Saturday, December 30, 2017

RIP Heather McClaw

RIP Heather McClaw

February 14, 2005 – December 30, 2017

We came to the rescue for her brother, but I couldn’t look into her big blue eyes and not take her as well. As one of her foster moms said, “She’s got eyes clear to infinity.”

It was a good decision. Heather was pretty much inseparable from Reese. Here we have Pinky and the Brain: 

We didn’t realize she was Nurse Heather until our eldest cat, Rambo, who was seventeen had an illness. Heather and Tara “bookended” the Old Man and kept him warm until he felt better. Here’s the three of them in better times:

I think she could get almost anything out of people if she used her Big Blue eyes: 

She was the first one of our cats to help make Indy welcome. I knew the little scamp would be okay when he finally recognized, “hey, she looks kind of like me.” She’s been a patient and good mama to the Irrepressible “Dr. Jones.” 

She bathed Indy and loved him just like his Mama cat did:

She even conned her brother, Reese, into accepting the evil little alien.

Probably the best testament to her character is when we had a heartworm positive foster dog, Andy. Because of the immiticide, Andy had to remain on crate rest for 28 days. We figured the cats wouldn’t bother him. Instead, Heather chose to keep him company. For most of his stay, she remained faithfully outside that crate. Whenever Andy got restless and needed to take a potty break or wasn’t feeling well, she’d come and get one of us to help take care of him. 

She faithfully kept her post throughout Andy’s fostering and even gave her approval to his new parents, Rick Dunham and Pam Tobey, when they drove down from D.C. to pick him up.

And why do I keep calling her “Nurse Heather” instead of “Doctor Heather?” Because docs make their diagnoses, write their orders, and leave the nurses to do the work. She stuck around with the patient to make sure all was okay.

Her vet described her as the World’s Sweetest Cat and even the student vets at UT-Knoxville Vet School said she was one of the easiest animals they ever worked with. She’s just a dear good girl. But she’s not perfect. Never leave any kind of “bling” within her reach. She’ll steal it! I don’t know how many necklaces Tony had I both lost to her before we found her stash.

She’s truly the Queen of Bling. Someone actually said, “Why would you do that to your cat?” Hey, she put her head in there. She LIKES having jewelry. I remember after she came back from radiation for her thyroid, we bought her Mardi Gras beads. She was insulted they were plastic.

I don’t know why an animal so sweet would have to go through what she has. Her veterinary record was thick and painful, including a bladder full of struvites, two nukes for thyroid, and pancreatitis. When we found out last fall she had cancer, we would have biopsied, but the mass in her abdomen was close to her aorta and the vets said the procedure was dicey at best. Somehow I believe she hung on past my birthday and Christmas to make the holiday good.

I’m sure her brother, the weremeezer, will sing the song of their people to the moon for her. I don’t think I have ever met a sweeter, more thoughtful animal. I’m writing this through tears and I expect I’ll be crying for days to come. My heart feels broken in half. I don’t think I could put it much better than Leonard Cohen.

There is a crack, a crack in everything. 
That’s how the light gets in.

Rest peacefully, Little Bird….You brought a lot of light to this world.


  1. What a beautiful soul. I love your stories about her. Nurse Heather sounds just right.

  2. Godspeed, Heather. Enjoy the colors of a painless life now.