A Year In Mill Valley

Goodbye Dear Sweet Geronimo

Dear friends,

Our sweet cat Geronimo died on Thursday July 1st, peacefully at home. He was 18 and a half.

I first met this Geronimo as a very small kitten in a house in San Francisco in Spring 1992, where a family had rescued the mother and kittens. In my mind I was hoping for a female kitten, but when I saw his brother Ho Chi I fell for the little thing that looked like it had been plugged into a light socket, with fur sticking up on end. As I scooped Ho Chi up and made my way out, his slightly rounder brother squeezed himself out from behind the dish washer and stood expectantly by my feet. “Take me too” he pleaded. “I think I belong with you too.”

And he most certainly did.

Almost 19 years on and Geronimo still had the softest coat, and without doubt the loudest motor of a purr. In recent years, after many years of kidney and thryoid disease he was a thinner version of his sleek self, but still the same affectionate demeanor and audible purr thrumming. He liked nothing better than when one of us sat on the couch next to him and he could sit with his paw draped possessively over one of our legs. “You’re mine, and my job in this house is to look after you.”

That was always his job in his furry mind. Even more so when the two boys were born. Bit by bit his job description increased. Some nights he couldn’t decide which boy needed guarding most. He would start off the night lying next to Sebastian the littlest, and when morning came would be lying next to Nathaniel. No doubt he was also in charge of Rosie too (in his mind)…..an exuberant and independent dog who would have been mortified to admit that secretly he and this cat had become friends over the years. Sometimes we would come home late at night to find them both sitting companionably next to each other, Rosie at the top of the stairs and Geronimo one step below. Of course they would immediately get up and stroll nonchalantly off in differently directions, but we knew better.

If I had to pick one word to sum up Geronimo it would be loyal. This is a kitty who has resolutely followed me from house to house, across the Atlantic twice, in quarantine in England for 5 months, a cat who has managed to settle into at least seven homes….one of them floating alarmingly on water. The first move from Cazneau Avenue to Frank’s house on Cloudview Trail was perhaps the most dramatic…..at least for me, by this stage an overwrought 7 months pregnant person convinced that the cats would run off and be eaten by mountain lions, (that is if they weren’t first scoffed by Rosie). There were a few hairy first days when having finally let them out, both kitties scampered and were not seen for a couple of days. But it was Geronimo who came home first, (maybe more hungry than his brother, or perhaps more needing of a home). It was always Geronimo who returned first to come home. And Geronimo who made it over the Atlantic safely to join us in England. Ever the hunter, Ho Chi protected us from rats and evil spirits, and brought the teeth and assorted bits of innards back as prizes, meanwhile Geronimo protected us with his body warmth and love.

Over the past few years Geronimo started to slow down. Towards the end his eyesight and hearing and sense of smell was failing, and the dementia resulting from years of kidney disease was starting to show more and more. Sometimes he would sit staring into a cupboard door as though trying to remember where he was, and who he was….and maybe if he was. But the minute I gathered him up in my arms his tense body would relax and his throaty motor would switch on.

Who would not love a little being who has spent it’s whole life loving you.

So, to my sweet kitty Geronimo who has taught me so much about love, farewell for now. You will be most missed. You will be remembered and loved always.

Rachel xo
(and Frank, Nathaniel and Sebastian)


5 Comments so far

  1. Teresa Mallen July 8th, 2010 11:03 am

    I will miss dear sweet Gerinimo.He was a lovely old guy and had a wonderful life with all of you.I will truly remember that voice of his….announcing his presence in such an amusing tone.What a great kitty!A fond goodbye to your true and loyal friend. Thanks Rachel, for such a beautiful remembrance.

  2. Carol July 8th, 2010 11:10 am

    Oh my…how dear Geronimo,such a brave and gentle one, will be greatly missed!

  3. Dave Adair July 8th, 2010 4:15 pm

    Lovely stories, Rachel, and beautifully written. When you said 18 years, that seemed like a long time. But since 1992? Wow! A lot has happened in all of our lives since then. She was part of the family. I’ll miss the little furball, too. Love to all of you. Dave

  4. Whitney July 8th, 2010 6:05 pm

    What a lovely tribute to your beloved and loyal friend. Thank you, Rachel, and sleep peacefully, Geronimo!

  5. pam July 11th, 2010 9:48 pm

    Oh babe. What a fine tribute to such a special creature. He was one of the good ones. One of the very best of the best. I hope we’ll all be able to hear his motor from heaven. x

Leave a reply

In an effort to control spam, please fill in the result of the equation below