In Memory of Noir

By Elisa Black-Taylor

I still remember the moment I met Noir through Sealy’s Facebook page. Other than eye color, they were identical, right down to missing the left ear. Her mother, Mary Barker, and I quickly became friends. Mary devotes her time between her son, who is a special needs child, and her cats Noir, Walter and Albert. Noir passed away suddenly last week, and it’s been devastating to Mary and her son Daniel, who at 12 suffers from High Functioning Autism.

Noir and abused cat who was rescued

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats


Noir is a gentle cat who had been left to fend for herself after being horribly abused and injured. She was first noticed when she showed up in a small feral colony in N.C.. Mercy (the original admin. and colony caregiver) began feeding Noir to help ease her suffering and gain her trust. Eventually Noir was able to come in off the streets and was fostered there in Mercy’s home. Through the miracle of her FB page, people came forward to support the vetting of this cat. Funds were raised and over time it was determined she was ready to find her forever family.

Useful links
Anxiety - reduce it
FULL Maine Coon guide - lots of pages
Children and cats - important

Noir’s ear had been cut off, her ribs had permanent scarring, and her front paw had been broken and had since re-healed incorrectly on its own making it twisted and weak. The tip off her tail had been removed and she had been left with nerve damage on one side of her head. Her eye on the side where the ear was missing could not close properly. She suffered from arthritis relating to the injuries so her main goal in life was staying warm in the sun or on a heated bed. She had to live with these injuries but her spirit had healed.

Mary, originally from Virginia, moved to Arizona over a decade ago. Noir had a wonderful life with Mary and her family since coming to her forever home a few years ago.


Noir went through two previous periods of losing weight, but she’d gain it right back. This was her third bout with becoming emaciated, but this time her body couldn’t recover. Noir had gone through so much.

Mary spent a lot of time with Noir, coaxing her to eat, cuddling her and showing her as much love as possible. Mary became concerned because this time Noir’s body shape was changing, and Noir wasn’t getting any better despite treatment. Tests had ruled out almost everything except cancer. That’s what the vet feared, and Mary knew she may soon have to make a decision to help Noir leave this world if she should begin to suffer.

Last weekend Mary made plans to stay out of work Monday to be with Noir. On September 28, Noir lost her fight with an unknown illness that can best be described as rapid liver failure. Mary took Noir for her last vet visit, where she was to receive sub-q fluids and some Prescription A/D food. She had a distended abdomen and was dehydrated. Mary and the vet planned to treat the symptoms and run more tests the beginning of the week. Sub-q fluids would be given as often as needed.

Noir’s decline began when the tech was taking her temperature and Noir’s skin began turning slightly pink and Mary asked her about it. The vet agreed it was odd and Mary explained that normally her skin is whitish under the fur like most cats and that she is not a scratcher so there would be no reason for her skin to be pinkish because Noir hadn’t been scratching herself. Then within minutes it got darker pink. Another 20 minutes passed, and Noir’s skin had turned red and continued darkening.

Noir’s skin began breaking down in front of their eyes. Mary had stepped out of the room while fluids were being given because she has an aversion to needles. Noir’s vet soon came to reunite Mary during Noir’s last moments. It was devastating for Mary to watch Noir fading before their eyes.

Mary broke the tragic news to her friend on Facebook saying

“I have made arrangements to have Noir cremated individually and returned to us. I wanted to keep her here with us in our home. I cannot bear to let her go away. I know that it is simply psychological because she is not truly here but at least if I have her urn here in the house it will feel a tiny bit comforting. I never want her to ever be alone ever. She needs to stay here with us. To all of you…..thank you for loving Noir. She has had a great couple of years here. I am so grateful she came into my life. Daniel loves her dearly. All of you feel like family and we are all going to miss her.”


Mary’s house feels empty without Noir there. Daniel is devastated and has had trouble attending school since this happened. One of their other cats Albert, is trying to fill the role as a therapy cat to Daniel. Albert is a huge tabby with lots of white, who now runs to Daniel whenever he enters a room. I told Mary that perhaps Albert always wanted to play a bigger part in Daniel’s life, but Noir was queen of the castle. Albert has now stepped in to fill that role. It’s amazing how our pets know when we need extra love.

Walter, who reminds me of a buttercup with his cream coloring and vivid blue eyes, isn’t as affected, but he’s an outside cat because of his temperament. He lives in a safe outdoor environment, and Mary feels he’s living the best life possible. He’s a hunter and can take care of himself.


Mary, we all feel your pain. Most of us have been there at some point, with a cat who was more special than others. Our Sealy was in love with Noir, and checked on her often. It was a shock to learn she had left this world so suddenly. Perhaps that’s best, as she didn’t suffer a long and debilitating illness.

It’s amazing how friends come together whenever one of us loses a cat. We all feel that loss, and although words of encouragement are offered, it still doesn’t take away the pain. Only time can do that, and it takes an awful lot of time to come to terms to a cat not being there. You, as well as Gwen Cooper, who recently lost her blind kitty Homer, are in my thoughts every day.

Mary has decided to keep Noir’s Facebook page open, and continue with the lives of Walter and Albert. I think Noir would approve.


Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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12 Responses

  1. Laura Kelley says:

    I had been following Noir’s story when Mercy had her in NC and then Mary adopted her. Her passing is very sad. One of my kitties passed away exactly 3 weeks to the day before Noir. I hope the 2 of them are playing together now. Noir was very blessed to become a part of Mary’s family and we all know how much she was loved and taken care of. Together we can all keep Noir’s memory alive and be grateful for people like Mary and other’s like us that adopt, and care for these beautiful creatures.

  2. Anonymous Amputees says:

    That is such a beautifully touching story that I could not finish reading due to the tears. Thank you so much for sharing and I pray that Mary and her family will be given Great Comfort from God as they mourn the loss of such a dear friend. May God continue to bless this world and its inmates with such beautiful gifts of love and compassion.

  3. Dee (Florida) says:

    It’s heartbreaking. We all know all too well.
    R.I.P. Noir.

  4. Doris says:

    so sorry for your loss of noir ive loss many cats and dogs through my life it never gets easyer and you never for get them my heart goes out to you.thoughts and prayers to you and your family.

  5. Mary Barker says:

    Oh no….I posted a long detailed comment and it disappeared! Anyway, thank you for the wonderful words and for taking the time to create this! It has been a week (in another hour and a half) since Noir left us. Not a moment has gone by where she was not in my thoughts. I know that so many have loved and lost, and it is has been helpful to hear the stories of other furry friends who have meant so much to people. Animals are such special members of our family and losing them can be so hard. Noir was Daniel’s best friend and thankfully Albert is working on filling the void left by Noir. This has been painful but with all of the support from Noir’s page and the many who loved her it has helped to get us through thus far. Thank you for the kind and loving words. Hugs to Sealy and all your furry ones too. 🙂

    • Michael says:

      I posted a long detailed comment and it disappeared!

      Mary, your comment is here. What happens is that people who comment for the first time have their comments moderated. This is the way the program (the website) works. It is to stop spam. For every good comment like yours there are 20 spam comments! True.

      Thank you for your comment Mary. It is appreciated.

  6. Mary Barker says:

    Elisa – what a thoughtful thing for you to create and post! Also thank you all for your kind words. It has been a week ago in about and hour and a half since she left us and she has been in my thoughts every moment of this week. I am eager to get her back here and hope that within a few days I will get the call to come retrieve her ashes. I have plans beginning in my head for a memorial garden of sorts with a combination of plants and hardscape as well as lots of ideas from Noir’s friends on her page. I had posed the question to them for examples of ways to memorialize her and they did not disappoint! Lots of really neat ideas. Even though Noir was one of many (so very many) cats I have adopted and cared for in my over 20 years of rescue she was truly very special. She was Daniel’s best friend and a wonderful companion to me as well. While we are heartbroken we will mend. What has been special to me is hearing and reading all the stories of loss from so many of the page members. It has been so wonderful sharing the memories of so many who have been loved and lost. I know I am not alone – most have lost special family members and so we are all in it together. Many mourn for Noir as if she were in their home too – it has been pretty amazing actually – to realize how many people were touched by her and the story of her journey. I am happy to have all of you as friends and appreciate the support very much. Thank you Elisa! Love to Sealy.

  7. Elizabeth Ann Scarborough says:

    I’m so glad Noir found love at last during her final years. So sorry for Mary’s and Daniel’s loss but at least Noir learned that not all humans are horrible like those who hurt her.

    • Michael says:

      There are three groups of cat owners: (a) the ones who really care (b) the ones who are ambivalent about cats and (c) the ones who don’t care or dislike cats. It is pure luck as to which one a cat meets. Noir experienced (a) and (c).

  8. Elisa says:

    I’m not sure whether anyone truly knew how old Noir was. Much like Sealy, she was an adult and could have been an older cat. I’ll be posting the link on Mary’s pages and hope she’ll take a moment to answer. She had a wonderful life with Mary. It’s interesting how Albert is now drawing close to her son Daniel.

  9. Michael says:

    This is a story that is both sad and happy. It made me wonder how many abused cats aren’t as lucky as Noir who was looked after so well by Mary.

    The story makes me think of all the abused cats. Maybe it shouldn’t. Maybe it is just my mood right now.

    Elisa, can you tell us how old Noir was when she died?

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