For Sherpa
Animal Stories from

FROM Julia Orr
Facebook posting, February 19, 2022

No matter how much I cursed him, I loved that boy with all of my heart and most of my paycheck.

Cat Sherpa

It’s hard to believe you finally crossed the Rainbow Bridge. I’m sorry we couldn’t hold to our promise of dying peacefully in your sleep, but I like to think your struggles with this world are done, and you can cozy up to your Mumma and Sissou once again. That was always where you were the most content. What can I say about the indomitable Sherpa …the hater of children, mail delivery carriers, vets, strangers with black hair, and pretty much every human going, including me.

After a straight 8 hour rescue over 20 years ago, we pulled Sherpa’s mom, Mumma Cat, and his siblings from a locked storage cupboard. Mumma Cat was a hissing-fitting nightmare and only warmed up to me after a year. Sherpa and his siblings were 3 days old when I got them home. I knew this because I had just returned from my Dad’s funeral, had spotted a pregnant cat lying around, had tried to catch her, and when she disappeared and showed up 3 days later not pregnant. I followed her and discovered her hiding place.

Kitten Sherpa

Sherpa and his brother Sissou who became the love of my life stayed with me and Mumma cat. Sherpa, Sissou, and Mumma cat have been a massive part of my life, and at 20.5, Sherpa leaves a gigantic hole. My whole life, it seemed revolved around him, so I’m not sure what we’re going to do without his abstract, on the spectrum, odd way of filling our lives …. he was one of a kind, and an era has passed with him. He screamed at me constantly.

Yelled all night for 6 months when Mumma Cat died and paced the house all night. He left home for three days when Harry moved in and would just pace around outside the house just out of reach. He hid in a garage while i yelled for him all night. He tore through a pair of hawking gloves when I had to call in expert cat catchers with nets to get him to the emergency vets one day as I couldn't catch him after 5 hours of trying, and his leg was swelling up.

He screamed for 7 hours straight when we moved to Napa and only stopped when I got out of the car to pee, much to the amazement of co-driver Irene. He then hid for a month in the cupboard. Pooed and peed wherever he wanted. Escaped the house by pushing open the back door when I was in NY once. Wouldn’t let you hold him. Was okay-ish with you petting his head from a distance. Never let any cat sitter see him let alone touch him.

My heart has a hole in it a mile wide. We talked all day and every day. No matter how much I cursed him, I loved that boy with all of my heart and most of my paycheck. It’s like someone knocked the wind round out of me. I failed him utterly as a human, and I would do anything to have him back to complain at me for more years.

I really thought he was going to live to be 30. What are we going to do without you? The house is silent without you in it. 

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