hour of beautiful weather, almost like a sign that Cleo had indeed made it over the Bridge to be with her friend Thor. Someday I hope that we are all reunited. I have a huge hole in my heart that will take a long time to scar over. I will never forget my Cleo and I'm thankful for the 7 years we had together. Some cats are one in a million, and Cleo was one of these. Like me, she was an orphan and I thank God that he guided her to me, or should I say, God guided me to her. I'll miss her loud purrs and constant playing... she provided me happiness like no other and I will miss her until my last day. Rest in Peace, Little Girl, someday we will be together again.

Comments for Cleo

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Apr 23, 2011
In memory of Cleo
by: Nancy

Your little Cleo is beautiful, Jim. She'll be waiting for you.

Apr 20, 2011
by: David

I truly understand what Cleo meant to you, and how you are feeling. I wish I could tell you the pain will go away with time, and maybe it will. I still have moments of reliving the loss of our first feral rescue, Miss Jean-Luc Kitte`. But I am always comforted by knowing how God brought us together and how she influenced our lives. The vet's called her "Demon Cat", "Cat from Hell", and "Satan's Spawn" but to me she was my "Lover Girl" and "Cuddle-muffin". So I do feel your loss, and hope you can honor her life and the joy she brought to you to find a way to share that love.

She lived much longer than she would have "on the street" and a much better life. Some day, God will call upon you to save another life, when He knows you are ready. You may not think you are ready, but God knows. At Spots and Stripes, our motto is "Helping Cats Four Paws at a Time." You've done a wonderful job with eight paws. A heart-felt thank you!

Apr 20, 2011
I pray God gives you comfort
by: Bartsmama405

I can feel your pain as well as the love that you had for Cleo.

I had to put my precious Josie down last weekend and I know that she is at Rainbow Bridge with Bartman that passed on 4/1/05.

It's amazing how things will happen after you lose a precious little baby. On Saturday afternoon, all the other babies were outside and LOL, I could smell the Freshstep kitty litter like one of the cats was in the box and a few minutes later, I could smell Josie's breath on my face. I too, believe that was God's way of letting me know that her spirit was here for just a fleeting moment before she went to Rainbow.

My heart goes out to you and yours and God counts the tears.

Apr 19, 2011
I'm sorry to hear about Cleo
by: Kurt (Admin)

I'm very sorry for your loss, Jim. Clearly she was your special cat, and such a beautiful face and coat! Thank you for rescuing her and providing such a good home!

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