Debbie at I Obsess wrote a post recently about cats she and her friends have lost.
I was going to comment about some of my own cats, but then I realized I was actually writing a post. So here it is:
Charles was the kitten my mother finally got from the local shelter after a full year of my sister and me begging constantly for a cat. But Charles hated being a pet. He glared defiantly at everyone. He liked to sneak up behind my sister and me and bite our ankles. Hard. Which was especially scary since we were just little kids when we got him. He beat up on other cats. He was generally an asshole. The kind of cat who could turn a person off from liking cats forever.
But whenever he was sick, or dejected, or wet from a bath, he would curl up next to the nearest person and purr. Sometimes my sister and I used to give him baths when he didn't really need them, just to get him to act nice for us.
Which was really kind of cruel of us, no?
Chicory was so malnourished when we found her under the porch that she had rickets. My mother fed her from a bottle until she grew strong.
She dashed out the door one night, arthritic as she was at the age of eleven, and never came home. We all figured she'd run off to die a good cat's death in the great outdoors, but still, not knowing was worse than having to put her down.
Juliana was a smart one. When she was a kitten, she figured out that the best way to get her lost toys out from under the fridge by knocking down a yard stick my mother had hanging in the kitchen and using it to sweep back and forth under the fridge.
When I went off to college, she sat in the window by the door every night, just as she had every night when I was in high school, waiting for me to come home. Eventually my mother had to send her to live with me, just to keep her from being so sad.
She was so angry at me when I had to leave her with a friend for several months while I lived in a place that didn't allow cats. And then when I got married, and had a human baby, she got angrier. Naively, I had thought that since she loved me, she would love my child just as much, but she was jealous. She started peeing on things, especially the baby's things. She started being mean to everyone.
But I still remembered how she used to curl up under my chin as I slept at night, how her fur as a kitten had been softer than silk.
I still think I failed her because I sent my husband to the vet to put her down when she got sick. But someone had to stay home with the baby.
I haven't had another cat since Jules. My husband is allergic to them.