can't you see the sunshine….


on December 31, 2016

Although Elizabetta was not our cat, Ben and I both still mourn her death.  She died at home, Covivole,  peacefully on Tuesday, December 27, 2016 with John and Richard by her side.


Elizabetta first came into our lives on our very first morning in Tuscany, in September, 2007.  Siena, (the Lucky Dog, who moved with us to Tuscany) and I opened the door to the terrace and there sat Elizabetta.  “Hey, how you doing?  I live here!  Are John and Richard here?”  Siena, who could be very snooty, snotty and snobby leveled one of her deadly stares at me as if to say  “A CAT?????? No one said anything about A CAT!!!!!  MAKE IT GO AWAY!  I’ll start barking soon.”   I suggested that Siena just wait quietly while I discussed things with this cat.  So, I had a firm discussion with an unknown black cat.  Suggesting that she find somewhere else to hang out.  She wandered off.  Siena and I continued on with our lives.  I emailed John and Richard.  No, they knew nothing about a cat.  I emailed the woman who had rented before us.  No, she knew nothing about a cat.  I asked Ida, (our neighbor then and again years later).  No, she knew nothing about a cat.   The unknown black cat would appear every now and then but made no further attempts to join our happy home.   Siena was happy that the matter had been settled to her satisfaction.

Fast forward a few years.  It is spring and Richard is there, making his once every few months visit, to prune the garden or help out however we needed it.  Up strolls the unknown black cat.  Tears are streaming down Richard’s face.  “This is our cat!  This is Elizabetta”   “Well, this is the cat that I asked you about when we first moved in”  I replied.  “the one that no one knew anything about.”  Then Richard went on to explain that when the woman who lived there before us moved, she took Elizabetta to other friends who lived about 40 miles away.  Elizabetta stayed there a while and then disappeared.  Since it was 40 miles away John and Richard never considered that Elizabetta could have made the journey back.  That is why they had denied all knowledge of a cat.  Of course, I immediately felt bad that Elizabetta had shown up at her home only to be greeted by a DOG! And to have it suggested to her, to hit the road, after having traveled 40 miles through the hilly Tuscan countryside.   Ben and I agreed that we would look out for Elizabetta from then on.  And we did.

Richard also explained that Elizabetta and her brother Max had come to them as tiny kittens from Sorrento.  From the property where Richard occasionally consulted and decorated.  The property that Richard and I believe that my grandmother lived on.

Elizabetta was very independent.  Often disappearing for weeks at a time as other families would return for the season to their nearby properties.  She must have developed a real network and regularly checked on various properties to see who was there.  (I guess if we had equipped her with a body cam we could have rented her out as a ‘security patrol’.)

I stopped worrying about Elizabetta eating regularly one summer day when I saw her hunting skills.  I was sitting on the terrace and heard a rustling sound in the bushes.  I went over to look and there is Elizabetta bent over a carcass like a lion over its kill, ripping it a part, a bit of the poor animal’s tail hanging from her mouth.  I just backed away and left her to it.  An hour or two later more rustling occurred and another little animal met its fate.  Then finally Elizabetta waddled across the terrace.  Her stomach so full it was swinging and almost grazing the ground as she walked.  I knew then that if she showed up at the door and asked for food I should have something to give her.  Otherwise, she could manage just fine, thank you.

Elizabetta was very social.  Always greeting any guests that we had.   The summer that Chino, the cat of George and Jules, stayed with us, she made every effort to hang out with him.  Chino, was British and since he did not know Elizabetta’s family would only give her a passing nod.  He liked to flaunt that he could figure out how to open the screen and come into the house and Elizabetta could not.  I suspect that Elizabetta could but just didn’t want to.  When Nerone arrived, I swear, Elizabetta got her ‘dog language’ tapes and brushed up.  She would sit on the table, look directly at him and out would come this very soft, refined “arf”.  Well, we all know Nerone would have nothing to do with a cat.  And was very worried when either Ben or I would do something with her.  So even though Elizabetta made an effort, Nerone would have nothing to do with it.


This December,  staying at Covivole,  as our time in Tuscany came to an end,  Elizabetta was with us almost every night.  Enjoying the fire, having dinner with us, sleeping on the bed with us.  She had a very visible tumor.  We knew we might not see her again.  And now she is gone.  Buried next to her brother, Maximillian who died very young.  Next to the ‘Lucky Dog’ Siena and Nerone, the ‘Good Dog’.   Having her there with us helped complete the circle of our time in Italy.  She had been there to greet us on our first morning and years later she was there seeing us off on our last morning in Tuscany.  She will be missed by many and thought of fondly.


3 responses to “Elizabetta

  1. Sherrie & Franco says:

    So sorry to hear about Elizabetta ..we were remembering how she climbed up Frank’s arm when we visited you at the guest cottage..she had quite the free spirit..sorry for your loss


  2. Mike says:

    Ken and I saw Elizabetta gobble down a field mouse quite easily and quickly…for a free roaming cat, she lived a long life. Remember folks are hoping to see pictures of you all dressed up for the formal evenings on QM2, plus maybe some comments on the crossing. Did you make it to any of the shows? the planatarium? the talks/ lectures? I remember enjoying the Asian restaurant on one of crossings and there was no charge, but a reservation was required. I think it is now just part of Kings Court. Quality of QM2 food had declined from our first sailing to our second…and is very far below many of the “premium” cruise lines.


    • I will get around to writing about the crossing. I thought that a lot of the food in Kings Court was better than in the dining room. I had the best meal of the whole trip there. A bowl of coconut shrimp soup.


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