losing harper

This picture of Harper was taken over three years ago when we were still living in Chicago. I have so many pictures of Harper over the last six years (yes, I was a little bit of a crazy cat lady for awhile), but this one really captures the light she brought into my life. It was the first picture that popped up when I was searching for a photo to post to Instagram Monday night after we had to put her down.

It's strange that losing a cat feels like I've lost a part of myself. Harper's passing closes a significant chapter in my life. She was the last connection and surviving remnant of my life as a single lady. I'm not the same girl that I was when I adopted her over six years ago.

Now I'm a wife and a stepmom. I'm a fur mama to Zoey. I own a house in Albuquerque and two cars with my husband. I have my master's degree. On Monday I turn 30. Life looks completely different than it did on that day in October 2011 when I brought Harper home.

After living in Chicago for about a month, I decided it was time to add a furry companion to my studio apartment. I would have loved to have gotten a dog but my work schedule combined with grad school and living alone didn't allow for it. For me, a cat seemed like the next best thing.

When I arrived at the Anti-Cruelty Shelter in downtown Chicago, Harper was in a cage on the back wall of the cat room. Her name was "Wobbles" and it wasn't until I got her home that her name took on real meaning.

I walked by her cage and she started to meow and paw at me. It seemed like a good sign so I had one of the volunteers take her out for me. The volunteer told me she had only been out on the adoption floor for a few hours. I looked at a few more cats but "Wobbles" had stolen my heart and I decided to take her home.

I chose the name Harper because David and Victoria Beckham had just had their daughter and named her Harper. I'm not a fan or follower of the Beckhams at all. But I loved the name Harper, so that's what I decided to call my new kitty.

As soon as we got to my apartment and I let Harper out of her box, she ran into the bathroom and found a small, hidden hole in the wall behind my bathtub. It'd been less than 2 minutes and I'd already lost my cat! Luckily, she came back out on her own. There was no way my hand could have fit in the space to pull her out.

We got acquainted over the next few weeks and I adjusted to having a living thing in my apartment with me. During that first week I wasn't so sure if I'd made the right decisions to get a cat. When I took Harper in for her well-check, the vet diagnosed her with Cerebellar Hyperplasia (CH). The condition does not impact life expectancy but CH cats are identified by their "drunken sailor" or "wobbly cat" walk and overall struggles with mobility. There was a reason the shelter named her Wobbles after all!

My little special needs kitty was the sweetest girl you'd ever meet. Her wobbly gait and frequent aborted launches were the source of much joy and laughter among myself and my family and friends. Harper captured the heart of everyone she met--even non-cat people loved her.

I knew my husband really loved me when he agreed to let Harper come live with us in Albuquerque. Seeing him cry for the very first time when we put her down on Monday was both heartbreaking and comforting all at the same time.

We won't be getting another cat and honestly, no cat could ever replace Harper. She was one-of-a-kind. She was there for me when I was completely alone. I couldn't have gotten through grad school, my 20s, or my time as a single girl without her.

I loved Harper more than I knew I could. I am so grateful that I was able to give her a good home and have her love and companionship in my life. She'll always be my little baby muffin.


  1. I'll miss her too... even as someone who doesn't like cats :) She really was the sweetest. Sending you peace and love.

  2. I had no idea. I'm so sorry. She was a sweet cat. Glad I met her.