goodbye Lola Jane

Today we say goodbye to Lola Jane Maxwell Henderson, the first cat I owned in my own right and did not just lay claim to via family rights and roommate situations.

The first time I laid eyes this tiny fur ball, I knew she’d be mine, even though my “now ex, then future” husband proclaimed to be allergic.

I figured, there are drugs he can take for that.

I adopted her from a woman who saved her from the wild. She was about 4 weeks old when we first met and being bottle fed. While I didn’t bring her home until she was 8 weeks, I saw her almost everyday during that time. (My EPW friends might remember this period in my life when I had a “kitty in a box” in my office.)

In the last 13 years, in addition to providing us joy, purrs, and more than a few scratches, Lola has defied death twice.

First, after her spay, she chewed the narcotic “pain patch” off her torso and ingested it, sending her into a drug overdose and us to the Betty Ford Clinic for Cats in the wee hours of the morning. (There is never a good time for the off-hours Animal ER.)

The second time, she was diagnosed with a recurring form of bladder stones that would require repeated operations to remove. We had just given birth to Colin and were in the process of trying to buy a house, thus thousands of dollars in vet bills were not affordable. We begged for alternatives. Meds. Food. The vet said nothing else would work but surgery. Until we scheduled her euthanasia, of course, at which point the vet gave Lola prescription food which she ate for a month, the stone dissolved, and she never had a recurrence.

We don’t go to that vet anymore.

She survived the birth of two little boys. She tolerated their toddler years then eventually adopted them as her own. She routinely sleeps on Colin’s bed. She was pissed off at first when we brought Fang and Fluffy home but grew to accept them and even gave Fluffy the cat equivalent of a fist bump upon her return from the wild. (We’ve had quite the Cat Spring.)

But the vet says there are no more miracles for Lola. A tumor on her heart the size of a grape and additional tumors on her lungs make breathing labored, and while she hasn’t stopped purring, she’s in great discomfort.

In a selfish way, I want to keep her until the natural end, but I know this isn’t the right thing to do. This morning, a mobile vet will come over and help ease her out of her misery.

As Jack said this morning when he found me sobbing, “it’s her time, Mommy.”




If you are sick of reading my struggles with our missing cat, then you probably aren’t reading this right now. You saw the tweet or the post on Facebook and rolled your eyes and scrolled through your stream.

If you are instead heartsick with me over the loss of a beloved pet, then bear with me as I list everything I’ve done to find this animal, and please tell me if you have new ideas.

Late night, early morning cat food bag shaking.

Anytime of day calling for her.

Trapping. With tuna fish.

“Lost Kitty” sign posting.

I’ve sent more than one email to our local community listserve, filed reports with the DC and Prince George’s animal shelters. I dragged my friend Rachel to go with me to the PG complex where we tried really hard to not make eye contact with any forlorn animals.

I used a pet rescue service where a volunteer brought her dog to sniff out Fluffy’s whereabouts. It yielded five places she’d been but she wasn’t in any of them at the time. Nor has she been there on my return visits.

I’ve knocked on doors. Trespassed into my neighbors’ yards. Brought Fang outside in her carrier hoping her meows and scent would call her sister home.

As mentioned before, my town councilwoman has been awesome. My friends have been outstanding. Two friends dreamed this weekend that she came back. Fluffy is not far from the minds of my inner circle.

And hopefully she’s still not far from home.