Today we gave this cat a funeral. We are that kind of family.
No, when he was alive he didn’t sleep on a canopy bed with Laura Ashley sheets and we didn’t spoon out his Fancy Feast into a crystal goblet. We treat our cats like cats, which means they sleep on our bed.
This guy was just the best damn cat I’ve ever had. And at five years of age, I think he deserved some kind of send-off for cashing out so early.
His death wasn’t unexpected. Around Thanksgiving he became freakishly ill. After three days’ treatment at the animal hospital for liver failure from unknown bacterial causes, he came home to what surely was an extended visit. We knew he’d never recover fully to the prancing, lithe hunter he once was. Seemingly overnight, he withered to a gaunt, jaundiced animal driven by an unsatiable hunger.
But he was still our funny little valentine.
This cat forced us to adopt him when we really went to the cat rescue to bring home his brother, who really didn’t want to go with us. So, we brought home both. We are that kind of family. This matched set of cats, little salt and pepper shakers, were a source of great joy and frustration and copious amounts of cat hair on the furniture.
But this one, he was something different. He nudged his wet nose into our lives and we fell in love instantly.
This cat, who as a kitten, pried off a cold-air return vent in our spare room, plunged into our ductwork and had to be fished out of a hole cut into a duct.
This cat, who dug a hole under the property-line fence and fell into the neighbor’s pool last summer, somehow managed to get out and crawl home covered in algae and black slime.
This cat, who twice chased chipmunks into the house, holding them hostage under the couch until we discovered his secret stash.
This cat, who was so smart and trainable he plucked a set of wind chimes in the kitchen when he wanted a treat. If you threw a toy mouse or ball of foil, he’d fetch it like a dog.
I don’t know why this 5-year-old cat died swiftly of an unknown illness while grizzled alley cats get run over by trucks and just keep going. I don’t even ask anymore.
I just thanked him for five years of love and adventure.
Be happy wherever you are, my little valentine.