Missing Bear

How is Kat doing in dealing with Bear's passing? I've been distracted, and Ellie Mae can't help noticing! Many of you have checked in and asked, and I've given cryptic answers like "some days are better than others" and "hanging in there." Some losses just can't be put into words - some feelings can't be adequately expressed verbally, and the day-to-day impact of such a loss far surpasses anything I could share. This post will likely be the extent that I talk about losing Bear - except in passing. Still, the words couldn't possibly convey the tremendous loss we all feel losing Bear. 

BC: Bear Cat Kat [handsome tabby cat] 
EM: Ellie Mae Kat [black, gorgeously floofy cat] 
MK: Momma Kat [Bear and Ellie's human Momma, named Kat] 
The Boy: Momma's fiance 

{Pause as Momma's deep in thought}
EM: A! HEM!!!
MK: Huh?
EM: I caught you a sparkle ball.
MK: Umm ... thanks.
EM: You know, because you're so bad at hunting. And sparkle balls are cunning.
MK: Okay.
EM: Are you even listening to me?
MK: Okay.
MK: Err ... no.
EM: I SAID ... I caught you a sparkle ball because you're so bad at hunting. And sparkle balls are cunning.

MK: Oh. Thanks. 
EM: How do you like to prepare your sparkle ball?
MK: Erm ... I've never had one.
EM: Yeah. As I said, you're not very good at hunting.
MK: Now wait a minute ... how do you get your food?
EM: The food fairy! Bear said!
MK: Ugh. How do YOU prepare your sparkle balls?
EM: I tell them they're going to die. I prefer my sparkle balls over easy. You can prepare your own sparkle ball, right?
MK: Sure.
EM: What's wrong, Momma?! You seem sad.
MK: I miss my sidekick.
EM: I've never seen your sidekick. Is it some kind of exercise?
EM: You miss side-kicking Bear?  I was satisfied to kick Bear with a front kick - I'm a no-frills kind of girl.
MK: No, he's my ... he WAS my sidekick - attached to me.
EM: He was attached to you? Does that mean that when I kicked him, I kicked you too? Because I'm pretty sure it'd still be worth it. One time, I told him his Momma looked like a man. 
MK: I am his Momma. Do I look like a man?
EM: No. But I forgot you were HIS Momma too. 

MK: How could you forget that? We live here together.
EM: Like Daddy. Daddy is only my Daddy. He's not Bear's Daddy. Or at least I never was stupid enough to say he was Bear's Daddy to Bear's face. I DID say A LOT of things behind his back though. It's really good that his butt was so large because it gave me lots of cover.
MK: Bear loved The Boy in his own way.
EM: With claws and fangs! Hahahaha.
MK: I miss Bear ... my sidekick.
EM: I'll be your sidekick.
MK: It's not the same. You don't challenge me and put me in my place.
EM: I'll challenge you! Hmmm ... I'll ask something REALLY hard ... what's three times nine?
MK: Not THAT kind of challenge. 
EM: You humans - always looking to get beat down and shown up.
MK: And you won't sleep with me.
EM: That's not true!
MK: Do you sleep curled up next to me?
EM: Erm ... well, no. But TECHNICALLY speaking, I AM sleeping in the same room as you - just on the scratcher at the bottom of the bed. So I DO SLEEP with you - just not in the same spot.
MK: Bear taught you about technicalities well.
EM: Bear WAS one big technicality. Sometimes I thought "technicality" was his middle name - after "dick" anyway.

MK: You don't sleep with me as Bear did.
EM: Oh.
MK: I put off going to bed - I dread it. The bed is so ... empty and cold. Then I can't sleep without Bear, and I toss and turn for a couple of hours. Not to mention the panic attacks.
EM: Oh, you mean Bear used to kill the panics for you? Because I can kill those little panics for you, Momma!
MK: They aren't bugs.
EM: Oh.
MK: I get thinking of the years I'll have to go without Bear - all that emptiness. Without his smell, the expressions of his face, a well-placed fang, a cat to sleep on me, a cat to get me, a cat to ensure that I never feel alone. I don't want to get used to how it was before Bear - I don't want to get used to not having a cat on me as I fall asleep. It was such a huge deal for me when I finally relaxed with Bear there.
EM: But I'M here!
MK: But it's not the same. Bear stretched my comfort zones and expanded my experience of emotions - now that space that he occupied so completely is empty. I don't want my life to shrink back up to where it's like Bear was never here at all. 
EM: Daddy says he loves you anyway.
MK: Excuse me?
EM: He says that even though you're larger than you used to be - he loves you anyway.
MK: THAT'S NOT WHAT I WAS TALKING ABOUT! I was talking about my comfort zones, not my size!  
EM: Oh.

MK: But bringing up The Boy - it's the same. Since he's been here, he's expanded my comfort zones beyond what Bear could do - I WANT things again. I couldn't bear to lose him too.
EM: Erm ... WHAT ABOUT ME? You can't live without Bear and The Boy ... what am I? Chopped liver?
MK: Well ... you're not Bear.
MK: And then, when I do fall asleep, I have horrible nightmares and flashbacks - as I did before Bear. On the one hand, this shows the profound impact he had on my life - but on the other, it's even more devastating. I never thought I'd be dealing with this intensity of panic, nightmares and flashbacks again.
EM: Nightmares about what?
MK: Of being attacked or severely hurt - that you're sick too and you'll die the same way as Bear did - and some super-extra horrible ones that I woke up crying from and then blocked out. I've never woken up so many times in tears in my life - and given my nightmares before - that's saying something. Even so, being awake without Bear is even worse than the nightmares.
EM: Bear was my nightmare.
MK: He loved you.
EM: Like a chicken!
MK: No. Sometimes Bear had to seem like he didn't like you to make up for how much he did.
EM: Erm ... what? That makes no sense. Hmm. Like Bear.
MK: I'm sure he's looking over us.
EM: He is?
MK: I think so.
EM: Erm ... even when I'm in the litter box? Because that's creepy. What about when I eat wet food that used to be his? Will he haunt me if I play with his catnip banana? 

MK: I don't think so. But I see him all over - not actually see him - but the memory of him. I see his stuff, where he's not and all his medical supplies.
EM: But I'm here!
MK: I'm sorry, Ellie. I admit that in the face of losing Bear, I miss the forest for the trees.
EM: Trees?! A FOREST?! Bear talked about his secret stashes - but he never said anything about trees and a FOREST!
MK: I'm depressed. Like really depressed. Right now, I'm not doing much more than the minimum. I've been struggling a lot - yet, I don't know how to talk about it. The great thing about my relationship with Bear is that I never had to speak to communicate with him. My feelings and words don't connect and stand completely separate; of course, this is a survival mechanism - and why therapy never helped me.
EM: You're certainly saying a lot of words! I can barely get a word in edgewise!
MK: The other day, it occurred to me that I predicted this. When Bear and I won the CWA Communications Contest Special Award for the Human-Feline Bond, I shared my "fictions" with everyone. One of those beliefs was that bragging in any way about good in my life would end in devastating disaster - and it did. Maybe if I'd never written the article bragging about how Bear changed my life, he'd still be alive. I got a warning shortly after starting our blog when I felt the lump in Bear's back. I stepped back from blogging, and it turned out to be benign. But I couldn't leave well enough alone. I fought my fiction - believing it couldn't be true - but it was!
EM: Umm ... feel free to brag about how I'VE changed your life.
MK: Ellie, I appreciate you too. I couldn't ask for a sweeter kitty cat. You like to talk - loudly - and The Boy and I have to admire your spunk. And your penchant for finding the teeny tiny smallest piece of food on the floor. I know you love your people, and you'd do just about anything for us.

MK: And those are just the intensely personal issues about being without Bear. There's so much more than that too. Bear was how I related to the world - as an introvert. Who didn't like a good Bear story? He made me want to be a better person and challenged me. And he wrote our blog. I can't take him off - maybe ever.  At the same time, I can't write without him. People think I'm modest when I say Bear wrote our blog, but I see that it's 100% true in his absence. I write okay without him - but Bear's influence is what made this blog special. He and I had a connection - above and beyond words - that made our blog funny and heartwarming; we played off each other and got each other. Plus, Bear's personality was so much larger than life. And I miss him so much it hurts. 
EM: Didn't you say you talked to Bear via some ... err ... how? Because you told me dead people and cats couldn't speak.
MK: No. I said that when Bear was alive and said he was dead - so you wouldn't bug him - he wasn't dead.
EM: Oh.
MK: So many of our friends suggested trying to talk to Bear - and the loss didn't seem so great at first. But the conversations went like this: "Hi, Bear." "Hi. Momma." "How are you?" "Having lots of fun with our blogging friends! I wish I'd met them for real in life!"
EM: And?
MK: And then Bear would say he wanted to go back to playing.
EM: Bear?! Do you mean napping?

MK: Well, in his younger days ...
EM: Bear Cat ... Kat?!
MK: YES! Think about it! If you're in heaven - you don't feel pain or anything, and you can run and play without the hindrance of age.
EM: Oh. Do you mean like when I moved in, and he pounced on me every five seconds?
MK: Something like that. But with these bits of surface conversations, it's hard for my heart to beat out my rational side that you can't talk to a dead person or cat. Not to mention, Bear and I never had to speak to communicate - we could look at each other and get it. But we did have one wonderful conversation.
EM: About what? Torties?
MK: Well, he misses Amarula and Mudpie - but he has some new friends. But just friends!
EM: What else would they be?
MK: Err ... you know how you feel about Woodrow?
EM: Yeah! Like we're meant to be, and he's the male version of me?
MK: Like that - at least a little bit. Anyway. Bear and I had a conversation where I apologized for every time I didn't pet him when he wanted attention. I felt so bad, and it seemed like such a waste.
EM: Hmm ... you could LEARN from that lesson and pay attention to ME every time I want attention.
MK: {sigh} Anyway, Bear reminded me that there were plenty of times HE didn't want to snuggle with me or have me bug him. That hit me hard because he's right. We both had our times of needing space - probably because we were so secure that we'd want to be close again.
EM: Oh.
MK: And then I asked him how I knew this was a real conversation with him - and not something my mind made up to make me feel better. I told him I couldn't believe it unless there was proof.
EM: What'd he say?

MK: He said I accepted our deep connection without proof that it exists; I trusted my heart.
MK: Yeah. That blew me away too. Those are things I couldn't have come up with on my own. That was a classic Bear telling me how it is.
EM: Without claws and fangs?! Isn't that against his ... err ... religion?
MK: Haha.
EM: That wasn't a joke. Hey! Do you think I can talk to him?
MK: What did you two ever discuss without arguing?
EM: That he's dead. See! We can talk about that!
MK: Ugh. Oh! In that conversation, I learned something else.
EM: Bear's dead? Because he's told me he's dead for years.
MK: No. He said he met Kitty in heaven, and she blocked him.
EM: Blocked him?
MK: Yes. Like you can block people on some social media channels. I asked him how he knew about blocking people on social media and he tried to change the subject.
EM: THAT'S BEAR! Hahaha. Because he wasn't allowed on your computer. 
MK: I'm guessing Bear pestered Kitty like he used to do - so she blocked him from her heaven.
EM: Heaven sounds like a nice place.
MK: Our conversations since that one have either been about his new friends from other blogs or that same one with small talk.
EM: Small talk? What kind of usual talk do we do?
MK: Never mind.
MK: The scariest thing to me is that I think I'm still in shock. The depression and sadness are from being without Bear in every aspect of my life - not about losing him permanently.
EM: Wait ... you LOST him? How could you lose Bear? He's so loud! And who's in the box you showed me?!?

EM: SEE?!?! My fear of being lost like Bear is why I howl when I can't find my people! That way, you can't lose me!
MK: By saying I lost him, I meant because he died. I'm not even at grief yet – I'm still in shock. I don't even know how to get past it. I'm not sure I want to. And I'm furious when I think about what happened.
EM: About what?
MK: What happened to Bear is not fair. One part of me seriously asks the question, "Why even take my cats to the vet regularly?" For his whole life, Bear went to the veterinarian at least yearly. I did everything right. I didn't hesitate to take him - got everything done as recommended and then some. I know I asked all the right questions, reported and followed up on every little thing. Just this year - with the dental issues - he'd already been SIX times (and had his blood tested four times). And yet, he died of a horrible disease less than a week from showing symptoms. It makes me so mad. I didn't neglect his medical needs! I took him as soon as he showed symptoms, and he died gasping for breath three days later. In what kind of world does that make sense? And how could I not know what's going on with the cat whose heart beats in mine?
EM: I'm sorry you're sad, Momma. I love you. Could you give me some ear rubs?
MK: Yes, that's one thing I can do. I love you too, Ellie.

© 2021 Momma Kat and Her Bear Cat - Published by K. Kern. 
All text, pictures, images, and other content are original and copyright by Momma Kat and Her Bear Cat [K. Kern], 2015-2021. No content on Momma Kat and Her Bear Cat may be used without the owner's [K. Kern] written permission. If you see this post posted on a site that isn't Momma Kat and Her Bear Cat, please contact cats@mommakatandherbearcat.com. 

Featured posts:


  1. Ellie, how nice of your to bring her a sparkle ball, because they are cunning things, and you are one heckuva sparkle ball hunter!

    1. I know! I only have to kill them 1,984,344 times! Most cats have to kill them 7,845,201 times for them to be just as dead. ~Ellie Mae

  2. Ellie keep up the good work entertaining Momma.
    I do truly understand....the missing never leaves our heart and mind but I can tell you the good and fun memories do start to show up more.
    Hugs Cecilia

    1. I'm doing my best to take care of my Momma. Bear never told me how hard it is! ~Ellie Mae

  3. I'm writing this and crying like a baby. Grief is like the ocean. Sometimes the water is calm and sometimes you stand on the shore minding your own business and a big tsunami comes and swallows you up. I've felt those feelings. I still struggle with the fact that The Tribe of Five is a Tribe of Three. I too don't understand why, with all the vet visits, the Sub Q fluids, meds and supplements and Jasmine's kidney numbers were getting better that she had a stroke a few days after being diagnosed with hyperthyroidism.

    And it's not just we humans who grieve. Lily is only now moving forward after losing Tucker. It took her time but she is affectionate (she never used to sleep with me and does now). Ellie Mae is going through her own journey. We humans and our felines experience our loss in different ways and the timeline is different for all. I'm not going to offer you any platitudes because the truth is, grief hurts but, it's like a wound that slowly heals. There will be a day when there will be joy in the memories of Bear, when the would heals and only leaves a small scar that is a reminder of the love and bond you shared.

    Praying for your broken heart my friend and wish I could give you a hug. Someone once said, "The loss of a cat is immeasurable but so is the love left behind." Someday you will feel that love again, without the debilitating sorrow.

    1. Thank you, Anita. I hope you are right - and know you probably are.

  4. K; sadly, you have to go thru this, to get past this; it's one of the 7 stages of grief. and in each one of those stages, you take your time... and deal with it how you want, when you want, why you want, and say kiss my ....to anyone who says differently. Bear really isn't "gone"...he's just living in a "different place" and he was ALWAYS be near... take these sentences for example:

    MK: No. He said he met Kitty in heaven, and she blocked him.
    EM: Blocked him?
    MK: Yes. Like you can block people on some social media channels. I'm guessing he pestered her like he used to do - so she blocked him from her heaven.

    if that's not BEAR...."talking" ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ then ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    ♥♥♥♥♥ L

  5. It is tough, loss is tough, illness is tough. and no, it's not fair. I'm having lots of those same feelings with Brian right now. I know it's not the same with Ellie but she does want to help you. Hugs dear friend.

    1. Sending hugs back to you. Please know you're not alone.

  6. Ellie, I was vewy touched that yoo brought yoor Meowmy a sparkly ball. Pleez be patient with her. Losing her sidekick-slash-mews isn't something she will "get over." According to my momma, losing someone she loves with all of her heart will always hurt. But yoo can win her over by being patient, and purrsistent. Make her laugh. Snuggle. Bear is watching over yoo all. In fact, I understand that OTRB has a sekret elevator where he can visit while everyone is sleeping. Love yoo all. Dori

    1. I'm doing my best to take care of my Momma. Bear never told me how hard it is! Erm ... so he visits while I'm asleep?!?! Like he might be watching me when I take my 11:05 snooze?!? #Freaky
      ~Ellie Mae

  7. The hard thing about online friendships is wishing so much you were closer so you do something for them during such a difficult time. Losing Bear after taking such wonderful care of him was 1000% unfair, and life can be damn unfair. You will miss him until the day you're reunited - there's no getting around that - but you have so much love to give The Boy, Ellie, and any future cats lucky enough to call you their Momma.

  8. I am glad you shared Bear with us over the years. Please don't feel like you jinxed him, we have no control over when it is our time- better to enjoy it and I am glad you let us share in loving him too. XO

  9. It’s been over 2 years since I lost Wally…6 months since losing Zoey…and the pain is still there. It hurts to talk about them…that’s one of the reasons why I don’t write about them much on the blog. So I totally understand your feelings…even the part of feeling like you jinx it…which you didn’t by the way…but the mind plays those tricks on us…I know mine does. Sending you comforting hugs and love. ~Sue

  10. Please just know that you did not jinx Bear. You loved him, and he loved you ... and that is most definitely not a jinx. Thank you again for sharing him and your special relationship with all of us. Like Ellie and The Boy, we wish there was something we could do to help. We love you, and send you gentle purrs and all good thoughts.

  11. I really do know how you feel. It is over 4 years since Flynn left and it still hurts as bad. You learn to live with it but the pain is always under the surface waiting to grab me by the throat. My most vivid memory is when the boys were still small. I wasn't feeling well and had stayed in bed. Next thing is Flynn got under the quilt and curled up against my belly. It was the first time he had done that and the memory of that little warm body against me is so vivid that my mind plays tricks on me and I can still feel that warmth. Hugs to you.

    1. Some cats are just too wonderful - too good - to let go of - ever. And it makes it even harder when one's life has been a bit ... complicated and somewhat lacking in such amazing gifts.

  12. the pain of losing my kitties that have passed is still present and i sometimes wonder if it is all worth it- but i can't imagine my life without a cat and I just have to remember that the joys really outweigh the pain. So sorry the pain is still so fresh- though it's natural. We are all thinking about you-especially amarula!

    1. I've wondered that too. Back when Bear had the lump in his back (2015 - right after we started our blog) - I couldn't see getting another cat ever if something happened to him. I've backed off that a bit now - but a heart can only take so much, right?

  13. Sweet Ellie...you have some big paws to fill but I know you're doing a good job trying to help your mama feel better. It's always so hard when you lose a 💙 pet but I promise you, one day it'll get better. Sending warm thoughts of comfort with a few butt wiggles from the Ranch hands.

    1. I have a big BUTT to fill, you mean? Because Bear's paws were as small as mine. ~Ellie Mae
      It's weird - I've thought a lot about Sam going through this. He had that rare quality - like Bear - that surpasses words. It's comforting to know how much I think of Sam because I hope it means our friends will think of Bear that often too. A bit selfish ... but true.

  14. Oh, Ellie, be patient with your mom. This is such a tough time for her.

    1. I am! That's why I caught a sparkle ball for her! Who doesn't smile at a sparkle ball? ~Ellie Mae

  15. Ellie, you are such a sweet cat to bring your momma that sparkle ball. Please keep watching over her for all of us. We're sending lots of hugs. Can you give your momma one from us?

    1. I did give Momma a hug for you. She says "thank you!" ~Ellie Mae


If you have trouble posting a comment, please let us know by e-mail: cats@mommakatandherbearcat.com. THANK YOU FOR STOPPING BY!