The Daily Groove


The Re-emergence of the Famous Cat

Today's message is very personal.

I'm giving myself permission not to teach or coach or philosophize because I am first and foremost a human being, just like you, who sometimes needs just to be human. That is never more true than when facing the loss of a loved one — in this case, my family's beloved pet cat, Tulip, who died yesterday.

I'm normally very private about such things, but I have a good reason to commemorate Tulip here. After all, she was a famous cat...

Back in early 2011, we bought a house for the first time, which meant that we were finally free of rental agreements prohibiting pets. My partner Beth and our two girls were eager to start looking for a cat to adopt, as was I, but I wasn't comfortable with the idea of "shopping" for a new family member. I wanted our cat to come to us in a way that felt more meaningful.

My wish was granted in a poignant, unexpected way when my friend Jean Liedloff died in March, 2011, at the age of 84. I know that many of you have read Jean's book, The Continuum Concept, which has inspired parents since 1975 and gave rise to the attachment parenting movement, not to mention my career. Soon after Jean passed away, I learned that her cat — a petite Abyssinian named Tulip — had been bequeathed to someone who didn't really want her. I immediately volunteered to adopt Tulip, and within a few days we welcomed her into our home.

Photo of TulipTulip's papers were never found, so we never knew how old she was. But when we took her to the vet for a check-up, he determined that she was probably very old, showing us that she had lost all but two of her teeth! We put her on a "continuum correct" feline diet of raw meat, and her health improved considerably.

As you might expect of an older cat, she was quite mellow and slept most of the time, but that didn't stop her from bonding with us and busting our hearts open in the way that only a furry friend can do.

Tulip's fifteen minutes of fame came when she was mentioned in TIME magazine last May, on page 3 of this cover story.

We miss her very much, and I get a little teary every time I realize that there is no litter to clean, no cat food to prepare, no need to leave the bedroom door open a crack so she can come and go freely. All those things that at times felt "inconvenient" are now just reminders of the love she brought into our lives.

I'm grateful that we have a strong foundation of heart-centered values — thanks in part to the influence of Jean's work — to carry us through. We are holding each other close and making room for the variety of emotions we are feeling.

Yesterday I said I'd explain why I re-posted the groove Mother Nature Always Says YES! It was for the solace I derived from this part:

When all the creatures say, "May we live joyfully?" Mother Nature says, "Yes! And you need never fear death, for it is a re-emergence into the pure joy of Spirit."