November 5, 2016 § Leave a comment
My mom called me today to tell me one of our cats passed away last night. It was sudden but not entirely unexpected; she had not been feeling well as of late and she had not been in good health for at least a year now. I find in some ways it’s almost harder to lose a pet when you don’t live at home because it’s hard to feel it, and then it hits you weeks or months later when you finally do walk into that house that is just a little bit emptier than it was when you left, and everyone else has gotten used to the feel of it but you.
I knew she wasn’t doing well the last few times I went home and I tried to be extra sweet to her and give her good pets before I left again, thinking of other times in my life when I left a pet or person, not knowing it was the last time I would snuggle them.
Zoey was born almost exactly 16 years ago, within 24 hours of our first arrival in Maryland after a three week family road trip/cross country move with a very recently post-knee surgery bulldog (semi-unplanned) and a very VERY pregnant teenage Siamese cat (extremely unplanned) in tow. A few months prior our black cat Sadie, my first love cat, the first cat who was truly mine, and who had been mine since I was five years old, had disappeared. The circumstances around her disappearance are still unknown as far as I know, but after weeks of searching, we knew she was gone. I still have her Christmas stocking and a part of her collar that I used to wear as a bracelet. I still miss her.
Then, at the culmination of our latest great family adventure, our second cross country move in two years, our tiny little slippery Siamese who had slipped out of the house during her first heat gave birth to two giant kittens: one who looked just like her, and one striped greyblack misfit who was immediately mine.
There’s a running joke about twos in our family. Two kids, two puppies (several times over), two kittens. Twos when we wanted more, but the two we got are the two we love with passion unmatched. Zoey was mine, Sam was my brother’s, Mika was my mom’s, and all the animals loved my dad best.
We grew up and left home. I moved out at 18 and never permanently came back. But Zoey was still always “my” cat, even if she wasn’t truly mine anymore. She was a sweet thing except when she was mad, like me. The older she got the more she struggled with her weight, like me. She loved being outside and she loved being near humans, like me. And she really loved eating while laying down, less like me but we laughed at her expense as much as my loved ones make me laugh by laughing at my quirks.
She was a good cat. She was a sweet cat. And I am sad now, but I am really going to miss that greyblack stripe half Siamese roly poly girl’s presence next time I go home.