I’ve been avoiding writing this, but today (9 February 2012) is the day.
In October of last year, Tessa, a Maine Coon cat, died. She contracted a blood parasite and couldn’t be saved. She was cantankerous and willful. When I first rescued her from a field in 2000, she refused to let me carry her, even though she was weak with hunger, and she urinated on the floor when I brought her inside. She frequently rested one paw across my arm to let me know who was in charge.
But she was born on my birthday. I don’t know that for certain, but given how old she was when I found her, she was certainly born sometime around my date, so it’s close enough. She had a deep streak of stubbornness and expressed her opinions in loud and definite terms. She was also intensely loyal to anyone she loved. I was her human. She got drunk on catnip, and she attacked her toys with gusto.
Yesterday, Sam Panda, an all-American cat and an old gentleman, followed Tessa. When I rescued him five years ago, he was anywhere between eight and twelve years old, and yesterday, his kidneys gave out. He and Tessa were good friends, so he may have also been lonely without her.
He was the sweetest animal that I’ve known. He had a placid personality and a squeaky voice. He’d jump up on a table, chirp at me, and then bump me with his forehead. Scratching him on his back made his tongue run furiously. He usually kept his opinions to himself, but there were times when he’d dive in to restore order to any fracas among the other residents of the house.
I know that some in this world will find it excessively sentimental that I’m feeling empty after losing these two. They were cats. Of course, to a cat, humans are generally contemptable brutes, except for a few special cases. There are many days when I agree with that assessment, and there are many days when eating, snoozing, and playing look like exactly what life is about. What I do know is that there are many humans who could do much worse than to live up to the examples of Tessa and Sam Panda. Somehow, these two knew that I’d take them in–is there a feline Internet?–and I’m glad that they shared the time with me that they did.
Goodbye, my friends.