Our beloved ruler, Cat, dies at 18

Her kingdom wasn't vast. Her subjects weren't numerous. But Cat inspired the sort of devotion in her people that would make Earth's lesser monarchs sick with envy.

Cat, the beloved feline and supreme ruler of our household, died peacefully Wednesday at a veterinary facility in Rio Linda, California.

She was 18 years old.

It's difficult for most Americans to understand the grief that strikes when a beloved monarch dies.

Our family now understands it all too well.

Apart from small gestures of affection, we subjects were generally forbidden to shower Cat with our love.

Even so, she would never let us feel even for a moment that we were unloved.

Cat watched over us all. She would appear as if by magic, always there to provide comfort when one of her subjects needed her.

Cat had a way of knowing you could use some company before you even realized it yourself.

I joined the royal family by marriage, of course, to Cat's human servant.

"We're a package deal," Elizabeth told me.

At the time, this seemed like a young woman telling me that I needed to accept her pet cat if we were to live together.

What it really meant, I'd later come to realize, was something more akin to converting to a new religion. The "package deal" meant embracing Cat as our ruler.

Amazingly, Cat possessed an ability to convey this point without uttering a word.

Throughout her 18-year life, Cat's kingdom moved to new locations multiple times.

Sometimes it moved across town to a new building. Other times, it moved a thousand miles away to an entirely new city.

It was evident that Cat did not understand the forces at work during these relocations of her kingdom. As her servants, we even administered medicine to calm her nerves during some of these dark times.

Yet Cat always reestablished her rein over each new territory with grace and majesty, never letting anyone doubt that the kingdom remained hers.

Though she wielded absolute power, her subjects adored Cat and she adored her subjects.

Over the years, two dogs entered the kingdom.

Once they learned to respect Cat's unquestionable supremacy, she took both pups in and raised them as her own.

The dogs grew up to be pretty decent cats, too.

Recently, Cat began to think that the kingdom's new human baby also showed potential.

Cat knew that the best way to keep her subjects loyal was to command their adoration.

Our home has been struck by the same tragedy that befalls every people who adore a monarch: our hearts cannot accept that Cat was actually... mortal.

Our queen is gone and it's ripped a hole through our hearts.

We'll have to learn to live in an ordinary family home instead of in her kingdom.

I can't believe Cat's really gone.

I wish we could've had more time with her.

I'm reminded that we must embrace each new day we're afforded with the ones we love.

I'll remember many things about Cat's life, but above all... I'll remember this:

She ruled.