When I was about twelve, my parents came to me to discuss an idea. See, I was responsible for cleaning the litter box for our multiple cats. They wanted to be a foster home for kitties but, because they’re good parents, ran it by me first since I’d be stuck scooping extra poop. I told them “If we foster a cat, you know I’m just going to want to keep it. So why don’t we just adopt another cat?”
And that’s how I ended up with El Camino (yes, I named my cat after a car named “The Horse” because THAT’S JUST WHO I AM, ALL RIGHT?)!
The only stipulation my parents placed on me before I chose a cat from the shelter was that it had to be female. My parents didn’t want to have to worry about a male deciding to spray all over the house. My only criteria were that I, ideally, wanted either a calico, orange tabby, or grey tabby. On our first visit to the Human Society to visit kittens they had exactly two. An orange tabby and a calico. I later learned that almost all orange tabby’s are male, and almost all calico cats are female. So, as you probably guessed, we brought home the calico.
She was tiny, and soft, and adorable. She was very young, and too small to even get on my bed at night. So for a while I slept on the floor with her. She’d try and nurse on my nose and ear lobes (ouch! kitten teeth are SHARP). She was funny and snuggly and LOYAL.
Every time I went home after moving away for university, she’d sleep with me again. And I don’t just mean in my room, or on the bed. She’d crawl under the covers and snuggle as close as physically possible. When I was in Ohio while pregnant with Baby Dalek, she’d sleep on my belly. If she didn’t hate leaving the house SO MUCH and if my mom wouldn’t have murdered me for it (my mom loved Elly and Elly loved her too), I would have brought her back to Calgary on my last visit. And she was patient with my babies:
But, as always happens after enough time, Elly’s body was no good anymore. They think it was cancer, but the cost just to confirm the diagnosis (nevermind treat it) was prohibitive. So her suffering was ended last week.
The very worst part is that I didn’t get to say goodbye. As much as I would have bawled my eyes out, I would give anything to be able to hop in the TARDIS to hold her while she passed away. She was my feline baby. And the grief has hit me hard.
If you don’t get why someone might mourn a pet so deeply, that’s OK. Some people get attached to pets and some people just aren’t that way. You do you.
I think I spent a total of two hours working on TweeHaus projects last week. The rest of the time I mostly spent in a depressed haze, and doing what I had to (a mom’s job is never done, no matter how deep the sadness). I feel better this week. But I still miss her and it still hurts, bitterly, that I didn’t get to say goodbye. Yet another downside to living thousands of miles away from my childhood hometown. I wasn’t there when my Grandmother passed recently, but I had at least been able to say goodbye over the summer. It’s amazing what a difference that makes.
I just wish I could make the whole world understand how beautiful and special Elly was. She never did any of the asshole moves so many other cats do. Her biggest flaw was a sensitive stomach (all chairs had to be pushed in if leaving the table during a meal or else she’d steal food and then vomit). And she was SO soft. Is it possible for a cat’s fur to get softer with age? Because I swear, she felt even better to pet as an adult than she did as a floofy little kitten.
Elly was literally the best cat I’ve ever known. And I’ve known A LOT. At one point we had four cats living in our home at the same time. But Elly was simply the greatest. I’ve been looking forward to adopting cats again in the future. But I didn’t want to bring home kittens at the same time I brought home a puppy (K-9 is HUGE now, by the way). But grief makes you a little crazy. There have been days where I’ve wanted to hop in the car and drive straight to the shelter to adopt a kitten. Of course, my rational brain kicks in first to remind me that a new cat is not Elly. NOBODY could replace her. Ever.
So yes, I will open my home to a kitty or two in the next year or two. The kids will be thrilled, especially Baby Dalek who is more a cat lover than dog lover (whereas Big Dalek loves basically anything with four legs and fur). I can only hope that whatever felines we might add to our family are half as loving as Elly was.