Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hannah Moosh Babushka Houshmand VanPortfliet, 2000 - 2008

I lost one of my writing buddies last week. Hannah passed away unexpectedly after a short battle with cancer. Amy's friends and I put together a donation and tribute to Hannah with the Animal Cancer Foundation.

You can view Hannah's dedication on the website, or read the text below:

Hannah was as ornery as she was beautiful. You had to work to gain her affection. It took me about six months, but it was worth it. She was my girlfriend Amy's cat, and when I moved in, Hannah made it clear whose house it was.

Our black lab Chester was deathly afraid of her. When Hannah was perched in a doorway, as she often was, Chester wouldn't cross it. We could've dumped a truckload of tennis balls into the kitchen, and Chester would just stand there and whimper.

Hannah was a rescue cat who'd been through a lot. With her fiery personality and toughness, we just assumed she'd live forever. Then we found a host of tumors spanning her breast area. When the tumors were removed and biopsied, we learned that Hannah had an aggressive adenocarcinoma that had spread to her lymphatic system.

The oncologist told us Hannah probably had eight months to live – maybe twice that with chemo. We elected not to put her through chemo, and, in retrospect, we probably should've passed on the surgery as well. It didn't do anything except stress her out.

We only got two more months with Hannah. She passed away on election day. Her breathing got shallow and I took her to the vet. She died there on the vet's table before Amy could come say goodbye.

I'm sorry we didn't have more time with her, and I'm sorry she couldn't wait for Amy. But if you knew Hannah, it's the way you'd expect her to go out. More than anything, she hated being vulnerable. I think she just didn't want Amy to see her that way.

She died her own way, in her dramatic fashion. On my way out of the vet's I saw I'd gotten a parking ticket. I know Hannah was up there having the last laugh.

Even Chester seems to miss her. The first day without Hannah, I watched Chester approach the entrance to the kitchen, where Hannah so often stood guard. At the threshold, he paused and sniffed the air. Then I swear I saw him give a small bow, like someone entering a dojo, before going in. It's still Hannah's house.


  1. What a nice tribute to such a cool, pretty girl. She was obviously a special cat- and though I know she passed away much sooner than anyone would have expected or hoped, she definitely lived a very loved life with Amy (and you, of course). Our animals can fill our hearts- often more than we thought possible. I know you guys (and Chester) must miss her- and Matt and I send our thoughts your way. Give Amy a big hug! Oh, and tell Chester that Hannah will haunt that kitchen doorway just to keep him on his toes!

  2. Oh Hannah, what a pretty girl. That must've been hard to be there when she died. Both of my cats (littermates) are 16. I have had them for 14 of those 16 years. They both were recently diagnosed with Thyroid disorders, so the march of old age is upon us. It's weird how differently I look at them now, like hey this could be the last time we hang out together. I try to carry that view into other parts of my life as well and it certainly makes life sweeter. Condolences to you and Amy.

  3. This still makes me cry every time I read it. I miss little baneny.

  4. It's been several months since I've looked at any blogs, and it's my first time here to your blog by chance... quite odd that it's the second ode to a deceased cat I've read in the last half hour, just clicking on the "Next Blog" tab at the top of each page, and the really uncanny thing is that my cat just passed two weeks ago. Hmmm... Thanks for the post and my sympathies for your loss...