Julia, R.I.P.

January 5th, 2007 | Uncategorized

julia in drawing position

My beloved cat Julia, my constant companion, the small sun I’ve been orbiting for the past eighteen years, died on January 3rd.

bowl fulla Julia

I’ve been going through my vast photo archives in order to collect all her pictures in one place. It’s been strange and intense poring over this visual record of my life, sort of like watching a very fast-forwarded video of everything I’ve ever done. I guess the most striking thing is that by far the majority of the photos are work shots—the reference pictures I take of myself posing for drawings. So I’ve been watching not just my real life unfold, but Fun Home evolve, and the DTWOF characters’ lives progress.

But the funny thing about the work photos is that in some of them, Julia just happens to be in the frame. Passing through, or interacting with me, or sleeping.

So I’ve made a little movie of these shots, and posted it on YouTube. I think these incidental images explain better than I possibly could in words the extent to which my life was intertwined with hers, and what a vast, gaping void she’s left.

These photos were all taken between 2002, when I got my digital camera, and 2006. She’s tricky to find in some of them. Actually, not all of them are incidental–there are a few where she’s actually posing for me, or with me. The last shot, strangely enough, is one I took of her when I was working on the strip last fall where Mo’s cat Vanessa dies. There’s no soundtrack on the slideshow, but imagine John Lennon singing Julia as it plays. The last thing I need right now is to be sued by Yoko Ono.
Julia in the drawer of my drawing table

154 Responses to “Julia, R.I.P.”

  1. anonymouse says:

    Heartfelt condolences, Alison.

  2. ? says:

    I’m very sorry to hear about your loss. This brings back memories of a certain cat that was very special to me.

  3. Silvio Soprani says:

    “Half of what I say is meaningless
    But I say it just to reach you
    –John Lennon, “Julia”

    Dear Alison,
    Pet Love is on a much higher plane than people love, I think.
    I’m so sorry you have lost your companion.
    Eighteen years is a major chunk of relationship.
    p.s. if Yoko gives you any trouble, we’ll have a Global Orgasm for Retribution

  4. liz says:

    alison, i am so very sorry about Julia. it is clear to me that she had a good life and an incredibly loving and devoted human companion. thank you for sharing the pictures with us.

  5. Mouse says:

    So sorry to hear this. We too had a Tortie until she unexpectedly passed away two years ago, far too early at age 11–the vet never could figure out what happened. I’ve always thought Torties (and Calicos too) are almost a breed apart: moody, demanding, spirited, surprisingly loving, and you never know which she’ll be at any given moment and how long it will last.

  6. Jana C.H. says:

    Condolences from Boris and me, along with sweet and funny memories of Illya, Grigio, and old Si-Cat (who made it almost to 20.


  7. Anne in Indiana says:

    Oh, I am so sorry! The last two cats I’ve lost both died at age 18, so I know that while there’s some comfort in knowing that she lived a long happy life, it also mean the loss goes that much deeper.

    She was obviously a beautiful and much loved friend. I wish you peace as you deal with this loss. My guys Honey Bear and Lotus send their condolences as well.

  8. Rhonda says:

    I am so sorry for your loss.

    Wishing you peace and healing.

  9. Clint says:

    Sorry to hear that, the loss of my dog was like losing a son.

    I also want to say that I just finished Fun Home. Two words: Simply Amazing. As a young gay man it resonated on so many levels, thank you. Thnk you.

  10. Megan says:

    She looks like she was a love. My thoughts are with you.

  11. Sarah says:

    “I love cats because I love my home and after a while they become its visible soul.”
    – Jean Cocteau


    I am so sorry about your loss. Our creatures make spaces for themselves in our lives that can’t be filled by a mere human.

    Regarding the idea of an afterlife for homo sapiens, I am an agnostic. But it would be hard for me to believe that cats haven’t earned an eternal Eden, with lots of mice and soft blankets and without speeding cars and vet visits.

    Condolences from me and mes chats lunatiques, Max and Marty

  12. Elisablue says:

    When they go, it hurts so much.
    But they’re never really gone …

    I’m so sorry. Toutes mes pensées pour Julia et toi.

  13. Sarah says:


    My sister and I have seen our dad cry twice: when his mother died, and when he had to take our standard poodle Colin to be put down. (On a less doleful note, Dad liked to refer to Colin as “the son I never had” precisely because he knew that drove my mother crazy.)

  14. Lizen says:

    So sorry to hear this sad news. We lost our old cat last year and miss him a lot.

  15. DeLand DeLakes says:

    I’m very sorry, Alison- it’s very, very sad to lose such a constant companion. My three-legged feline pal, Trinity, and I send our condolences.

  16. patrick says:

    i saw your photos on flickr first, and after the third one I got an odd feeling that these weren’t just up there for the sake of being up there.

    i’m sorry for your loss. a cat can occupy a big space in your life. or your desk drawer. or both.

    you gave her a good kitty life, it looks like. there’s not much more a cat can ask for. my partner and i send our condolences.

    best — patrick

  17. Amy says:

    I’m very sorry for your loss. My calico died at 16 last year, and I still miss her.

  18. martha says:

    I’m so very, very sorry.

  19. Cadence says:

    I’m so sorry to hear that, Alison. I don’t really have anything that I can say to help, but I hope you give yourself the time to grieve. Julia was a very lucky cat to have you.

    RIP Julia.

  20. Pam I. says:

    So sorry Alison. I’ve had cats almost non-stop for 38 years now and any house without one in seems weird. Your movie shows how much you entertained each other all those years. You were both blessed. From Pam, and Eliza, and memories of Next and Diddles and Dumpling and Baggins…

  21. Wendy B says:

    I am so sad for you. Companion animal beings can be such amazing witnesses, participants and loving purrers in our lives. The pictures are great, showing that continual presence, the love. And, what a cute, cozy, kitty-spot by the computer.

    Love love love to you, from me and Zack (my sunshine kitty)

  22. --MC says:

    I am sorry to hear that Julia has left and hope you always have her near you in memory.

  23. Kat says:

    oh, Alison, I’m so sorry!
    Losing a pet, especially one who has been with you for a long time, is so hard.
    Patrick has it right when he said that little creatures take up such a large space in our lives.
    My condolences.

  24. Maggie Jochild says:

    Oh, Alison. What a terrible loss. I had two cats live to 17, hard-traveling collective-suffering darlings (Rusk and Bella), plus the all-too-short-lived cat of cats Alice Booboo, and the grief when they move on is as wrenching as any loss on earth. My current tortie wackjob Dinah empathizes with you as much as she ever empathizes with humans (not warm and fuzzy, my Dinah, but still a devoted companion).

    I am reminded of the lines from Judy Grahn’s “A Woman Is Talking To Death”: Bless this day o cat our house.

    Take all the room you need.

  25. smctopia says:

    I am so very sorry.

  26. Julie/ didigogo says:

    I, like everyone writing you here, wish you my sincerest condolences. I, too, live with a tortie who “found” me when I was an undergrad. She was feral when she came to the back door to meet me. She brought me pidgeons, and it pissed off my roommates, but I knew doing so was a gesture of thanks. She has been with me for moves across the country, good times and bad times, and now is a part of my two cat, two dogs (one a retired racing greyhound), and a human (me) household. She is about 19 years old now, and I don’t know what I will do when it is her time. I have never lost a pet, and can only imagine what you are going through. But, I am sure you gave her a great home, and judging by the pics, you were great friends and companions.

  27. Julie/ didigogo says:

    ok, I wasn’t done, but pushed the wrong button. Sorry- computers drive me crazy sometimes.
    I was wondering about your “story” with Julia- how did you find her?
    As a single chick who has no kids and hasn’t met too many people I can relate to where I am living and working right now, the animals I live with are truly friends. They hate to see me leave for work in the morning, greet me with smiles when I return, and are there for me when I need them. The “dog whisperer” says that Americans think of their pets as children and that this is a bad thing. I understand that it is (in terms of discipline and pecking order), but I also understand how humans can connect with the animals they live with and see them as so much more.
    Big hugs to you, Alison. Thanks for sharing your pictures of the good times and grief with us.

  28. 3 says:

    Our most heartfelt condolences, from me and my tortie Boo.

  29. Sara says:

    I’m so sorry to hear of your loss of Julia. Pet connections run *deep* – and they are so utterly uncomplicated to boot. I know she’ll always have a big part of your thoughts and heart from here on out…I often think of a special-to-me kitty who died over a decade ago.

    The photos you have of her are great – she has so clearly been a big part of your life.

  30. carolyn says:

    I am so sorry, Alison. Good thoughts in you direction.

  31. Tonia says:

    I’m so sorry – it’s always so hard to lose a pet.

  32. BamfChyck says:

    Torties are special, special cats. My most sincere condolences for our loss.

  33. BamfChyck says:

    I mean “your.” Sorry.

  34. Wendy says:

    My condolences on the loss of Julia. Your slide show of you and her really showed how close you were.

  35. Ian says:

    Alison, I’m so sorry to hear about Julia. Animals gain such a special place in our hearts, so far from the complications of human beings.

    “All day she sits upon the stair or on the steps or on the mat:
    She sits and sits and sits and sits — and that’s what makes a Gumbie Cat!

    But when the day’s hustle and bustle is done,
    Then the Gumbie Cat’s work is but hardly begun.
    And when all the family’s in bed and asleep,
    She slips down the stairs to the basement to creep.
    She is deeply concerned with the ways of the mice —
    Their behaviour’s not good and their manners not nice;
    So when she has got them lined up on the matting,
    She teaches them music, crocheting and tatting.

    I have a Gumbie Cat in mind, her name is Jennyanydots;
    Her equal would be hard to find, she likes the warm and sunny spots.
    All day she sits beside the hearth or in the sun or on my hat:
    She sits and sits and sits and sits — and that’s what makes a Gumbie Cat!”

    From ‘The Old Gumbie Cat’, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, T. S. Eliot (1939).

  36. Joe Code says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about Julia. Every cat I’ve ever lost to the void has left a void in my heart. I remember all of their personalities so clearly. When Vanessa passed last fall I teared up writing my comment then, and I’m tearing up now.

  37. Ovidia says:

    So sorry to read about Julia. Thank you for sharing the YouTube montage. It was good seeing her (sometimes in the background, sometimes not) as observer, companion & perhaps ballast–and wasn’t that her in a couple of the monumental drawings too?
    She was a great cat. We & all our cats send love & condolences.

  38. Casey says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. I have said goodbye to a few four-footed friends over the years and I know how hard it is.

    A resource for you or anyone else here who might have use for it:


    Be well.

  39. Josiah says:

    Alison, let me add my condolences to everyone else’s. An animal’s love is one of the purest experiences in life, and the loss of that love is always painful. I’m sure that it is little condolence to you, but “Sleep’s Sister” shows that grief in a way that is so truthful and poignant that if someone else had undergone this loss, I would point them to it as part of their process of healing.

    The photos are great too — when our dog Worf died last year, I actually paid for one of those Apple photo albums. It was quite a comfort, and my wife and I now look through it to remember all the good times we had with that smelly monster. Since you’ve got all these great photos of Julia (and a Mac), you might like to do the same.

  40. Jaime R. says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I’ll be keeping you and Julia in my thoughts.

  41. Danyell says:

    Alison, you have my condolences. I know how tragic it can be to lose a pet. I still day dream about my dog. They really are the best friends we’ll ever have.

    I would like to say on a positive note, that your studio/apartment is really cool. And there’s something very magical about your reference photos. Perhaps this can be discussed at a better time though.

    Sleep well. Tomorrow will be a better day.

  42. *tania says:

    AB, that’s so sad! I miss Julia already. I have an awesome drawing you made me of her chanting a Buddhist mantra. I’ll light a candle next to it tonight.

    I know it’s no consolation right now, but I do believe that a good cat life really is the last incarnation before nirvana.

  43. You guys!
    Thank you so much! I can’t tell you how comforting it is to hear all these things. I really, really appreciate it.

  44. Oh, and Josiah, I was just thinking about an hour ago about getting one of them Apple photo albums…the pix in the slideshow are just the tip of the iceberg. There are hundreds and hundreds more. I think J. might just be the most photographed cat in history.

  45. Lauren says:


    I lost a cat I’d had for 14 years in May. His name was Fido. Here he is, being beautiful: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pixielauren/288800289 and here he is with a sucker stuck to him: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pixielauren/288799538

    I’m so, so sorry, Alison. But it does get easier. You’ll be able to look at pictures of your Julia with less pain and more love and fond memories, as time passes.

    Cats are such wonderful creatures, such good souls.

    I’m just sorry Alison.

  46. Julie/ didigogo says:

    xoxoxoxxo, Alison-

  47. Eva says:

    I was the one in Portland who told you that I can’t bear to read about Digger’s death because the timing coincided with the death of my beloved Viktor. Reading about Vanessa’s death was not much easier.

    There is no easy way around mourning a beloved beastie. But I am sure, as a cat, she would appreciate knowing that she was held in appropriate esteem as you called her the sun around which you orbited.

  48. Amy in Madison says:

    Julia’s pictures are so beautiful. What a special girl. Many hugs to you and I am thinking about you both.

    Amy, vet student in Madison, WI

  49. shadocat says:

    Thank you for sharing those wonderful pictures with us-Julia looks just like our Bridgie, right down to the orange triangle under her chin…

    I agree with tania about the good cat life being the last step before nirvanna: still, just wanted to say I’m so sorry you lost your baby…

  50. mysticriver says:

    Oh dear…I’m so sorry for your loss! What a great friend Julia had in you and how lucky that you two had each other every day for eighteen years. Peace be with you both.

  51. Emma says:

    My condolences.

  52. Nora says:

    So sorry about your loss.

  53. Lydia says:

    My condolences, Alison. One of my favorite things about DTWOF is the way you draw cats; the cats always seem to have at least as emotionally complex expressions on their faces as the humans do, and often, the animals are paraleling the emotions of the humans in the script. Its just brilliant.

    Julia must have had a wonderful life with you! Peace and comfort to you.

  54. cybercita says:

    i’m sitting here with my beloved henri IV purring on my lap. it hurts to love him so much because i know our time together will be too brief. my heart aches for you. thank you for sharing your cat and your grief with us.


  55. Aunt Soozie says:

    My Dear Alison,
    My daughter and I just watched your youtube homage to Julia.
    She was so precious and we are so sorry for your loss.
    How sweet that she made her way into your work as she did…cats have a way of landing themselves right where our focus is even when our intention was not to focus on them…or as my daughter says…our cat is always right in the middle of everything…
    Aunt Soozie and Sadie

  56. Ian says:

    I downloaded ‘Julia’ as I’d not heard that song, but I also got the Annie Lennox/Eurythmics song of the same name. I’d recommend it, but it’s a real weepie.

    I’d email it to you (c/o this website) but I don’t know if your software/ISP could handle the size of the file?

    Heartfelt condolences (and hugs) again,


  57. jmc says:

    I, too, am so sorry. What heartache.

    They do change us, don’t they?

    Condolences from the blended canine-feline household of Zora, Nell, and William.

  58. meg says:

    my heart to yours – though I currently have an Armenian cat, I still and always will mourn the cat I lost* in my early twenties. She was my companion, and true.

    *literally lost – she left the house while I was living away and never came home again.

  59. Fran says:

    What a sweetheart she was! Tough to lose a friend so dear.

  60. LM says:

    Just let me send an e-hug your way.

  61. calamityJ says:

    My 15-yr-old, sleepy`

  62. calamityJ says:

    [sorry for the messup]–yet insane tortie & I send along our condolences and best wishes. We lost her big brother last year & the hole they leave is enormous, but keep in mind how much you also meant to her!

    –JJ & Idgie, both big fans of you & Julia (I’d also recommend the Eurhythmics song!!)

  63. Deena in OR says:

    Alison…we just lost our 18 year old male, Doodah. He’d been with my (gay male) housemate all of his life. Our other four felines still look for him. Heartfelt condolences from our entire household.

  64. fjm says:

    Everything people have said really.

    The one consolation is that memories of cats stay distinct. I can remember my Pig swiping french fries off the plate; my Tom jumping for chicken flavour crisps; Hubble with his head buried up to the neck in a can of rice pudding, or the feeling of his weight as he walked over my back (as good as a massage).

    lots of hugs

  65. Deb says:

    Awwwwwwwwwwww Littlebit, my cat, and I want to express our deepest sorrow over your loss. What a fine tribute you paid her with this entry on your blog. The song ‘Julia’ is perfect. I’m so glad she was able to share her life with you.

  66. Xanthe says:

    I’m very sorry to hear this. I watched the video and played Julia – it was a sweet tribute to her (and I smiled as I recognised many of those poses too).

  67. AnnaP says:

    We are so sorry condolences from me and and Richard I
    I have lost three cats.
    After Millie died in the age of 20 there were moments I forgot that she had gone, shadow in the corner or something moving on the side. Reading the newspaper and almost reaching to pet the cat beside me.

  68. VL says:

    My condolences

  69. Kathy says:

    All my condolences. We lost our Beast of 18 years last spring and it was so so hard. I’m so sorry to hear of your loss.

  70. Straight Ally says:

    I’m so sorry. My long-departed pets Jonah (a collie-shepherd mutt) and Little Kitty will touch noses with Julia and make her feel welcome in the other world.

  71. aimes says:

    I am very sorry to hear about your loss. Best thoughts to you.

  72. Elaine says:

    Awww, Alison! it just hasnt been your winter, has it?

  73. Angi says:

    Alison, I’m so sorry for your loss.

  74. Angi says:

    Actually, I have something to add…I just watched the YouTube video and it was beautiful…and I couldn’t stop thinking about how it was so clear that not only was Julia the sun you revolved around, but you were hers…So many people underestimate the love and connection animals bring to our lives, and I know I could never live without a cat, even if I had all the human family, friends and lovers I wanted. There is something special about those furry ones who often are on the periphery (because they are sleeping in boxes) but yet somehow manage to wiggle themselves into the very center of our lives.

  75. Hell's Liberal says:

    Hey Alison,

    I’m a straight, white, Christian male (albeit with liberal political leanings) and your strip has never failed to bring a laugh to me in the 15-plus years I’ve been reading it.

    I wish there were something I could say to bring a smile to you in this time of loss.

    It’s especially painful for me to see pictures of your beautiful tortie since she looks like she could be a sister to my 13-year-old. Though she still plays like a kitten, I know from losing several cats and dogs over the years that you need to consider every day past their 10th birthday a blessing.

    Having an 18-year-old cat, you’ve had a great many blessings.

  76. Colino says:

    Heartfelt condolences; I don’t know what else to say. I’m looking at mine who’s sleeping right now and I know how shattered I’d be.

  77. Luita says:

    Just an encore to what everyone else has said. People who deeply grieve the deaths of their companion animals make, in fact, the best companions. You have a lot of companions, Alison, including one human and two guinea pigs here in Berlin, Germany.

    Bert and Ernie

  78. Ron says:

    Sorry to hear about Julia. Losing a pet is really, really hard. I’m sure you gave her a wonderful love filled life.

  79. Nora says:

    I am so sorry for your loss 🙁
    Cats are the greatest companions.

  80. chaia says:

    Oh, no. Big condolences from me and my sweet feline son Ari. Julia was a beautiful cat.

  81. Elementary School Chum says:

    So sorry about Julia. It’s so hard to imagine the loss of such an obviously great companion of many, many years. She was clearly a great help in all your endeavors, as only a cat can be (I am currently being “helped” in typing this by my 15 lb cat who insists on squeezing into the small space on my lap between my waist and the laptop, which means he ends up on my chest, which means breathing – and typing – is difficult) (and why doesn’t it ever occur to us to MOVE THE CAT?).

    Like most wonderful cat people, one will come into your life soon in some odd and destined way…never to replace, but to add to all those great memories.


  82. Eva says:

    Dear Alison,

    I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. Thanks for putting the pics up on YouTube, so we can all see just how important Julia and you were to eachother. Please accept my condolences and best wishes for you in this time of grief.



  83. Silvio Soprani says:

    “She teaches them [mice] music, crochet, and tatting…”

    Ian, what a lovely image to offer Alison on this sad day!
    Thanks for dredging up one of T.S. Eliot’s less lugubrious efforts.

  84. boltgirl says:

    So very sorry. Lifelong dog person here, but yeah… wishing you peace.

  85. sara says:

    I’m very sorry. I know what you mean about 18 years of lives intertwined, and I know what that vast, gaping void feels like.

  86. Butch Fatale says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Alison. My family’s Jack Russell, Waldo the Magnificent, died three years ago, and my mother and I still choke up when we talk about him. A devoted pet is one of life’s greatest gifts, no less so when gone.

  87. Leslie says:

    Losing a beloved companion is always so hard. I’m so sorry to hear about Julia. I hope your wonderful memories of her help to lighten your sadness.

  88. Duncan says:

    My condolences too, Alison.

    The other night I had a dream that I was hanging around with you in the town where I went to high school. It was great. But then I realized I was talking too much… and then I woke up. So I shut up.

    Best wishes. I was so sorry when I saw the heading on that posting.

  89. Duffi says:

    Oh, Alison, I am so sorry. When my Isis died it was a huge loss; we had 12 years together and they weren’t enough. I still miss her. My current kitties, Pearl and Jewel, my daughter and I are thinking warm thoughts of you.

  90. Gatsbyfemme says:

    Alison, I am so very sorry. It is such a loss; our cats witness so much of our lives, and we of theirs.

    Julia was such a beautiful cat.

    My 14-year-old kitty Spenser died three years ago, and his loss still hits me hard.

  91. AK says:

    I’m sorry. After two decades, losing your good cat is like losing a permanent part of yourself. There’s a photo in that montage of your Julia that reminded me of my cat and how much she liked “shoulder rides.” It’s obvious Julia was a well-loved cat.

  92. C.C. says:

    My boys, Max & Milo are not just cats but my children. My condolences to you Alison for the loss of your child.

  93. Thérèse says:

    This Jeanette Winterson column reflecting on the death of her cat was a comfort to me.


  94. mlk says:

    Alison, I’m so sorry to hear that Julia’s gone. It was wonderful seeing her presence in your life.

    on a less sorrowful note, I found myself wondering whom you were working on in your poses and which were shots that weren’t somehow part of your worklife. There were times that I thought I saw echoes of Mo and Sydney in your postures. Or was that Raffi that I glimpsed? For whatever reason, I tended to associate the photos with the strip, even though they capture Fun Home events, too.

    cats have a way (when they aren’t bugging the heck out of you) of being a very gentle presence in our lives. I saw that reflected in your photos. As you feel the loss of a beloved companion I hope you can find that gentleness somehow. and know that while it may sometimes feel that way, you ARE NOT alone in the world!

  95. sunicarus says:


    Jeanette Winterson’s column is so befitting. Thank you for sharing it.

    I especially like her reference included as follows:
    “Only Connect”, as EM Forster said…Indeed, I believe there is a connectedness here in this space.

  96. JimmiJon says:

    Our condolences ~ Addie (4 yo tabby) & Meg (1 yo Papillon)

  97. ArciD says:

    By any chance were Julia and Vanessa named after the character and actress, respectively, in the wonderful film “Julia”?

  98. Austin Kleon says:

    poor thing!

  99. Susanna says:

    Alison, I’m so sorry to hear about Julia’s death. Loosing a long-time friend, especially one that was with you every day, is devastating. I send you wishes of peace and strength during this difficult time. Also sending some big hugs.

  100. ally says:

    condolences from Chicago. The video was evocative and showed Julia’s personality so well. She was beautiful and seemed like a wonderful and loving companion. so sorry for your loss.

  101. Jennifer says:

    She was a beauty. Thanks for sharing her with us.

  102. Straight Ally says:

    ArciD asked, “By any chance were Julia and Vanessa named after the character and actress, respectively, in the wonderful film ‘Julia’?”

    You could be right, but I’m guessing that Virginia and Vanessa were named after Virginia Woolf and her sister Vanessa Bell.

  103. ysengrin.blogspot.com says:

    Two things:
    first, sorry to read about your cat’s death.
    Secon, I just read ‘Fun house’- finally and loved, loved, loved it. I laughed and cried a little, too, and am now pressing it onto my friends. Thank you.

  104. rjtucke says:

    Bless you in your time of need, Alison, and comfort to your sorrows.

  105. Smutti says:

    I’ve never posted before, but I had to express my sorrow for you in your loss of a kitten-boo. Julia looks like my Miss Kitty, all patchy brown, black, tan & white. I fear the day when one our cats has to take the big sleep. At least Julia passed through loving and being loved. There isn’t a better way to live. Take care.

  106. Ginjoint says:

    *wiping away tears* Big squish hug, Alison.

    I’ve always felt animals bring me closer to God than any church or religion…their love is very true. The only guile they may ever exhibit is to perhaps charm a treat out of you.

    “I love cats because they are never guilty. Dogs are like recent converts to Christianity, forever cringing and publicly accusing themselves while secretly treasuring their vices. But cats are forever pagan, chiefly interested in making themselves ever more comfortable and beautiful, not necessarily in that order.” – Pat Califia

    And of course, I think, cats do leave a lot of room for love. One more thing – I wonder what was going through Julia’s head as she watched you strike sometimes strange poses or expressions and then photograph yourself. She just seemed to go with the flow and think, “O.K., whatever gets you through the night, ‘sallright.”

  107. curson says:

    I lost my Minnie the 27th of December 2006 after 15 shining years of being in her life.
    I still can’t deal with it without tears coming to my eyes.

  108. Maria says:

    In his poem “Jubilate Agno,” Christopher Smart discourses at length about his beloved cat, Jeoffry:

    For he has the subtlety and hissing of a serpent, which in goodness he suppresses.
    For he will not do destruction, if he is well-fed, neither will he spit without provocation.
    For he purrs in thankfulness, when God tells him he’s a good Cat.
    For he is an instrument for the children to learn benevolence upon.
    For every house is incomplete without him and a blessing is lacking in the spirit.

    I am so sorry for your loss, Alison.

  109. dgll says:

    We have a new kitten in our house and as much as I love him I still miss the cat I grew up with who died two years ago.
    Someone here said it already and it’s true: it hurts to love them sometimes knowing they’re going to die. But it’s still worth it, as anyone who has a kitten can attest to.

    Sorry for your loss…

  110. brynn says:

    I’m so sorry!! You have my deepest sympathy. Please take good care….

  111. Anonymous says:

    I am deeply sorry. I love my cats as much as I love the people in my family. Take good care, and blessings on you in your sorrow.

  112. Treacle says:

    My Tom, Herb, who has never shown any interest in my web surfing before, has chosen this time to sit on my knee and ply with the keyboard! It’s that old cat telepathy. I swear he was giving Alison and Julia kisses! His sister, Storm, is obviously less sentimental, she’s asleep.

  113. Treacle says:

    Play even

  114. Jana C.H. says:

    Alison, I went through the slide show three extra times trying to identify the maps on your walls. Western Pennsylvania was easy, but the eastern half of the same map threw me. I thought it was a different map until I realized it included New Jersey. The other (if it’s a map at all) counfounds me. All that comes to mind is the suburbs south of Seattle, from downtown Seattle to Federal Way, but I somehow doubt that’s it.

    More purrs from Boris.

    Jana C.H.
    “Cartographers do it to scale.”

  115. sjusju says:

    So sorry to hear.

    I think the photos are just beautiful, and the Youtube video shows what good companions you were to one another.

    Sending love, sjusju

  116. RI Red says:

    My deepest condolences, Alison. If our animal companions have a fault it is that they leave us too soon.

  117. hlp says:

    i’m so sorry about your girly. your video montage helped me to see my hannah in her everywhere-in-my-life wonderfulness. feel better when you can.

    also, thanks for all the dykes to watch out for.

  118. Suzanonymous says:

    I was just thinking today if I got a pet, I’d probably outlive it and that was something to consider about pets, and now I see your cat has died. I’m very sorry.

    Just a suggestion: doing a sketch about this would surely be more theraputic than a video. Maybe you did a sketch but it’s not something you chose to show us, the peanut gallery to your life. 🙂 All the best, Suzanne

  119. Krisztina says:

    I read your blog post on Thursday and my cat of nine years Paublo died the next day. So I’m with you. And offer my condolences, losing a cat is really hard. I keep waffling between being rational and feeling really sad and just plain gloomy. It’s the just plain gloomy that’s the hardest to deal with.

  120. lemming says:

    I’m so sorry to hear of your Julia crossing over the Rainbor bridge. I lost two cats in less than a year; one was 16 and the other was almost 15. I’d had him from the moment he was born (on my foot) to the time I had to put him down due to a jaw tumor. I hope you can find some comfort today.

  121. K.R. says:

    I’m very sorry to hear this. It sounds like she was a fine cat and will be missed.

  122. Sasha says:

    I am so sorry Alison. Your strip about Vanessa really twisted my heart. It’s awful to loose our friends.

  123. Pooka says:

    Warmest sympathies to you on the passing of beloved Julia. My darling Smacky the Seal spent part of last week at the vet’s office. He’s 16 and I’ve had him since we found him by the highway when he was only a few weeks old. I was sure he was a goner, but he squeaked by again.

    His sisters have preceded him into the next life and I’m sure I see their smiling faces in the clouds some days.

    May your memories and the wishes of all these loving friends bring you comfort in this time of terrible anguish.

  124. Jude says:

    I’m so sorry.

  125. Pam says:

    I’m so sorry!

    I lost my 14 year old dog a few months ago, and it was devastating.

    I can’t imagine how I’ll even survive when my 17 year old cat goes…

    She’s beautiful.

  126. lillith says:

    Please accept my condolences on the loss of your fur person. I have had a number of cats, dogs and hamsters…each one a little flame of life.

  127. Cathy says:

    So sorry for your loss! She’s a beautiful beautiful cat!!

  128. Riotgrrl613 says:

    My heart goes out to you;
    my deepest condolences.
    Take care, Alison
    Riot out.

  129. little gator says:

    Someone whose first dog was dying said he was about to join the club no one wants to belongs to. I see many club members here, and I’m sorry for it.

    Im on my eighth cat so far. It feels very odd and lonley having just one, but the Empress Lydia is a total bitch to other cats.

    That leaves 7 to welcome Julia. Six really, because Rudy Patootie hated girlcats. We think he was gay because he adored other boycats and liked to go in and out of closets.

  130. ktk says:

    kisses to you, with all the cat fur that comes with them.

  131. anderson says:

    i add my sincere condolences. i’ve been a DTWOF fan for a long time, and was totally moved when Mo lost Vanessa. i’m so sorry to hear you had to go through it in real life.

    i had to put down my oldest friend a few years ago–my cockatiel Woodstock. (am i the first bereaved bird owner on this thread?) he was 20 years old (!) and never sick a day til he developed a tumor on his wing a month before he died. i got him when i was 10; as such, my partner commented after he died that he had been my only constant in a childhood full of moving and other flux. she’s quite right–he went from most of my childhood homes to college to various NYC apartments. i am happy about his death in one way only: that i knew when it was time, and i took him to die before he was really suffering. but otherwise, there’s not a day i don’t miss my little man, walking around my desk, chewing perforation into pieces of paper, nibbling my earrings, leaning down for a head scritch, and pooping on important documents. i wish i could have another day w/ him.

  132. Maud Newton says:

    What a beautiful cat. I love that photo of her sitting slitty-eyed in the bowl. So sorry to read this news.

  133. Gina de Vries says:

    Ohhh, Alison… I’m so sorry.

    I know how truly awful it is to lose a pet; I’m so, so, so sorry for your loss.

    I hope that you’re remembering to take care of yourself during the grieving process, and that you’ve got lots of support from other folks.

    And these photos are beautiful. Pets have a really wonderful way of intertwining themselves into our work — cats especially.

  134. Leanne Franson says:

    Hi Alison, I actually came here re your book, but then saw this and now I am crying. I am so sorry. Having lost Muesli (and was only with her half the time you were with your Julia), I have some smidgen of an idea of how broken up you are. I’ll come back another time re the book. So sorry. Such a pretty, and muchloved kitty.

  135. Flossy says:

    Alison, I’m firmly convinced that the two Mistresses of the Universe are a Calico and a Tortie. I have been controlled by some of both in years past, and recently, unexpectedly presented with a Variety Pack of ki’ins by my latest Tortie, Bobbaran. She’s named for my partner of 32 1/2 years, Barbara Anne, why died on Groundhog Day last year. Bobbaran appeared two months later and had her ki’ins two months after that. I helped deliver them, the girl Toodles–named after Barbara’s favorite doll as a child–a breech birth. The ki’ins have helped me through the mourning process, though I have a long way to go. And I adore your strip and Webpage. FUNHOME is the next book on my purchase list. I can’t wait. Best Regards, Flossy

  136. Hariette says:

    Alison, I am so sorry to read of the loss of your beloved companion. While I refuse to be so egotistical as to say I know how you feel, I can empathize. My beloved Oliver disappeared on June 15th. He was 16 years old and I have not recovered. I wish you peace and comfort during this difficult time. Warmly, Hariette

  137. grace says:

    bless your kitty, Alison. i hear what you mean about this loss, and then all these other pages start spilling out. it’s weird.

    be well, ma’am.

  138. rokinrev says:

    Sorry to hear about Julia. Sounds like she had a great life “owning” you

  139. Amy says:

    I’m so sorry.

  140. Lee says:

    I am so sorry too hear about Julia. The grief for a feline is real and deep and fifteen years covers so much of life. Be gentle. It’s a deep heartache. I am going to hug my four cats right now. May Julia be at peace.

  141. Lee says:

    Sorry, eighteen years… all the more precious. I have just looked at the photos, too, and what a record of her just being present… so typical female feline, making sure you are OK.

  142. rosagrigia says:

    Pets are furry little people. She will be missed.

  143. Anonymous says:

    I can’t read the responses or I’ll cry LIKE A LEAKY FAUCET. (I’m at work where weeping, while common, is discouraged.) I’m sorry for your loss. Julia was like a beautiful, happy kitty. I like the kitty-inna-bowl picture above.

  144. Denise Brogan says:

    I’ve only just now found your site (what a shame I’ve missed you all this time!).

    You have my deepest condolences. My wife and I also lost an 18 year old cat this past year (and an 18 year old dog not long thereafter) so I completely get the loss and the gaping void.

    What a blessing to have had her in your life and to have had your digital camera for the past 5 years to capture that. Deepest condolences.

  145. Marj says:

    I too have only just found your blog… but you have been an integral part of my life since 1984. Is the world full of 46 year old dykes living with late teenage cats? I’m so sorry about Julia… I have to go take some more pictures of Katy now…

  146. Anonymous says:

    What a beautiful tortoise-shell cat. She reminds me of my own, who is getting up there in years as well. I’m so sorry,Julia was gorgous and looks so loving.

  147. tank says:

    im so sorry to hear about your loss, i can empathize with you because ive had many many cats in my life and ive gone through each of their passings. sometimes i think that cats come back their spirit somehow always finds you in one way or another so im sure julia is still there leaving her invisible paw print of approval on your amazing work

  148. teresa says:

    Haven’t checked in on Mo, et al, for quite a while now, and just saw the sad news about Julia. Just want to add my condolences to the list. I have a cat too,(or rather, I am retained by one) and someday I’ll be facing the same loss. I hope she has as long and happy a life as Julia did with you. And I hope that you will heal and move through your grief soon.

  149. Lincoln Rose says:

    Aw, Alison. I know there’s really nothing I can say. When I lost my cat, there was nothing others could say that really mattered.

    All my best

  150. Sherry says:


  151. Kelley says:

    I lost my best friend/black lab Smokey earlier this year. I totally understand. And I hope you feel better soon.

  152. Nancy says:

    What a beautiful cat, Alison. So many great years and always over too soon. Our boy kitty and beloved companion, Bob, was sadly lost in 2004 and we’d had him for 18 years. I can’t write much more, getting “leaky” as someone said before. By the by, thanks for much for your exquisite art and work.