Here ya go.
Both comments and pings are currently closed.
That is so sad. I’m a major cat person and it always makes me want to cry when I hear of one passing away. Makes me grieve again about the other cats that have been in my life.
Rest in Peace Vanessa. Tell Misty, Dusty, Toby, and Jones that I still think of them.
As someone who all too recently had to say goodbye to her 23 year-old cat, this one brought me to tears.
I want to go home and hug my kitty now. Do think work would allow me to do that? Tell them I need a “kitty break”?
urg…I lost my companion of 15 years back in March, the day after my girlfriend left me.
I’m gonna miss that cat.
Oh hell. I’ve known that was coming for a while, but it still makes me weepy. I lost an 18-year-old diabetic cat a little over a year ago — even when you know they’ve had a long happy life, it’s tough to say goodbye. (Jaime R., I’m with you. I need a kitty break now!)
Bye, Vanessa. You were a good kitty. I’m glad you had a peaceful passing.
This is such a gorgeously quiet strip. The three wordless panels speak volumes. The cat’s angle perspectives are perfect.
Then Virginia, there in black silhouette at the end. The single cat setting off Mo and Sydney, as a couple. Wow.
We had to let go our 15 years old cat Medea yesterday night. She had already lost 80% of her lung capacity due to a tumor and was slowly suffocating. This strip is very tough to read for me at present…
so sad : (
I have to say, I do love seeing the tear coming from Syd’s eye and her arm around Mo at the end. Makes me like her, maybe. A little.
I think I’ll spoil my 18-year-old Siamese girl a little bit more today.
And I’ll try not to be annoyed by my 10-year-old diabetic orange male tabby.
I’m sitting here with tears streaming. I am such a animal person.
It’s perfect. It’s art.
Remember the post about silhouettes? Alison in black in front of a building, the cat in white at Alison’s feet ? Virginia at the end combines the two, watching.
My guy Gwydion went home around 4:00am, September 25th.
Projekt.com sells an album called “a cat-shaped hole in my heart”…
I’m glad you had a good life, Vanessa. Waaah.
Ya know, I just have to say, being on this blog for quite a while………lucking, reading, laughing, and now grieving. Seems Alison has a way to reflect many things in my life for the past few months…………it’s almost weird. Dealing with the death of my father in Septmeber was easier in ways than seeing Vanessa passing on now……..my two cats sitting next to me while I type this……..not sure what more to say other than letting folks know that Alison and her work has been a deep part of my life for so long………and it continues on. Sorry for rambling…..Alison, thank you.
Vanessa had a good life. It’s only right that there is someone there to mourn the loss of a life so precious. My sweet tomcat Cole passed on two weeks ago. It’s never an easy thing.
Tears and blessings….
When I read the new strip, I gasped out loud, “Oh no! Vanessa died!” I was crying, and my partner came up behind me, concerned and wondering, “Who’s Vanessa?” When she found out, she didn’t understand why I was so upset. “It’s a cartoon!” she said. “No, it’s THE cartoon!”, said I.
I’ve known and loved Virginia and Vanessa longer than I’ve known my own cats (or my girlfriend for that matter!). I knew this was gonna come, sooner or later, but that doesn’t make it any less mournful. I hope I didn’t hasten this by an earlier post I wrote inquiring about the age and health of Mo’s cats-(must say an act o’ contrition to get rid of the guilt!).
BTW, it’s nice to know Sydney really does have a heart, after all…
Have fun in your next life, Vanessa!
Here I am crying at work for a cartoon cat. Makes me think of the 16 and 18 year olds I had to sy goodbye to over the last couple of years — and the young ones who followed them, making their own determined ways into our hearts.
A great strip — I especially like the slight flicker in Virginia’s tale at the end, a quiet little reminder that life goes on!
Thank you so much for this gorgeous strip. I lost my beloved Isis many years ago and although I have two lovely cats now, it’s not the same. I’m going to love them up some extra today in celebration of Vanessa.
I was laughing because my Miss P has clearly been taking lessons from Virgina. And then I scrolled down. I’m off to tell Potchka how much I love her. We lost her brother, Hubble, to cancer two years ago and it stil hurts.
My partner and I are the nuts that have about 40 cats that we struggle to love and care for. We have them because our ex’s abandoned them to us to care for.
We have lost 6 cats in the past 3 weeks to health problems relating to inbreeding ( 3 were very small kittens, 2 were adults that had siezures. One of them died in my hands after a 20 minute grande mal seizure ) and there is a 7th that is losing ground as we speak also to uncontrolable seizures. This strip hit me like a bomb. It was exactly like how Firedancer went 2 weeks ago, the only one of the 6 to die quietly due to age and long illness. Exactly. We are grieving so…
Thankyou Allison. It hurts, but it somehow heals. Bless you.
Hannah and Cyn
It seems I can’t spell. I do know the difference between a tail and tale.
I have a cat that gives me the royal treatment just like Virginia every morning (and evening); otherwise she really can’t be bothered. I know, though, when the day comes, hopefully a long, long time from now, I will miss her to pieces. Great strip.
Bawling my eyes out. I’m so sorry to see Vanessa go. She has been with us for a long time.
I wish I were home with my cat just now.
Ay, this one is hard. It brings back the deaths of several of my cats, one of which happened about this time of year.
When my cat, Hilary, died (my partner was with her; I was off at work) and I finally got back home six hours later, her ears no longer stood up — they were flat down on her head, as though she were angry; I think the muscles no longer held them up. Vanessa reminds me too much of that moment.
On the more cheerful note, Virginia is my August cat incarnate. He licks my forehead (going for that invisible ‘M’) and then moves onto my eyelids.
As I read this with bleery eyes, Sophia has just jumped up on the computer printer to find out what is going on. Oh these fur babies.
The artwork is beautiful, and it’s nice to have the whole strip on one set of characters every once in a while. A slower, more in-depth pacing. Thank you for the woodgrain around the doors and the view of Mo’s butt from behind as she grieves. We don’t see enough non-sexualized images of women’s bodies, and we don’t see enough images that include the variety of shapes real women’s bodies take. I have always appreciated this about the strip.
I hope this helps Mo and Sydney with perspective. Maybe it will be a sort of “wake-up call” or “paradigm shift” for them.
I am trying not to think of my stepcats who are thousands of miles away in CA. But they are pretty young, tg.
It made me tear up…no words necessary.
Thank you for all the pleasure and joy you’ve given us, Vanessa.
I guess Virginia was waking her mothers up to come and see what happened.
I too read the first couple panels and giggled, because one of our cats, Bill, does almost the exact same thing every morning, only he weighs about 19 pounds and lately has decided to stomple us for breakfast at 5 a.m., thank you Bill. But the rest of the strip had me sniffling and crying. Losing a kitty is never easy, even if it’s a cartoon kitty.
(And now I think I have to go hug my non-cartoon kitties.)
That’s how I found Thomas- my Siamese Ragdoll. He was still alive though. He had torn down the stairs like he always did (chasing Taz), and had a heart attack. I was crying like a baby (like I am now, again) – because he didn’t make it. I still miss him so much.
this made me weep as well. hard. max and ruby, my two cats, have been my most constant companions for the last 10 years and i honestly live in fear of the day that one of them dies. as usual, AB, you have dignified an experience–in this case, the terrible grief caused by the death of a beloved pet—that doesn’t possess a proper place in modern life.
That is so sad. I too am a serious cat person, and have enjoyed the presence of V and V in the strip over the years. I appreciate the subtleties of their kitty-images, including their older cat fur (sticky-up in places) in the last couple of years.
Poor Mo. How long has she had the kitties anyway? I know it’s been a lot of years.
Thanks Alison, for a beautiful and sad episode, reflecting the importance of kitties in some of our lives. sniff.
I just went back into veterinary medicine and my best friend is about to put his Afghan Hound down. So this one is a tear jerker. But it’s part of life…
You’re one of few cartoonists who take your stories from real life. I feel like I’ve known these women for years. You’re amazing. Thank you for these awesome comics!
I am so glad that Mo and Sidney can come together again over their cat. It’s been a long time since they’ve united in any way. I’m sorry the cat had to die, but sometimes tragedy is the best tool for reconciliation.
The other amazing thing about this strip? For some reason, with this one, I suddenly see Sidney and Mo as (my age) middle-aged women, and not the overgrown young’uns they’ve always kind of seemed like to me. (Because that’s how I see myself, of course.) It’s the combination of sleepy/disheveled and sudden grief in their faces, but also just how they are together, and the sense of all those years of history Mo’s had with Virginia & Vanessa. (I mean, she’s had them forever!)
I’m home from work now, having come back to spend more time looking at this strip because I couldn’t look at it at work very long without getting teary. I have two youngster cats now, one who will be 5 in December and one who is a year and a half (and totally bonkers as young’uns always are). And I’m realizing that, for those of us who start out our adult lives by acquiring a cat or two, there is a certain “coming into middle age” that happens for us when those cats age and die. (For those of us who are lucky enough that our cats live good long lives, that is.) It seems like a cat-person rite of passage: I no longer have the cats I had when I was a young woman. It’s up there with losing one’s parents, I think, and I’m not saying that facetiously.
I hope that (after a suitable mourning period, of course!) Mo and Sidney will take in a couple of adorable, insane kittens. It would be so good for them, and for Virginia too.
I was just saying to my sweetie last week that it’s nice that even when the whole world’s going to hell in DTWOF, at least we always have Virginia and Vanessa. So if anyone asks, Viedma killed Vanessa, yep.
I love the way you draw them– they do things that all cat lovers recognize. I especially liked Virginia in this one. She knows what’s going on.
You’ve really been putting us through the ringer lately. I love them, they’re wonderful, but man, even in a Joyce Carol Oates novel the characters get to come out of the trough once in a while. I know how you feel though. It’s in the air. Maybe it’ll feel different in November.
Godspeed, little Vanessa. All of our little dearly departed feline goofnuts are on the welcoming committee with catnip and tuna treats.
Christ Almighty! That was heartbreaking!
That is so sad and it brings back memeories of our first cat James, who was killed while hunting, and he was 2 years old at the time. His little spirit hung around for a while but eventually moved on. That was over 10 years ago and our present cat, Danny, has been a wonderful companion for all that time. However, Danny’s head will perk up once in a while and look at a space, so I’m convinced James looks in on us occasionally.
*Hugs* to those missing their feline companions.
Heather a.k.a Madam CodXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Vanessa and/or Virginia appeared in the very first strip that featured Mo, “One Enchanted Evening,” way back in 1987. Two cats appeared in the same panel in the next strip, “Mo and Lo in…The Slump,” also dated 1987, clearly establishing that Mo had two cats. I’m not sure when they were first mentioned by name, but isn’t Mo’s mother’s name Virginia as well?
If Vanessa was one-year-old in ’87, she lived to 20. That’s a good life for a cat, though I wonder how Virginia will adjust. All this for a paper and ink cat. Powerful stuff.
Meanwhile, my flesh and blood cat, Bella, got extra wet food tonight.
I knew what was coming as soon as Sydney asked where Vanessa was and it still broke my heart.
I am definitely going to give my Maya and Bumble a few extra hugs and rubs before I fall off to sleep tonight. I have had them for ten and eight years respectively and they have been such a comfort to me over the years that I can’t imagine my life without them.
Rest in peace, sweet Vanessa.
My dog died a few years ago. I still sometimes have dreams about her. So many people take pets for granted, but really who could love us more?
Vanessa as in Bell, Virgina as in Woolf, I am sure many of us have imagined. What an elegaic title this strip… is that a literary reference? And still the ssubtly hilarious banter before the poetic pathos (8am for a course with that title?) I lost my cat so many years ago now, on All Souls Night. My sweet friend who helped take care of her and came with me to the vet to say goodbye then had to leave to do her (yes, late 1980s) women’s music radio show. I couldn’t drive right home, so sat in my parked car looking out at the moonlit lake and my dj friend played a dedication to our just-departed cat. I’ll never forget that kind gesture, though I can’t remember the song any more.
Its just a fucking cat.
Just Kidding…I just don’t like cats..sorry?
Sorry indeed, Carmen. It’s fine not to like cats, but it’s a completely different matter to dismiss the very real emotions of those of us who have loved and lost companion animals. When a beloved pet dies, the grief is very real, and it’s often exacerbated by comments by people who just don’t get it.
Carmen, I’m sorry that you’ve never experienced an animal’s love to the extent that other people here have. If you had, you would recognize the poignancy and pain that Alison has portrayed so artfully here, and you would respect the memories of grief that the strip has triggered in so many of us.
Thank you, Alison, for showing yet another truthful slice of love.
I think “Sleep’s Sister” (a reference to death, and here a nod to the fact that Vanessa and Virginia are sisters) is from The Blue Bird: A Fairy Play in Six Acts
by Maurice Maeterlinck.
NIGHT: That is Sleep’s sister…. It is better not to mention her name.
NIGHT: Because her name is not pleasant to hear….
Tahanks for that enlightenment, Ellen. These two have always had such complete cat & sister presence, around Alison’s drawing board to in some strips I think. It seems to me (given the rigor mortis mentioned) like Virginia’s already had her time to be with Vanessa and then leads the humans in. Even the tailflick has that knowing look. Siamese often have an extra edge to the spirit-being feline aspect to my eye, both aloof and uncannily connected… I wonder if Maeterlinck was ever quoted around the original Fun Home.
Straightforward, unalloyed emotion, free of the complications of tangled relationships. Simple love, simple grief…but simple doesn’t for a second mean easy.
I love you. You are more irreverent than I am. My girlfriend can’t tell me I’m the only cringe generator now. I saw the lesbo comedian,Kelli Dunham, not too long ago and she told a story about a woman who came to a glbt fundraiser wearing a fur coat. Yeah, real animal fur.
just how much hummus
would you have to eat…
directly out of your fanny pack
to get your lesbian card back after and incident like that?
Carmen, you best be ponying up to the fanny pack cause you got some repenting to do…lesbian indeed…I want proof! (and don’t try that take your clothes off and bend over line on me again! Scoundrel!)
The silent frames are so moving, the touching is so touching…. While on a completely other tack: interesting timing, to post this strip the day after Yom Kippur. The change of seasons and thoughts just edging to winter, and Vanessa then not inscribed in this year’s book of life. (When I was little I thought it was ‘Young Kipper’like kippered snacks; sort of a cat thing, an inscrutable non sequitur; who knew?)
Oh and before I get into trouble…
I think this strip was beautifully crafted, I love the way Mo and Sydney and their kitties are drawn, I like that Mo sleeps in her striped shirt and her underwear, I don’t wear fur, I don’t eat animals and I live with a cat that sleeps on people’s heads and I love her very much.
Carmen, girl, ya just can’t joke about things like this while you’re in “Dyke World”! It’s bad for the chi…
Remember when Digger died? I still smart from that one. And Ginger never did get another dog…
And as far as grieving over animal friends (fictional or otherwise)When I come home at night, my family might not be exactly happy to see me, but my pets ALWAYS are!
Re Ellen O’s comment: I believe there is a wonderful novel (the name of which escapes me) by Peter Dickinson which refers to “Sleep is the brother of Death.” I thought this was Alison’s reference, cleverly changed to reflect the sex of Mo’s cats.
And very parenthetically I once made an etching titled “Sleep and His Brother.”
OK I checked and the novel is in fact titled “Sleep and His Brother.” So perhaps it was Dickinson who twisted it to the opposite sex from the Maeterlinck reference. But clearly Alison is making it.
Way to go with the foreshadowing, Alison. I knew from that first panel with just Virginia poking at them that something was wrong with Vanessa.
I’m going to go hug my cats now.
Whoa, Aunt Soozie (or your gf….whoever said the “I want proof” line), I know this may come as a shock, but not all queer girls are obsessed with cats!!!
I, for one, don’t really like them at all…..
That said, though, I generally love animals and the death of one (even a fictional one) that I’ve known is a very, very sad thing.
And Alison, it is incredibly drawn. Very evocative and emotional without being over the top. The subtle differences in Mo’s and Sydney’s expressions are astounding!
So so sad. We lost our “Beast” who was with us for 19 years this spring.
Awh. What a gorgeous strip — hard to read.
I’m glad I read this today, rather than yesterday. Had a cat at the vet, getting a workup done before her hyperthyroid treatment, and had a scare that fortunately turned out to be nothing.
Oh Alison… why’d you have to kill off one of the kitties? 🙁 It is sooo sad! I had to explain to one of my coworkers why I was crying over a comic strip. I got the “Aren’t comics supposed to be funny?” reply. Does anyone else get that question about when they tell people DTWOF?
Actually, it’s Vanessa and Virginia *Stephen* … they were sisters. Bell and Woolf were of course their married names.
No. No, this did not happen.
I love it that in the first couple of panels they know, even with their eyes squinted shut, which of the two identical siamese cats it is. I can tell in my sleep which of my two cats has gotten on the bed with me, by where and how they jumped up.
What’s weird is I didn’t give a crap when Digger died but felt genuine shock and upset when I saw the wee kitty lying on the floor, all stiff.
Is that because I hate dogs?
well, you did warn us way back in 2003 that the cats were getting on a bit. still sad though 🙁
but what will it do for mo and sydneys relationship?
Ummm…I think I like ants.
My little Siamese, Gjetost, wondered what was wrong with me yesterday when I kept picking her up and holding her close to me all day and on through the night whenever I woke up. Her grey brother Norton and black lab sister Candy also have been getting the excessive-cuddling treatment ever since I read the strip I’d been expecting and dreading.
May Vanessa and all the furry late loves of our lives she represents rest in peace.
Thank you, Alison Bechdel, for expressing the inexpressible with quiet dignity and your usual artistic brilliance.
Very moving, and I don’t even like cats. (Major allergies.)
By the way, Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell were not only sisters, but were lovers as well.
I also love being able to see what sort of furnishings are in Mo and Syd’s home. Did anyone notice that the last 5 panels look like they could be from Vanessa’s perspective if she were “watching over” her sister, Mo and Sydney? I think they all could actually, but the last 5 especially. I don’t know if Alison did that intenttionally, but it struck me as being really a cool way of looking at the strip as well.
Deb, when I read the strip that was my first thought other than, “Oh, no! Not now!” Alison drew the panels as though the reader is sitting on the kitchen floor too, and it just pulls you in with the POV of Virginia. I put my 21 year old beast to sleep this February, right before I moved. Had given her daily subcutaneous injections for her kidney failure for over a year and a half, and it was just time for her to go without suffering through a cross-country trip. The vet was amazed that she lived that long, but love does incredible things.
“When I was little I thought it was ‘Young Kipper’like kippered snacks; sort of a cat thing, an inscrutable non sequitur; who knew?”
I think everything that’s happening in the strip means that things are getting worse before they get better… if bad things happen in threes, (and we already had Toni and Clarice’s break up right before this) then what’s next?
(I can’t start on the subject of pets dying without crying buckets, so I’m not even gonna try to comment on that right now)
that last panel is just breaking my heart.
Is it just me, or are there shades of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman Comics in this episode?
It’s not just the recognition of Death as “sleep’s sister”. It’s the reference to “Disorder, Degeneracy and Deviance”, like they’re members of the Endless – are Destruction, Despair and Delirium likely candidates for these monikers?
(Sarcasm, through tears) Thanks, Alison.
Um, I hate to hijack, and I don’t mean to lecture, but… Hannah and Cyn, you have *40* cats, and you lost three kittens very recently due to health problems from inbreeding? If that means that the inbred kittens were conceived by cats in your care, that’s not good at all.
Please, please, please, if you’re going to have that many cats (or ANY number of cats, for that matter), have them spayed or neutered. If the cost is prohibitive, maybe you can work something out with your local humane society or a vet in the area to do it for free or a reduced price, but it’s the right thing to do and it’ll save you from going through the pain of having kittens that only die because they’re inbred.
Again, sorry to lecture, but please get those cats fixed if you haven’t already.
In our area, you can get a voucher from the Humane Society that gives you a spay or neuter for $25 off…………..and the price is $38……..pretty good deal! I have taken advantage of that for both my babies.
You mean you like Aunts…right?
and hey, did you get my recent emails or are we being censored by either your gov’t or mine? Just checking, cause there’s some pretty raucous chicks that read this blog and I’m sure they’ll get annoyed about people not being able to communicate with one another just cause their political leaders can’t get along. Geez.
this one is pretty sad, but having read the strips about digger’s death many, many times, i still cry over those when i read them.
I keep looking back at it, and I realise that you’ve signalled the state of Mo and Sydney’s relationship. They are wearing clothes in bed. I hate to say this, but it’s not a good sign.
Nawwwwwwwwwwwwww………..it’s ok to wear clothes in bed with your partner and it doesn’t mean the relationship is doomed…….they are fun to take off!
“…There live the children of dark Night, dread gods, Sleep and his brother Death…” Hesiod’s Theogony, lines 758-9
I’ve just been reading Hesiod, so the line was easy to find. Yes, I know I’m weird to read Hesiod for fun, but he’s actually pretty easy going after Thucydides.
I was devastated when my first Russian Blue, Grigio, died. He was such a special cat that it took two cats to replace him, Illya and Boris. Illya, another Russian Blue, was only nine when he died. Boris, a big grey-and-white shelter kitty, is still going strong, and is a face-licker just like Virginia. My very first cat, a Siamese named Si-Cat, lived to be almost Vanessa’s age, so I expect that of all my cats, though none has yet made it. Here’s hoping for another ten years with Boris.
Farewell, Vanessa! Backgrounds won’t be the same without you.
Since you posted this cartoon, all over the world people are spoiling their cats.
Great strip! So sad to lose a little friend.
Interesting that it was posted on the feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals.
Gah! You post this on the 3rd, and on the afternoon of the 4th one of our ferrets died. My roommate (who actually owned him) found him very much as Sydney did when she came home.
God! I want happy Dykes! No more death. No more GWB. No more infidelity. I want the bookstore back. I want everyone to lose the lines under their eyes.
Episode 500 is coming up. Can we have something happy then?
Geez Louise! First Bergie the loyal pup over at Venus Envy is hit by a car (we think- not sure how he died yet), now this! Come on, comics creators! I’m just about cried out for comics critters! Let’s have some joy for a while, please?
BTW, beautiful strip. Wonderfully paced.
Alison, when you were in St. Louis, one of questions I wanted to ask, but didn’t really feel was exactly appropo was “so many of us think we know you, but really, what if the main thing on your mind is the recent loss of your cat?” How do you get through a book tour if something like that has happened. Somehow the subject just couldn’t really be brought up, by me that night or I suppose by you, ever, unless it’s in the strip.
Thanks as ever for your unerring drive through the truth. In case someone hasn’t noticed, it ain’t pretty out there right now, and the authenticity of the strip would be lost without all this muck in our lives being reflected back(and beautifully i might add).
I’ll say a prayer that Vanessa is with my best buddy, George, who died of cancer on April 24th, 2 wks. before his 12 birthday. He was the only pet I’ve ever had.
FYI, re: “By the way, Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell were not only sisters, but were lovers as well.” Sorry, but that’s not accurate. Perhaps you’re thinking of the scene in the movie based on The Hours, in which Woolf kissed Bell. A powerful, symbolic moment in this fictional story (as were the other notable kisses in the tale — much as one in Mrs. Dalloway), but not meant to suggest that these particular characters or the real sisters were lovers.
I didn’t see The Hours, actually. I read this somewhere over the years– can’t recall where.
Bye bye cartoon kitty.
I too, immediately thought of Neil Gaiman’s “Sandman” charecters, in which Death is the sister or Dream (or sleep)
The older references are obvious, but one wonders how many other graphic novels A.B. reads.
Count me in with Alex the Bold — I miss whimsy, or even backing action with some joy in it. Where is the music? Any sort of bacchanal, friendliness, or humor? Why is there a universal epidemic of jaded certitude? Why don’t any of these still-relatively-new parents seem to like or enjoy their children?
I enjoy the new gen coming up, but even they don’t seem cheerful at any time, or share grace notes, or playfulness. Has Rafael even met Janis? I rarely see people hanging out any more, or talking (again, unless there is some bitter, half-lidded remark to make.) Most teams have a booster of some sort; most groups have alliances that shift or change. Where is the dynamic?
I’m not bitching, but I can’t convey the right tone right now; I’m so sad about Vanessa, and my own poor Prince Fishkin. Things fall apart, but the center is in a holding pattern. I don’t want a Chekovian sense of the static, punctuated by tragedy! At least not all the time. How about some Dickens Ex Machina? Something!
In re Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell–maybe Al is thinking of the fact that Woolf’s lover also had a “V” name, Vita Sackville-West. Vita and Virginia were lovers, Vanessa and Virginia were sisters.
I have loved the images of the cats in the strips all these years. I love it when they’re washing themselves and look like big, slumped marshmallows with sooty ears and paws.
I miss my Tuna-girl. She’d always wake me up by staring at me. Sad about dead kitties.
Anonymous: Hey, I wear clothes to bed, and always have! Like, what if there’s a fire?
Still sanely in LOVE (but PREPARED!)
Ah, Ms. Bechdel, you are a genius with a pen. I have loved Virginia and Vanessa as long as they’ve been around, and always look especially for them in the strip. Thank you for staying so true.
Argh. This is not a good couple of weeks for me as far as webcomic pets go 🙁 First Zoe (Venus Envy) loses her dog, and now this.
This is really sad, but also very real-First Walter fell off the table of a heart attack, & I found his brother Dill cold & stiff one morning….ya know, I was hoping this was not gonna happen….*sniffle*
the seal pointer sisters are the only cats I’m not allergic to. It’s been real, Miss V.
Wonderful strip about the “everyday”.
I’m pretty sure Emily Dickinson brings up the final couplet, but I couldn’t find that poem on the Internet.
For a Dead Kitten (by Sara Henderson Hay)
Put the rubber mouse away,
Pick the spools up from the floor,
What was velvet shod, and gay,
Will not want them, any more.
What was warm, is strangely cold.
Whence dissolved the little breath?
How could this small body hold
So immense a thing as Death?
Good thought, Bluestocking! Was that it, Al?
Did you ever live in an older, underheated house in the upper Midwest in the fall? Trust me, the clothes are a necessity 🙂
I may be in Oregon, but I remember 1980’s St. Paul winters!
Carmen, Carmen, Carmen. It’s not that it’s a fucking cat. We cat people love our cats and we are indeed devastated when they die. I’ve been there myself 4 times in my life. No cats at the moment, but will be having to cope with a dying dog pretty soon. It’s a sad thing to go through. No, it’s not that it’s a fucking cat.
It’s that it’s a CARTOON CAT in a COMIC STRIP for cryin’ out loud! A timely, witty, beautifully-drawn comic strip, indeed; but worth crying over? Hell no. Sheesh.
Hmm…Siamese Cats…every time I see cats, I think of those little evil shits in that movie Lady and the Tramp…Mr. Jinx, in Meet the Parents…Cat Woman with Halle Berry.
I will not jump on the bandwagon…because Bechdel (might) love cats….and the rest of the Lesbian World on this site..are friggin PETA supporters. A cat is just that…a bloody cat..now ants are quite interesting…
But then again..I hate cats, kids, old folks…young folks…fence painting lesbians and the like…
What! Si and Am were “evil shits”? They were WAY cool. They gave Miss Goody Four Shoes a long-overdue reality check. Definitely my favorite characters in that movie (with the rat, of course, as a close second).
Somewhere I have a mouse pad with Vanessa and Virginia playing with the computer mouse (dangling off the computer table, which they clearly have knocked over), and someone helping Mo at her computer (a Mac Plus or Mac Classic), saying: ‘I think the problem with your computer is cat fur in the floppy drive,’ or words to that effect. That dates the cats’ presence.
Have you never been moved to tears by a fiction before? Why does it matter that they’re cartoon cats?
Strangely enough, Mo and Sidney–and all of the DTWOF characters–have become awfully real to me–despite the fact that they’re fictional. They’re so much like people that I actually know–so much like me, in fact–that they feel real to me. And I sense how much Mo has loved her cats over the years–just as I’ve loved my cats. I’ve lost two cats now–and I have one surviving 18-year-old cat that I’m bound to lose sometime soon. It’s a very painful thing losing an 15+ year companion. Vanessa has been part of Mo’s life for practically the entire time she’s been an adult. I know how much she’ll grieve.
Plus, the strip is just beautifully done and very moving. Is it really so surprising that some people would be moved to tears by it?
Have I ever been moved to tears by a fiction before?
No, never. Fiction is fiction is fiction, and while I appreciate that the strip is indeed beautifully done, moving, on target, etc etc – THAT’s what I see when I read the strip. “Nice how Alison’s drawn this.. interestesting theme… good point… great strip…” and so on. Why would I cry over that?
And I didn’t mean to denigrate the art of cartooning per se. Sorry if it seemed that way. I’d have the same reaction to any work of fiction.
I’m the same with a book, film, or play. I most definitely appreciate the acting, the staging, the writing, the emotion, the intelligence that goes into them but I’m always aware that it’s fiction. Excellent fiction, perhaps, but fiction – not reality. I cry for what’s real.
So, yes, to answer your question, it does surprise me that people were moved to tears.
Plus, I just thought that Carmen’s rather different take on it all was interesting, but totally missed the point!
“I cry for what’s real.” I feel so bad for you ragthetiger….there is so much out there that touches on those things that are not steeped in reality 24/7. Spirituality, emotional, psychological, mental, fantasy, daydreams, wishes, hopes……..etc. Remaining so grounded in reality all the time seems to me to be a very narrow and boring place to live. To be able to have our minds take a leap out of itself and into a world of imagination is what makes us so unique as a species……and to be able to emote from that world we create is so important to mental health and well-being. It’s our humanness that makes us unique and special. As a therapist, I see the ability to emote healthy emotions from a cartoon strip such as #496 as a barometer for intact mental health…..just a small piece……but it’s an important piece!
Not sure why my post came up as anon. Never has before.
I live in the UK. I know winters.
But Mo and Sydney *used* to sleep nekkid.
What really got me is that *Sydney* cries.
Deb – thanks for the laugh!
Deb– thanks for your insight, clarity, humanity.
“Reality” shows and confessional memoir, so often manipulated schlock, have little to say about “what’s real,” let alone larger truths.
Or as E.L. Doctorow said, “People know that novelists are liars. And that’s why we can be trusted to tell the truth.”
ragthetiger: Like I said before:BAD FOR THE CHI!
Alex: That was a lovely poem…
Chi? fuhgeddaboudit. Here in Joisey (what exit?) we don’t know from no chi. Well, gotta go to the mall, or maybe the diner.
Eh, whaddayagonnado. Peace out!
Keepin it real…
Enjoy Kitty Heaven, Vanessa. (P.S. Give Mo a break..she’s been through a lot; esp. having partnered w/Syndey.)
AW, Alison. Renita died about two weeks ago, and I want to hug Mo and Sydney too. To all the bereft cat lovers out there, I’ll sned you love from Angel, my 83-year old puss sitting here in a draawer of our computer desk. St Jerome’s too asleep to care..but I do.
What, yagotta problem wid it?
Actually I didn’t go to either the mall or a diner. I sat on the porch with the Times crossword and the dying dog, and engaged in the third most popular New Jersey occupation – feeding the mosquitoes.
something else to consider:
The cat was found in the rigor mortis stage. Death occurred a few hours prior to the discovery of the body. Mo and Sid appear partially clothed. Could it have been during the heat of passion earlier that night when the cat let out her last gasp? Could it be the type of plot twist where Mo is unable to ever *participate* without having some type of guilt caused by climaxing at the time her cat died? This could get very complicated.
aimes…you need a checkup from the neck up.
No,I’m only kidding…nobody needs to freak out here.
Also, those people who said they had 40 cats…?
That was a joke, a lesbian parody, right?
The strip just breaks my heart. The girls have been there from the beginning. I knew it was probably coming but to see it…I have to go hug my kitties.
One of the best strips I have seen for a while now, where we see that there is more to DTWOF than all the political and transgender stuff. I’m a major cat (& DTWOF) person and love my two cats, Figaro & Holly, with all my heart.
This strip has made me so sad and yet in awe of how brilliant Alison has drawn it. So quiet, so simple, so sad, and something any cat lover can identify with. The whole strip you can just imagine playing in your head in animated motion. The last frame was brilliant – so good to see Mo & Sydney loving and comforting each other for a change, instead of the bickering and squabbling and sarcasm, when here we see that these two do love each other and have put all the negativities aside to grieve for Vanessa.
R.I.P. Vanessa, you will be sorely missed. Say hi to Athena, my beautiful Persian who died a few years ago.
In real life, Jeanette Winterson’s cat has died:
I thought the touching and/or depressing effect was ever so slightly dulled by Virginia not seeming particularly affected by her sister’s death. I mean, okay, no one expects a gravesite breakdown scene from a cat, but her non-reaction (she went to wake up Mo and Sydney, but she didn’t seem, I don’t know, “frantic” about it) feeds into the stereotype that cats don’t care about anything but themselves, which just isn’t true. Then again, although I like cats, I haven’t had one as a pet for years, so maybe her reaction was too subtle for me.
Anonny Mouse, at first I agreed with you. But Deb and Ellen O both commented on the panels seen from the cat’s perspective. I think this was Alison’s way of showing that Virginia was affected. It was subtle; but cats’ reactions ARE subtle. I thought this was an excellent way to show that.
I see what you mean. As I was typing the earlier post, I realized “wait, maybe it’s there and I’m just missing it.” I’ve never had a pet react to the death of another, so in retrospect I wasn’t sure what to look for. I don’t know how a cat’s mind works. But who does? Plus in depicting animal emotions, it’s too easy to go overboard, so understatement seems like the way to go.
I read somewhere (Abb Landers? Dear Annie?) that if an animal can SEE that a fellow animal is dead, he/she will try to wake it up, realize it’s dead, then mourn and “get over it” eventually without dwelling on it. It’s only if the other animal “disappears” (gets buried etc.) without apparent cause that they get upset. That’s what I read, anyway. I guess Virginia mourned, then waited until she’d gotten herself together again to wake up M&S.
Looking carefully at panels 2 and 3, I can see the movement lines as Virginia whips round to wake up Mo, and then whips back to Sydney again. Looks like a cat on a mission to me.
I remember when the first of of my family’s cats died (or had to be taken to the vet to be put down), and our other cat walking round the house looking for him. Watching that was almost sadder than losing our first cat.
Even sadder for Mo and Sydney that Virginia probably won’t last a lot longer either. But it’s nice to see them supporting each other over it after so many months of agro. The last panel is interesting in the way Virginia and Mo’s bodies seem to echo one another too.
Hi from the house of 40 cats again…
No-o-o, it’s not a metaphor or a joke. *sigh* Forty of them…actually a few less with the recent losses.
For those who are wondering why my cats havent been fixed, please understand that you are preaching to the choir! We have been struggling with this for about 3 years now and we are finally almost home free…we have one full male left to fix, about 4 adult females and a few random juvies who arent old enough to fix yet. I am aware of animal allies and get their lowest discout of 38.00 for females and 25.00 for males. ( Took 10 cats at one go ’round to a neuter-a-thon clinic last summer! )
I had unfixed cats and breeding due to the fact that my ex partner from 3-4 years ago was into cat adoption AND had a uncontrolable spending habit…hundreds of dollars went to walmart and out to dinner while we fought to keep the electricity on. I would make an appointment to get a cat fixed, and then the ex would come home having spent–suprise!!–180.00 at the store that day ( everything on sale of course! ) and then I would be back on the phone in a panic canceling the vet appt., and praying I would get my next check before the power got turned off. Needless to say, I am no longer with my ex!
However she left me holding the bag with about 20 something cats…Cyn, my wife, also brought about 20 with her when we got together: she had them abandoned to her by HER ex too! ( Fortunately, her ex did take the damn 8 foot ball python!!! ) Cyn’s cats however were fixed. Mine were unfortunately happily multiplying and subdividing! And quarantining cats by gender never works quite as well as one would hope!
So now that Cyn and I are together, we have been slowly but surely getting them fixed as fast as we can…which hasn’t been near fast enough. We were both out of work when we got together and Cyn is still our sole bread winner as I have been out of work for awhile ( health problems ) To give you an idea, it was only this year that we could afford to pay the reduced animal allies rates! We are taking about 1 – 2 cats a month now to be spayed or neutered. By the end of the year, we will be at the end of the problem.
I am all for spay and neuter control and it breaks my heart how my ex’s carelessness and my own finances have caused my cats so much struggle and pain! I do my best to give them good loving care and to be a responsible pet owner while I have them.
I will be relieved when time takes the population down to something sane, but every one I have lost or will lose breaks my heart.
Blessings to all!
also have one dog ( mixed breed ) who probably has a case of species confusion, and considers himself a cat now! I expect him to anounce that he is transitioning DTC ( dog to cat ) any day now!
About 18 years ago, I held Cactus, one of my 2 cats as she died in my arms. It was horribly heart breaking, and she suffered (I had not expected that because it happened very quickly).
While Cactus was dying, my kitten, Doc, stood by the whole time. The very minute that Cuctus died, Doc started chasing something like a cat with a mission. It was creepy. Doc kept jumping and climbing higher on the furniture to get at it. When got to the highest point on a chair, he just sat there looking up for a long time.
Hey for all I know he saw a moth, but I swear I did not see anything, and the timing was odd.
Did someone earlier say they had a Siamese Ragdoll? Aren’t the the BEST! I had one for a little over 20 tears-butt-ugly as a kitten, but he blossomed in his aduthood to one good-lookin’ guy. Smart, affectionate and intelligent(he could fetch!)they are truly the “golden retriever” of the cat world.Even after all these years, I still miss that damn cat…
shadocat: I had a half-Siamese (half Turkish Van??) that was the oddest, weirdest, smartest, best cat I’ve ever met. No, oddest, weirdest, smartest, best animal I’ve ever met. I loved all my cats but he.. well… I once heard that among people who’ve had a lot of animals in their lives, there’s always one that stands out. He was definitely “the one” in my life. Sounds like your Siamese Ragdoll was “the one” in yours.
zetgeist: wow – what an experience! How sad about Cactus (but at least she was with you when she died). But what Doc did – whew.
Hannah: “…my wife, also brought about 20 with her when we got together: she had them abandoned to her by HER ex too! ( Fortunately, her ex did take the damn 8 foot ball python!!! )”
A BALL PYTHON?!??
In a house with 20 cats?!? Wow, not a good combo.
Im impressed so many survived that houseshare!!!
Hannah, I would love to have a cup of coffee at your place! Sounds like it would be fun to watch the antics of all those critters!
Hi Elaine and Deb…
Yeah…ball python. Named Thoth. Mean as shit too. Cyn’s ex Jeremy ( she figured out she was a lesbian finally, Jeremy was the last guy in her life and he was a psycho by proffesional mental health standards, god help her! )aquired the snake and over-fed him which contributed to the snake’s size. Cyn sweated bullets that Thoth might at some point escape his terarium and have a cat snack. However he never did. Cyn also had, because Jeremy had this thing for exotic pets, 2 bearded dragons, 3 gekkos, 4 tree frogs, 4 tarantulas, 3 turtles( all which ate crickets and made the apartment sound like a rain forest which was kinda cool actually ), the aforementioned 20 cats, and 2 dogs. Visiting them was, pardon the expression, a zoo! Cyn and I were friend for 6 years before we suddenly realized that maybe we had been in love for quite awhile…
When Cyn and I moved in together she had the cats, 2 remaining gekkos, and one of the dogs. ( her dog passed away 2 and 1/2 years ago from old age), one gekko escaped and may still turn up, you never know. But we lost the last gekko a few weeks ago to one of our cats who decided it was a snack and turned the very heavy terariam on end to get it. *sigh*
As for visitors, our friends fall into two categories; a) those that are charmed by all the cats and enjoy watching the little furballs, and b) those that are horrified by the mewing throng and avoid coming to our house like the plague. It doesnt help that all 40 or so of them are VERY people friendly, and attempt to pile, all at once, into any available lap going ” Pet me NOW!” It can be a little over whelming! But anyone who wants to visit is more than welcome…we try to appraise them of the hazard up front!*grin*
LOL Thanks for the heads-up. The whole thing sounds just fine to me except for the tarantulas…………huh, no way! I can handle any other kind of animal but spiders….they just creep me out. I have tried to get over this enculturated phobia, but it just hangs on. Glad she let her X keep those! Now snakes are pretty awesome actually. Some of them are stunningly beautiful. Sounds like you have a very interesting home!
Deb, may I recommend “The Lady and the Spider” by Faith McNulty? It’s probably no longer in print but you might be able to find it in the kids’ section of your library.
That was very sweet and nice and real. Those kitty characters must be 20 years old, which is about right for Siamese cats, bless their furry hearts. I like how Sydney was moved to tears by the little one’s death. I recall she was very allergic when she first moved in.
It was very dear and so well done. The sadder thing, of course, is that the second cat only has a year or two, herself.
ragthetiger, I will check it out. Any particular reason for recommending it?
I don’t usually post–just lurk. However, this one was so reminiscent of my experience with my own cat last year that I felt compelled to post. Jigga also died in his sleep–we (my daughter and I) found him the next morning in much the same way Sidney and Mo did. I couldn’t handle it, and had to call my partner home, from where she was volunteering at the animal shelter, to come take care of things. It’s been just a little over a year since he died. How timely for this strip.
Deb – it’s a very short children’s book that doesn’t take two minutes to get through, but I can’t see how anyone can read it and still be creeped out by spiders (I kind of like spiders myself so maybe I’m a bit prejudiced).
oh, god. that is difficult. i cried on seeing Mo touch Vanessa and ask “kitty?” there’s something so sad and child-like about her grief in that panel. losing anyone is never easy, and you’ve managed to express this beautifully and heart-breakingly. thank you, Alison.
Ai yi yi.
My partner came with 3 cats, years ago. One was a controlled diabetic for more than 10 years (I’m a whole lot less nervous about needles now!). They have all died now. The last 2 died at home while we were holding them (our vet was closed @ 2 in the morning, and we decided it would only make things worse to drive them to the late night vet when the cats were clearly both ready to die and reasonably comfortable about the situation). I learned a whole lot about life — and death — watching our cats. I hope I can die as well as they did.
Good bye, Vanessa.
Doesn’t anyone think it’s odd she just died on the floor? I’m not a cat person, but when we were little my sister had one. She died the traditional way (by a car) but her parents and sisters died like cats do, I always thought, by going somewhere quiet and dark and simply, disapearing. Like when they have a litter.
I always thought Mo would wake up to simply find her gone one day, then maybe later discover her in a pot plant or something. This seems so, bare.
thoughtful and sad .
*wiping away a tear*
Blue, I had a diabetic cat that died very much like Vanessa. And my niece’s cat looked like she was asleep on the floor when they found her. Sometimes they just go to sleep and don’t wake up, or maybe don’t have the energy to go off somewhere. Or would rather be near their people than go and hide, I don’t know. Actually I’ve never had a cat that went away to hide when it was sick… they’d either cry for attention, or stick close, or hunker down in the bathroom on the cool tile floor. But I guess they’re all different.
Thanks ragthetiger, I re-read my post and it sounds entirely insensitive – but really I was just curious. Is it possible that one of Bechdel’s own cats has died? If so, I do hope my last post did not offend. Pets, cats or dogs, are companions – and to lose a companion is as tragic as losing any loved one.
Blue, I don’t think there was anything at all insensitive or offensive in your post! You shared an opinion and asked a question. Nothing wrong with that!
Cat, dog, it doesn’t matter – what matters is how they love us and how we love them. My heart broke when I had to put down my sweet girl at 13 years old – a Rottweiler/Shepherd mix. The love we share with our animals is something that no human can give us.
“You get to loving them so much. And then they rush through their little, short lives and leave you to deal with it.” – Ouida Sebestyen
The loss of a beloved animal creates a unique pain that the loss of a beloved human does not – not greater, but not lesser, either.
Blessed be the Kitties and Pupdogs.
And now dear Liliane’s Muesli has passed!
I just used up several tissues and now my eyes are all puffy for the rest of the day! : (
RIP, Van. >^^
My kitty of 21 years who I was blessed to know from the day he was born in the born on my parent’s property. At nine years old I picked him out–the only black and white from a litter of several–and now at thirty I still remember what he felt like as a newborn kitten. Bye Fuzz Cat.
ARGH! I only just discovered all my favourite dykes are actually online to read, and this was the first episode I read….*bawls her eyes out*
I’m such a cat person, and this just…touched me. I needed several tissues as well. And yes, Sydney gained a whole level of likeabilty for me with that…
we have ten cats and it took us a while to get them all fixed…they’re the remainder of one mother and several litters…she just decided one day to adopt us. As she was (and still is) half-feral, it took us a long time to get her neutered. (Not to speak on the darned money we spend on the cats each month…)We used to have fifteen, but sadly, one died of old age, one of cancer, my little sweetheart Tinker got run over by a car in front of our house, one of the little ones got FIP and died, and one died of pneumonia because she flatly refused to keep any medicine inside her (stubborn little thing- even the vet couldn’t do anything about it) You’re not the only person with many cats!
My 9-month old tabby Jake succumbed to a congenital heart defect at 1:10 am in March. Reading this strip made me cry for him all over again. I miss my Jakercat.
I only just yesterday discovered this site (I’ve collected the books for years), and this strip just… wow.
I came home late one night, about four years ago, to this. But my little Fiona (who was my very first kitty, btw) wasn’t dead yet. Those pathetic, weak little mews… I can still hear them. It was three in the morning, and I was crying so hard I could barely see to drive to the emergency vet’s office a mile away.
I had to have her put to sleep the next morning; they did everything they could for her, but she was just too sick.
That panel up there, where Sydney see’s Vanessa’s little body… wow, I’m crying so hard ~now~ I can barely see to type.
du bist blöd und so und ihr seid alle richtig scheisse
I did a google image search for Mrs. Dalloway. I didnt expect THIS! how sad.
This one just breaks my heart. I’m very closely bonded to my cats and reading this makes me value the time I have with them.
I love how Virginia wakes up her humans to let them know what’s happened.
copyright Alison Bechdel 2001-2017
website design by Thoughtfaucet