You’re either cat people or you aren’t.
Of course, who can resist a kitten rubbing around your ankles, pulling your shoelaces, purring and looking at you with pure love.
Of course, who can resist a little puppy, all movement and action and never ending slurps going in your mouth, up your nose and in your ears.
Everybody loves puppies. Everybody loves kittens.
Those of us who raise puppies and kittens to adult animals also know that the love doesn’t end with the pulled shoelace or the slurped ear. Love matures over time and, perhaps, it’s the gentle extension of claws into your belly as your cat gazes up at you in abject adoration, or the simple sigh of a jowly muzzle resting on your knee in total contentment.
We humans may never know the minds of our pets, but who of us could claim to know the minds of our fellow humans. If I gathered a bunch of pet owners together I’m sure that in their stories would be a common theme. A theme of love, devotion, trust and, yes, heartbreak and sadness, usually at the passing of a beloved companion.
We do not mourn for the departed. We mourn for ourselves. In loss.
And that brings me to Crystal.
Crystal is a friend of mine and she had the extraordinary fortune to live with a cat, Chiquita, for nearly 19 years. Crystal never really knew “family” without Chiquita who was her friend and companion for nearly two-thirds of her life. As Chiquita grew older, developed diabetes and moved into her Golden Years it was clear that she wouldn’t live forever, but Chiquita was forever young, playing, leaping, pouncing and loving.
We all think our pets will do that. Twinkie the Goldfish lived nearly ten years; nine years, eleven months and three weeks longer than we thought he would! Truth is, it’s sooner than later; we outlive our pet kin.
As you have figured out by now, Chiquita died and even knowing that outcome in advance Crystal is still coping with the loss of her treasured friend and companion. We pet owners are all Crystals at some point. We mourn our little friends, miss their antics and presence and, if we’re lucky, learn to treasure our brief time with them.
So, here is Crystal’s tribute to Chiquita which I have yet to read without a tear coursing down my cheek. Not out of sadness but out of understanding and love for the animals we bring into and make part of our lives.
I Miss you.
I miss being awakened by your deranged meows at 3,4,5 or 6 in the early morning. You've even saved me a few times from being late.
I miss you poking me in the eyes, and the ear with your white poofy schitty paws, and sharp nails to pull my hair just to wake me up.
I miss you walking towards me and falling over on your side so I could pet you when I came home from work...I still look for you.
I miss you looking at me through the mirrors while I was washing dishes in the kitchen or when I was fixing my hair or putting on make-up in the restroom.
I miss you waiting for me to get out the shower so you could attack my wet legs and feet!
I miss your random and sporadic sprints across the apartment.
I miss how when I would pet or hug you, I would instantly feel better, even if I was crying.
I miss giving you exaggerated kisses even when you didn't want me to!
I miss watching you sitting on YOUR chair in front of the window looking as pretty as can be and soaking up the sun rays.
I miss you climbing your way around the couch and sneaking behind me to beg for my food! I miss sharing it too.
I miss your Presence, I never knew what being "alone" felt like until now.
I Miss You and Love You so much and Forever Grateful that you grew up with me, been by my side, brought me comfort for everything I've gone through, and filled my heart with unconditional love for so many years.
I will join you again in Heaven my Pretty Kitty.
Chiquita was born sometime in April or May of 1992 and placed to sleep on April 19th 2010.
Her 19th Birthday was to be celebrated next month on May the 5th.
Thank you, Crystal, from all of us.