Sunday, March 22, 2020

Her Grace and Sleekness the Duchess of Yowl

Early morning, chez Yowl.
All is quiet.

A brisk ratatattat on the door rouses Thumbs, who stumbles from her hammock to peer through the spyhole.

"Yes?"

"Pickup for Her Grace."

"What??"

"Pickup for Her Grace and Sleekness the Duchess of Yowl."

Thumbs opens the door to find a uniformed man with a rolling trolley like those used by hotel bellmen. His name patch reads "Picu Andropov."

"What are you picking up?"

He consults a work order.

"Two steamer trunks, misc. cans of tuna, and an aquarium."

Thumbs is befuddled, so she simply opens the door and stands aside.

Clunking and huffing ensues. Water splashing. Muffled curses.

Soon Picu returns pushing the cart, now laden with two steamer trunks, a tuna-scented Saks shopping
bag, and an aquarium full of fish looking seasick as their watery home is now suitable for surfing.

"I left a copy of the work order on your dining room table."

"Ok, thanks."

Picu clanks and splashes all the way to the elevator.

Thumbs checks the work order.

Sure enough, two steamer trunks, cans of tuna and an aquarium. Pickup address
Chez Yowl, but the destination ....is blank?

What the dogfearing heck is this?

A note at the bottom:
Dear Thumbs,
I have gone on ahead to my next life.
I took the tuna. I left the cannoli.

Her Grace, Katy, the Duchess of Yowl

I knew she could not live forever,
I hoped I would be wrong.

87 comments:

BJ Muntain said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, Janet. It's hard to lose a furry friend. My best wishes to you and the Duchess's family. (((hugs)))

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I'm so sorry to here this. Sending positive thoughts and prayers to you and the Duchess's family.

Barbara Etlin said...

Aw, it seems as if we've all lost a friend. I'm so sorry.

Lora Senf said...

Oh, Janet, I'm so very sorry.
I have nothing to say to make this easier, but I do wish for you some peace.

Steve Forti said...

Oh no! Hang in there.

Lennon Faris said...

What a lovely tribute to a beautiful girl. I am sorry to hear this but know she had a wonderful life with all her servants. Thank you for making us laugh all these years, Duchess!

nightsmusic said...

What a wonderful tribute to a unique and much adored duchess. I'm in tears.

I'm so very sorry for anyone who's life the duchess touched. Prayers to you and to her family as well.

John Davis Frain said...

So sorry, Janet. But, oh, the memories.

Kate Larkindale said...

Oh no! So sad to hear this, Janet. I have so enjoyed hearing about the Duchess and her adventures. Kia kaha.

Kregger said...

This is why I don’t have pets anymore. It’s hard enough when friends have pets that order a change in domicile. It wrecks me for years when they are my companions. Ref. Mr. Bojangles and Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.

nightsmusic said...

Wait! She had her own fish tank?? Holy Cat! A true Duchess indeed.

Kitty said...

Been there many times. I am sorry

Mallory Love said...

This is a heartbreaking but beautiful tribute. I'm so sorry for your loss.

Beth Carpenter said...

Oh, I'm so sorry. The Duchess has brought smiles to so many, and I know she meant the world to you. Virtual hugs.

Brenda said...

Aw, so sorry to hear this. On top of everything else, too.
Be well.

Android Astronomer said...

My heart breaks for you and your loss, Janet. Thank you for sharing The Dutchess with us so we could love her, too.

I bet one of those steamer trunks was full of memories of you.

Megan V said...

So sorry for your loss, and Her Grace's owner's loss as well. It's so tough losing a beloved furry companion, and doubly so in times such as these.

Goodness knows Her Grace will have many at her beck and call at her new destination.

Thank you for sharing her with us over the years. She will be missed.

Brigid said...

I'm so sorry. We'll open a can of fish in her honor.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

I burst out into full sobs when I got to end of this. Your DOY posts cheered ms through so much in the last five years. I will miss her.

KDJames said...

Oh, Janet. I'm so sorry. I know how hard it is to lose furry friends. They leave so many empty spaces.

It really says something about my current mental state that I'm sitting here crying like I'm reliving the grief over every pet I've ever lost. :shaky breath:

Much gratitude to you, and to Her Grace's other family, for sharing her pics and stories here. Thank you especially for this beautiful post (the snort-worthy "Picu Andropov" notwithstanding), for giving us this image of Her Grace off on yet one more adventure. I can see the tear stains around the edges. I know, generally, One Does Not Hug The Shark, but I'm sending virtual hugs your way just the same.

Theresa said...

Deepest, deepest condolences, Janet. The Duchess had style through the very end.

Kathryn said...

I'm sorry for your loss. She will be missed <3

Melanie Sue Bowles said...

From all of us at Proud Spirit to everyone who served Her Grace, we send our love. To the DoY, thanks for the laughs.

french sojourn said...


I must say, I've always had a cat crush on that diminutive graize version of the pink panther. My heart breaks for you.

All the love and devotion she gave you, and you gave her, she stored, it transfers to them and their journey, they won't be alone...the little brats will wait for you and continue to torment you when you catch up to them.

Be strong, stay well, and know TDOY is waiting, napping, and scheming. ( but mostly napping.)

We have 5 cats on our farm, you are welcome to visit.

Cheers fro Naiya, Moxie, Roux, Barney ( the barn cat) and Elle.

RosannaM said...



So, so sad. I wish they could live forever.

Luralee said...

The Duchess was a fortunate cat to have been loved by so many! Your DOY posts always made me smile. She will be missed.

Elissa M said...

Oh, damn.

I can't even.

(Goes and weeps in the corner because this sort of loss is all too familiar.)

charlogo said...

I hope you can feel us sitting with you on your green couch. And I hope the generosity of spirit and encouragement you’ve shown your readers comes back to you one hundred-fold.
So now I fly my freak flag. (Lurkiness is my default mode, but desperate times and all that). I offer you this:
Something I’ve always suspected: cats and dogs and horses (and squirrels and maybe birds) come back. They come back. And the turn-around time may be pretty fast. (I know what you’re thinking…there’s no explaining the squirrel part. Just something I know.) I have looked into the eyes of a dog more than once and said to myself, “Simon?”
Even if I’m wrong, you knew Katy, and she knew you, so there’s really no such thing as the Duchess gone.

Karen McCoy said...

My heart is broken. Rest in luxury, Duchess.

Linda Shantz said...

Heartbroken for you. I'm so sorry. She will live on in your stories.

KMK said...

Very, very sorry for your loss. You made all of us feel as if we knew her too, so she will live on in our memories as well, most of all in your moving and perfect tribute. Keeping a very good thought for you.

Fearless Reider said...

I'm so sorry. I picture Her Grace lighting out for the territory on a well-appointed yacht.

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

Farewell your grace, the Duchess of Yowl, we never, ever, have enough time together.

Janice L. Grinyer said...

Im pretty sure at this moment she's wondering when her jazz funeral parade & six course seafood bruncheon including tuna ice cream will begin, that 22 ft handcarved marble memorial in her likeness of Goddess Bastet will be erected, and how long all of us followers will be wearing black from head to toe including face veils with dangling toy mice. Your entertaining stories of the glorious Duchess of Yowl brought her to life for all of us, even though we never had the honor of meeting her in person. Oh JR, its never easy to say goodbye to someone that special! (((hugstoyou,thumbs!)))

Katja said...

Dear me. I'm a little bit speechless. I only just checked in to the blog and saw 33 comments. For a Sunday..., I thought 'something' must have happened.

I did not expect THIS.

Sigh! Because, yes, I too loved her stories here.

:( :( :(

Lisa Bodenheim said...

So very sorry, Janet. What a loss. A treasured Duchess.

Writer of Wrongs said...

So very sad to learn this. Thank you for sharing her with us — and know that we share your sorrow now. Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half sorrow. We’ll treasure your memories of the DOY.

Just Jan said...

What a wonderful tribute to a life well lived.

I'm quite sure the Duchess is enjoying her next life and has already selected a being to fetch delicacies for her.

Our pets never stay on this earth long enough, do they? And when they move on, they inevitably break our hearts.

Please accept my condolences, Janet. I know Katy will be missed.

Irene Troy said...

“We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own live within a fragile circle, easily and often breached. Unable to accept its awful gaps, we still would have it no other way. We cherish memory as the only certain immortality, never fully understanding the necessary plan." Irving Townsend.

I’ve always loved this short paragraph. We adopt animals and they enrich our lives in ways most of us can not even begin to fathom. Their lives are often so much shorter than our own and saying goodbye is always so painful. Yet, we do it again and again because the idea of being without a dog or a cat is unimaginable. Someplace along the way, we learn that the price of love and companionship is all too often sorrow.

I’m so sorry for the loss of Her Royal Yowlness. I know she will be greatly missed.

Amanda Hosch said...

I am so, so sorry for your loss. I adored reading about Her Grace. I hope her can of tuna is forever opened in the next life.

Jennifer Rueff said...

So sorry for your loss, Thumbs. Thank you for sharing the Duchess with us over the years. My condolences to all those who were at her service.

Timothy Lowe said...

Sorry for the loss. Moving tribute.

Claire Bobrow said...

Farewell, dear Duchess. You will be sorely missed. I hope that wherever you are, the tuna is plentiful and the worshipers devoted, though I fear none will ever surpass Thumbs. I'm so sorry for your loss, Janet.

Cecilia Ortiz Luna said...

Goodnight, sweet Duchess.

We will all miss you.

MaggieJ said...

Oh, Janet. I am so very, very sorry to hear this.

Katy, Your Grace . . . we will miss you more than words can say. You brightened so many of our mornings with your inimitable cattitude. You were loved and will be long remembered. We are all richer for the stories about you that Thumbs so generously shared with us, and we are all saddened that this is the last one.

I'll be hugging my little Jenny-Cat a little closer tonight (when she awakens from her fifth catnap of the day) in memory of Her Grace and Sleekness, Katy, Duchess of Yowl.

Selerial said...

So very sorry for your loss, Janet. Sending you all the love and e-hugs in the world. She was (and always will be) magnificent.

Laura Stegman said...

Very, very sorry to hear this! Having gone through a pet loss, I understand how painful it is. Sending condolences.

JanR said...

Oh no, no, no, no no no nono. Oh Janet. How heartbreaking. Her Grace and Sleekness was one of a kind - and one of the good kinds. Funny. Haughty. Imperious. Yowlaciously entertaining.

If you ever doubt you're a writer, Janet, return (when you can bear to) and read the Duchess's collection - storytelling at its finest. Even in grief, Picu Andropov. Thank you for letting us know, in your and Her inimitable style. Thank you, and will weep with you a while.

Sarah said...

Oh, Janet...

Craig F said...

I do hope that her next Thumbs realize what a special person she is. I also hope that you can cherish her in your memories.

I have too many memories of pets gone by. The hardest were those that were inherited.

As we stand on the threshold of this Brave New World, it seems like horrid timing. So many things falling, we need something to lift us, not add on to the list we already don't want to look at.

Sorry, but know she will be missed by more than just you.If we could add some love for the ferals that pass without any knowing their stories.

Sunnygoetze said...

No! This must be a mistake. 😢😢😢

NLiu said...

Oh no! This is such sad news. You must be heartbroken. I loved hearing about the Duchess and her royal antics. Such a beautiful cat and so full of personality. Even though I never met her, I will miss her very much.

Amy Johnson said...

Janet, I'm so sorry for your loss. Clearly, The Duchess lived a wonderful life with lots of love. Thank you for sharing her wonderfulness with us.

SarahJ said...

The Duchess has always been a bright spot on this blog. Thank you for sharing her adventures with all of us. She will be remembered.

Her Grace, Heidi, the Duchess of Kneale said...

I'll miss my fellow Duchess and her adventures. May she be enjoying her next life.

Lora Senf said...

Janet, thinking about you. I've tried off and on today to read the comments but haven't made it through - two or three in I start crying.

Lots of us will miss the Duchess dearly.

Sending good thoughts tonight.

AJ Blythe said...

That your stories of Her Grace can make someone who never met her tear up says something. My heart goes out to you and those in her regular home. I know the DoY will be making her presence known in the land of cat nip she now resides.

Stephen G Parks said...

Oh wow. I just saw this on Twitter. I'm so sorry for your loss.

MA Hudson said...

I’m so sorry. This is heartbreaking.

roadkills-r-us said...

I am so sorry. May God’s mind-boggling peace and impossible joy wrap and fill you at this time. And may I offer a hug?
Her Grace brought a lot of joy even to strangers on the net. She may well be the only cat I never met whom I remember fondly.

Allison K Williams said...

I'm so sorry you lost your beautiful friend.

LynnRodz said...

Oh no! It's 3:30 am, I got mum back in bed and when I saw a DOY post, I knew it would cheer me up before going back to bed, or so I thought. I'm so sorry for your loss. You shared her with us that she became an integral part of the reef, our own little mascot. She will be sorely missed. My thoughts are with you, Janet.

Kae Ridwyn said...

Oh! Janet. I'm so sorry :(

Aphra Pell said...

I'm so sorry Janet. May Her Grace's next life be full of tuna and attentive servants.

Johnell said...

I'm so sorry. As a cat person, I so enjoyed every story you shared of her. A true loss, especially at an already difficult time. I wish you the healing and all the fond memories you need to help with the pain.

Jeff Deitering said...

This makes me so sad. I'm very sorry for your loss.

C. Dan Castro said...

So sorry for your loss, Janet. I still think often of my beautiful black cat, Bill. In fact, she watches me as I type, two photos pinned to my cork board. One she's curled "asleep," her eyes just open enough to say, "what do you want?" (The shelter folks thought she was a he, so her name of Bill became part of her collection of oddities.) In the other photo, she looks up expectantly, for it was time for lap sleeping and lots of petting.

Susan at West of Mars said...

Well. This sucks beyond measure.

Hugs and love from me, Milo Cat, and Lucy Cat. We get it.

Karl Henwood said...

I'm so sorry. Hang in there.

Kathy Halsey said...

What a tribute, what a life your Duchess, Katy, had. I am so very sorry for your loss. We loved her through you and your stories of her. My paws in prayer for you, Janet.

Alyssa R said...

I am so, so sorry. There's really nothing else to say. I can't believe that even in your grief, you found a way to make it semi-funny. Picu Andropov is something I would have been too busy crying to think of.

I read the whole post, and it didn't really sink in until I'd re-read it and was halfway through the comments section. Now I'm tearing up and will be full-out blubbering soon so I'd better get this done first.

I once read that no one is ever truly gone until they are forgotten (okay, more than once). If that's true, then some part of the Duchess will live forever. Bless her royal heart.

Matt Krizan said...

My condolences and my sympathies on your loss. I’ve been there. :(

KAClaytor said...

Janet, I am so terribly sorry.

Richelle Elberg said...

So very sorry. We'll all miss her rollicking tales, but none so much as Thumbs. :(

Marsha said...

This is not the only reason I am weeping, now, I suspect.

Kaphri said...

My heart seized when I read the bottom of the post. I am so sorry for your loss.

Barbara Senenman said...

I haven't commented much on this site, but have to now. Though there really are no words to make you feel better.

My sincerest condolences to you. May all the memories of THE DUCHESS make you smile as your posts about her always made me!

NICOLE PARTON said...

This may be trite, but sincere: It's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. I'm sorry for you loss.

Ann Bennett said...

I am so sad about the Duchess of Yowl. Her distant cousins live at my home. There is no greater honor than to be owned by a cat. Take care my friend. Grief is a terrible journey that will end.

Sandra J. said...

I'm so very sorry to hear about the Duchess of Yowl. Her stories were always entertaining and made me laugh.

The two of you shared friendship, loyalty and love. For the DoY, it was a life time. For you, it was what likely felt like a few short years. Thank you for sharing her with us.

Cassandra Briggs said...

I'm so sorry, Janet. Pets are family. There is never a good time to lose a loved one, but on top of everything else happening right now it's especially hard.

Morgyn said...


Tears running down my face, having been there too many times.

Julie Weathers said...

Janet, I am so sorry. I just read this and I'm sitting here crying. We all loved her so much because you made her so real for us.

Jennifer Mugrage said...

Oh my gosh! I am so sorry I missed this, I was sick this weekend!
Many condolences!

Don't Mind Me... said...

Oh, no! I'm so sorry

Stacy said...

Oh, Janet. I am so sorry to hear this. We have lost one of our most treasured members. Godspeed.

Melanie said...

Janet, I'm so sorry for your loss. Your love for her was inspiring. My cat, Penny, and I send our deepest condolences.